Thoughts from Martí, Fornaroli and Minì
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations to the top three qualifiers from today’s Qualifying session in Spa-Francorchamps. On pole, Josep María Martí for Campos. In P2, Leonardo Fornaroli for Trident and in P3, Gabriele Minì for Hitech Pulse-Eight. Congratulations to all three of you, Pepe let’s start with you first, a remarkable but very late lap. Just how late did you think you were going to be able to leave it there?
Josep María Martí: It was obviously really tricky. The lap was actually later because we obviously went out quite late, I think later than PREMA and the other teams, so when we went out, I think we had way more time remaining than we actually anticipated we would have. Before the last push lap, I was cooling down my tyres and I remember my engineer coming on the radio going ‘you have four minutes to go’. I was okay, I’m going to really slow down, trying to delay the lap as much as I can, so that was a little bit interesting during the cooldown and having to slow down. Happy to have been able to have put the lap together and get a good result.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you Pepe, and it’s your second pole of the season. I’m sure the first one was very sweet because it was your home race, but how good is it to get a second pole?
Martí: There's obviously a huge feeling coming from quite a tough July, I would say on the racing spectrum. Red Bull Ring was quite poor from my side, Silverstone went quite well, but then last weekend was not great. So, it’s really nice in the last Quali of the month just before the summer break to get pole. There were really different conditions to anything we’ve had throughout the season, so that makes it even more special and at such an iconic track as well. Really, really proud and obviously a really emotional weekend for myself with the loss of Dilano recently and the pole is for him, and I’m really happy to have gotten it here.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you Pepe, and the final one for you. It feels like the Championship challenge is really on now. I know you’ll say you’re focusing on yourself, you’re focusing on your own racing, but just how big a difference does pole at this stage in your fight for the Championship count?
Martí: Like you said, I’m focusing on myself, that’s the main thing for now. There are a lot of things that can change from day-to-day and I mean, anything can happen during the race weekend. Like as in, I may win on Sunday and Gabriel may not take points or it can be the other way around and he has a great race and scores more points than I would. So, you never know. Obviously for me, it’s nice to be back in second and with the two points, but I think the weekend is where things will actually open up if all goes right. It’d be nice to get to Monza in contention, in real contention. To be completely honest, if P2 is 20-something points behind Gabriel, then I think it’s pretty much uncatchable, but if it’s 10-15 points, we’re talking really different games. So, looking forward to the weekend. Obviously like I said, focus on myself and the best I can do for myself, both for a Championship charge and for the Vice Championship is to score a good result. So that’s the main focus for now and we’ll see on Sunday how things play out and hopefully we pick up max points.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you, Pepe, and congratulations again. Leo, coming to you now. So, so close to pole, how was that session for you?
Leonardo Fornaroli: Of course, it was a tricky session for me. This morning, Free Practice we were not so good, so I went into Qualifying saying do the best as I can because I was struggling a bit with pace in the wet. At the start, for me it was as difficult as the morning, was struggling a bit to find the pace. Then since we put the new set of rain tyres on, I felt already much more comfortable and the first push was not perfect for me. But then with the last one my team and engineer did a mega job to put me out in the right spot on the circuit without traffic and no one in front. I managed set a clean lap and I’m very happy with this result.
FIA Formula 3: And of course, this comes off the back of a string of really strong results from you, Leo. Do you feel like you have really got to grips with the Trident car in the last few rounds?
Fornaroli: I was already feeling comfortable with Trident since the start of the year because I already spent last year with them. Every time I’m going to the factory and every time I’m here at the track, I feel like I’m at home. I feel very, very good with my engineer, with the team manager and to your question, I think I’m getting more confidence with the car race by race. I think we can really finish this year on a high and I will do my best.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned finishing the year on a high, what would that look like for you Leo?
Fornaroli: Of course, going into Sunday the goal is to take my first win in F3, but we will do our best. It’s a long way getting to the top step, we’ll try to have a good launch and from there, we will see. But then I will try to do my best and then the last race will be my home race at Monza, and it will be very special for me. We’ll try to do the best I can and take as many points as possible.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you, Leo and Gabriele, coming to you. Could you just tell us how challenging that session was from inside the car?
Gabriele Minì: Yeah, of course, it was really tricky. I mean everybody saw that we started the session with pretty wet conditions. To be honest, I was not expecting the track to be that slow. It was really, really slippery, and even though I was just sliding everywhere, I was only a few tenths off the pace, which was surprising to me at the beginning. We knew that with old tyres we were in a good position and already with the second set on the first lap, I just tried to take it easy. Did a small mistake, so that’s why I wasn’t really forward in the classification. On the last lap, I just put everything together, was not the perfect lap, but it was close to it. I think both me and the team did a really good job with the setup, with the positioning on track and with the lap that we did. Very happy to take this P3.
FIA Formula 3: And of course, P3 for Sunday’s race, what are you thinking is possible from there? Are you going to be going for the win, even though you have two tough contenders in front of you?
Minì: For sure, starting in the top three, especially at Spa with the long straights, with the tyres and the degradation that we’re having will be huge, I’m sure you can try and go for the win, even from P10 or P12. To be honest, I think anything is possible as I always say and all I have to do is try and maybe the grab a position on the first lap, that would be ideal. Then, try and stay with the top. I think the key thing will be really to manage the tyres as best as possible and of course, if you can stay in P1 that would be ideal, but with the DRS being so strong, I don’t think it will be easy to stay and keep the lead if you’re managing the tyres a lot. So, I think we will see just in the moment what we have to do.
FIA Formula 3: We're into the penultimate round of this season, what are your hopes for this round and the final round in Monza?
Minì: Of course, the hope is to try and grab as many points as possible, grabbing another win would be ideal. But if we cannot do that, to be honest, we want to maximise the points that we can take race by race. Of course, it’s the last two rounds and it’s really close to P2. I went from P3 to P7 and I basically lost 10 points behind O’Sullivan, who is P2, a bit more than that, maybe 13 or 14. But still yet very close considering he has 100 points and in one race you can take 25 if you win, so I think all we have to do, as I said, is try and maximise the points. I think the potential is there, the pace is there as we’ve shown once again in this Quali, so I think we have to just try and use it to our best.
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much to all three of you.