Thoughts from O'Sullivan, Browning and Fornaroli
FIA Formula 3: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 3 Sprint Race here in Barcelona. In third place, Leonardo Fornaroli for Trident, in second place, Luke Browning for Hitech Pulse-Eight and taking his second Sprint Race victory of the season, our winner Zak O'Sullivan for PREMA Racing. Zak, very well done, a beautifully controlled race by you, how good does this feel?
Zak O'Sullivan: Pretty good, I think as race it was a pretty tricky race, DRS seems to be a bit more powerful than last year on the old layout. The early part of the race was managing Luke behind and then at the end the pace seemed a bit better.
FIA Formula 3: Talk us through the key moments. First of all the start, you seemed to get a good getaway.
Zak O'Sullivan: Not as good as I would have wanted! Luke was quite close to me into T1 but I knew as long as I braked as late as I could, I was doubtful he could brake any later and that was the case. Throughout the race a couple of times he got alongside with DRS into Turn 1, but luckily not enough alongside that I lost the position.
FIA Formula 3: Talk us through those restarts, those two restarts after the Safety Car.
O'Sullivan: I think with the new layout we are the guinea pigs with where to go on the restart, I decided to go pretty early because the aero wash is quite bad around Turns 13 and 14. It seemed to work both times as I think Luke struggled a bit in Turn 14 and I had the gap for the pit straight.
FIA Formula 3: Also talk us through tyre wear and the general performance of the car.
O'Sullivan: I think pace-wise we were quite strong throughout the race, I was managing a bit in the middle of the race. We pushed early on, managed in the middle and at the end I could push again. It's Barcelona so it's no secret, tyre deg is a big issue for everyone. I think the whole group was struggling throughout the race really, I wouldn't say it was as bad as I thought it might have been but it was still a bit of a struggle.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you. Luke coming to you now, your first podium in FIA Formula 3, how sweet does this feel?
Luke Browning: Nice, long-awaited! It's nice to be on the podium of course, and Barcelona is a nice place to do it. An enjoyable race, it has to be said. Sometimes it was difficult to manage tyre wear, I wasn't too far away in the opening half of the race but we were following so close for so long. I thought after the Safety Car I might be able to cool the surface temperatures down but I got some marbles on the SC laps and therefore I couldn't quite attack. Regardless I think Zak controlled the race well, and I did as much as I could do really.
FIA Formula 3: Can you talk to us about some of those moments where you were racing Zak how close did it get?
Browning: Close! Turn 1 was close, multiple times, Lap 1 was really close. There was once where I went for the dummy to the inside and I think both me and Zak weren't sure if we were going to make the corner or not. We were both quite sensible about the fact that it's just one point for an extra position. Even though it's a win you've got to put your sensible hat on and understand that it was a second position for me at that point and not risking too much made sense.
FIA Formula 3: Luke this is your first season of FIA Formula 3, you were fourth in Monaco last time out, second today. Talk us through the journey you're on with this car and how comfortable you feel now.
Browning: I'm getting more and more comfortable, I've never raced around this circuit before, it's been a big learning curve, to be honest. I'm playing catch-up a little bit, but with the help of Williams and Hitech we're really pushing to speed up that development curve and I think it's showing. Looking back at the tracks that no one has raced at we seem to be super strong. Back to Round 2 in Melbourne, we could have been on pole there, we went purple, purple and then there was a Red Flag. Our race was pretty strong before a rookie mistake crept in for the Sprint Race. I'm trying to limit mistakes as much as possible but unfortunately, it's a learning curve and that is what this season is for.
FIA Formula 3: Leo coming to you now, your second podium of the season you had to fight for this one too. Talk us through the move on Gregoire Saucy first of all.
Leonardo Fornaroli: Very happy to get my second podium here in Barcelona after second place in Monaco last weekend. This time was much more difficult than Monaco because I had a good start and I managed to take third place in T2 but then I knew I had to manage the tyres quite a lot here as Barcelona is very aggressive. Saucy behind me was pushing a lot so I had to defend quite a lot of times in T1 but then I think there was contact in the last corner with Aron so I managed to get a little bit of a gap. Then it was just trying to stay behind Luke and within his DRS. Then we had a Safety Car with three laps to go and I managed to have a good restart. Of course, I tried to overtake Luke in front of me but unfortunately, I couldn't do it as he was very fast. I am happy for this third place.
FIA Formula 3: Like Luke this is your first season of Formula 3, talk us through the journey you're on in the Championship and with this car.
Fornaroli: I'm feeling more and more comfortable with this car, in Bahrain we managed to show strong pace since Qualifying but I had some difficulties with tyre management, especially during the races. I worked a lot with my team to improve myself from that point of view. I think in Melbourne, Monaco and here especially I think I did a really good step forwards in tyre management and I'm very happy about this.
FIA Formula 3: Very well done to you!