2024 Round 1 post-Qualifying press conference

2024 FIA Formula 3 Round 1 Post Qualifying Press Conference

FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the press conference for the top 3 qualifiers for the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here in Bahrain. In third place we have Gabriele Minì from PREMA Racing, second is Luke Browning from Hitech Pulse-Eight and taking his first pole position in Formula 3 is Dino Beganovic also for PREMA Racing. Dino as I said your first pole position, it must be the perfect way to start the season.

Dino Beganovic: It’s great to start the year like this, I could not have dreamt of a better start to the year. I’ve got to thank the team because the car was really good. A good quali session, well executed, so looking forward to the next two days.

FIA Formula 3: You could see that the car was good throughout qualifying, you were at the sharp end throughout the whole session, just how good was your pole position lap?

Beganovic: It was good, I mean maybe there was still a little bit there but we delivered when we had to, we know that its all about that last lap - if there are no red flags obviously. As the track gets cooler, you always know that the last lap is there. We have all got experience in that from Formula 3 last year and that is why we are here in the top 3.

FIA Formula 3: You say experience, you were so close to pole positions last year but never quite got it done, was it playing on your mind today at all when you knew it was on the cards?

Beganovic: Not really, we all know that it’s a long Championship and you have to see the big picture. The goal is to fight for the Title and I mean you just have to be there, consistently there. To take the pole position though is a nice taste of that.

__FIA Formula 3: Luke coming to you, just over a tenth of a second off Dino’s time for pole position, how satisfied are you with P2?

Luke Browning: Very much so to be honest, it’s a good way to start the year. I think looking back at last year it’s a good improvement. I guess we showed our form in FP and also in the testing we were right there, it’s just all about being consistent and executing and I think we did exactly that.

FIA Formula 3: It’s a first front row start for you for a Feature Race, you were right in the mix but 6th going into the final run. Was there any pressure knowing it was so tight that you had to get it all together on the final lap.

Browning: To be honest no, in the first run there was quite a big mistake from me in Sector 2 but I think we were purple in Sector 1 and 3. I naturally just put the lap together in the second run. To be honest, I was quite relaxed. I knew we were going to be there, I just put a reasonably good lap together, the first section was pretty strong, the second sector was okay, the third sector was quite conservative, especially compared to Dino. It’s a long race tomorrow and ultimately in this Championship as we have seen in the past, and it’s one thing you learn from your rookie season to your second year is consistency. For me it wasn’t worth taking the risk. For that I am happy to be as close as I am, and I am sure we will have a good fight tomorrow.

FIA Formula 3: Speaking of a fight you’ve got a former teammate alongside you, it’s going to be a fierce battle I am sure between the top three, how important is getting points on the board. What becomes the priority, getting a win or making sure you score?

Browning: Just scoring, I mean look at Bortoleto last season, it was exemplary the performance throughout the year. I think he had one non points finish or maybe two, and one of them was a mechanical failure. So that’s the aim for the season, something I have spoken to Williams about, I am very grateful for their support at the moment. The amount of preparation we have done in the off-season, being on their F1 simulator, being able to tap into their knowledge. Not only that, but we have also made a big step from last year. Not only in myself working with my engineer at Hitech but also my ability to develop with the team is why we are doing a good job.

FIA Formula 3: Well done, congratulations. Gabriele, thanks for waiting. It couldn’t be much closer between you and Luke, 0.003 seconds between the two of you. Was the lack of running in Practice the difference for you there?

Gabriele Mini: Yeah of course me and Luke were really really close to each other. Just three thousands of a second, it's really nothing to be honest. For sure the lack of running in Practice did not help. Just losing the brakes after one corner is not ideal, that’s not the way you want to go into Qualifying. In the end we still managed to do a pretty good job in the first two runs to set up the car and then we managed to deliver a decent lap for the last run. I even went super low in the seat just to cut a few thousands off, it didn’t work, at least not enough. Still pretty happy with P3.

FIA Formula 3: You have made the move from Hitech to PREMA during the off season so how happy are you to have hit the ground running in qualifying with a new team.

Mini: Of course, very happy, it is not the first time we run together. We have already been doing many tests, we have done a race together already, so, I have got use to the new team. Of course, we knew Hitech here was really strong, as we can see Luke is here with the top three. All we have to do is, as Luke said, to try and be as consistent as possible. I was trying to aim for a top five or a top three which is what we got.

FIA Formula 3: You are the only one up here with experience of winning races from last year, these guys coming close but you’ve got the wins under your belt. Does that give you any advantage going into the feature race?

Mini: Not really, because in the end even though, for example, Dino didn’t win he still finished P2. That doesn't really change the work per say. It will first be trying to get positions in the Sprint Race, to drive a clean race without having any contact or penalties. Then of course in the Feature Race we will see how the start goes and try to build the race from there.

FIA Formula 3: Dino returning to you, we have had Practice, we have had Qualifying, you guys have been testing here a lot as well. Just how excited are you to get in the car, get on the grid and go racing tomorrow?

Beganovic: It will be great, I miss the feeling standing on the grid before the lights are out. Missing the adrenaline and I think I can speak for everyone on the grid that we missed that feeling and can’t wait for tomorrow and Saturday.

FIA Formula 3: Luke how much are you looking forward to that as well? It’s been a long wait.

Browning: Yeah, obviously last time we were racing we were over in Macau so to be back in the actual F3 Championship feels pretty special and I am looking to replicate the form.

FIA Formula 3: And Gabriele, how much are you looking forward to getting going again?

Mini: Well, I think these two already said everything. I really missed being in the racing weekend. Of course, it’s just amazing to be back so I can’t wait to race tomorrow.

FIA Formula 3: Thank you all.