Roman Staněk says that 2022 is his “last chance to show how good I am,” following a frustrating second season of Formula 3, and the Czech racer added that the thought of ending his racing career is motivating him to perform.
Joining reigning Teams’ Champions Trident for 2022, Staněk is hopeful that he’ll have a platform to return to his best form. He spent last season with Hitech Grand Prix but the front-running season he hoped for never materialised, with just two podiums and four top 10 finishes to show for his efforts.
The Czech racer believes that his junior single-seater career is in the last chance saloon, a factor that he asserts will inspire him heading into a crunch campaign.
“I am really happy for this opportunity because Trident are one of the top three teams in FIA F3,” said Staněk. “The mechanics, the engineers, the team boss, they are all really, really nice and I am happy to be with them and to be a part of the team.
“I was honestly not sure if I was going to drive this season because last season wasn't very good. I was expecting much more from it. This is my last chance to show how good I am. This will be my eighth year in motorsport and after eight years, I don't want to stop just because something didn't go well.
“There is pressure, but I feel that I am now becoming a more complete driver, becoming stronger and better able to deal with things. So, although there is pressure, the pressure is motivating me.”
Still only 17-years-old, Staněk remains one of the younger drivers on the grid, with only three years of single-seater experience under his belt, having joined the F3 grid in 2020 on the back of his first season in cars.
A late addition to the grid in 2020, he had initially planned to spend the year in Formula Regional European before opting to take up an unexpected opportunity with Charouz Racing System instead.
The move accelerated his career plans, and after a promising rookie campaign he entered 2021 with high expectations, but the season ultimately didn’t pan out as planned.
“The main problem was the connection between me and the team,” he explained. “Sometimes the mistake was on my side, sometimes on the team's side. Both are okay, it happens, but it isn't really what I was expecting.
“After the first race in Barcelona, I was thinking that I wasn't good enough for that level. My head wasn’t really on the right lines, and it was a bit hard. My main sponsor, which is my father, was really pushing for results, but I was thinking ‘maybe I am not good for this.’ I know that Jak (Crawford) and Ayu (Iwasa) are fast, they are good drivers, but sometimes we weren’t able to be where we should be.”
Switching to Trident for post-season testing, Staněk began to recover some confidence as he made the top five in five out of six sessions. Entering 2022, he’s now in a much better place, but without any concrete expectations for the Championship.
“We had testing with Trident, and I was able to put in some good laps and be in the top five,” he said. “We started working together one week after Sochi and have worked a lot during the winter. I have been training, karting, and trying to keep in good shape, so I am excited. I really like Italian people and I speak Italian, so I think that I will match with them well.
“As I said, this is my last chance to show what I can do, and if it doesn't go well, I think this would be the end of my career, which I really don't want. I hope that with the team we can work well with my data and their data and fight for good results.
“I don't have a target. I just want to make the best out of situations. Of course, for 30 drivers, the main goal is the championship, but you don't know what is going to happen, I am just trying to make the most out of each lap and each session. Sometimes last year after Quali or races, I was thinking about what I could have done differently, and I don't want to do that now.”