Thoughts from Collet, Barnard and Aron
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three finishers of today's FIA Formula 3 Sprint Race here at Spa-Francorchamps. In third place Paul Aron for PREMA Racing, in second place, Taylor Barnard for Jenzer Motorsport and taking his third win in FIA Formula 3, our winner, Caio Collet for Van Amersfoort Racing. Caio, not as much racing as we were hoping for today but finally you do get your first win of the season. How sweet was the view from the top step of the podium?
Caio Collet: I was really happy, not just for me, but also for the team. The conditions were quite tricky, especially in Lap 1 and on the Safety Car restarts. I'm glad we managed well, we had quite a good pace, we could adapt well to the conditions. Congratulations to the team, they kept pushing. It was not an easy two rounds after the Red Bull Ring, so to be back with a win is really nice.
FIA Formula 3: It all happened on the opening lap. Talk us through it and particularly your move for the lead, which was spectacular.
Collet: I think on the formation lap I managed the temperature of my tyres really well and warmed them up. So I think I had a bit of an advantage in terms of grip compared to Taylor. On the exit of Turn 14 I had a really good run, I kept it flat on the outside and I'm glad it worked so we won the race.
FIA Formula 3: How much grip was there out there, because it looked damp, off line in particular?
Collet: Especially on the first lap and if we had restarted the race it would have been really tricky. On the first lap some corners were properly wet and there was a lot of spray in the straights so all the braking zones were really trickly to manage but I'm glad we did a good job.
FIA Formula 3: Caio very well done to you. Taylor, coming to you now. Your first podium in FIA Formula 3, what a place to do it at a driver's circuit like Spa-Francorchamps. How do you feel?
Taylor Barnard: Of course, I'm delighted. Not quite the race that we all expected, a lot of Safety Cars and very tricky conditions but nevertheless, I had a good start, and I was leading at the start. The conditions were very tricky, especially on the first lap. I didn't quite have the tyre tempreture, and and I was struggling quite a lot in Sector 2 so I think I managed it quite well. Behind Caio there was quite a decent gap so I was trying to keep it careful, keep it on track and of course he passed me but I thought it was much better to let him go and manage it from behind. I'm very happy with second for me and the team.
FIA Formula 3: As you were heading up the Kemmel Straight on the opening lap you were in the lead. What were you thinking at that point and when you are the first driver when it's such tricky conditions do you have to be a little bit conservative?
Barnard: The spray on the straight when I was in the lead was crazy, I couldn't see Hugh in my right mirror so I was just hoping there was no one on the right side of the track. I braked a bit early hoping that no one would come flying and hit me from behind but happy that I managed it quite well.
FIA Formula 3: Taylor you've had a tricky couple of races, do you feel this is significant somehow what you've done this weekend in terms of confidence? Do you feel it could be a bit of a breakthrough for you?
Barnard: I defintiely think my experience is starting to build up and we're getting some results, but we've struggled here and there and it's not quite going together. Throughout the year I've definitely gained experience and in situations like this I think experience is key. You need to manage everything very well and I think it was a mature drive.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you. Paul coming to you. Can we start by talking about the opening ten seconds of the race. You start on the front from, talk about your start and the run down to Eau Rouge first of all.
Paul Aron: About the start...! I think firstly we managed to start really well. On the outside the track was much more wet than on the inside. Nevertheless, I got a good launch so I think we did a good job in the start. Then into Turn 1 I went around the outside, but I wasn't really planning to go around the outside. My goal was to leave space on the inside to avoid anyone crashing into me and I think we were unlucky on the exit. Hugh got a lot of wheelspin, and I was stuck behind him so I lost all of my momentum down to Eau Rouge and I got overtaken by Caio and Taylor so I was a bit unlucky, but I managed to get back to third on the opening lap and that was the race done from there.
FIA Formula 3: That was basically it, but in terms of car performance can you talk us through what you have learnt this weekend which could help you in the Feature Race tomorrow?
Aron: We always knew we were quick even in Qualifying we were one of the quickest on track we just didn't nail the strategy and we were a bit unlucky. Even today our pace is very good, we were struggling with top speed which is the main issue but for tomorrow we can do some changes and we know the direction we need to go and I'm quite confident in our pace. It's about staying clean and having a bit of luck.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you.