16 fresh faces join the Formula 3 circus this season and will race on a Formula 1 weekend for the very first time… That’s a mighty daunting prospect, so we grabbed a few of last season’s F3 graduates to give them some pointers ahead of the new campaign.
From working hard as a team, to watching out for the early starts, they had plenty of useful tips for this season’s grid.
“I would tell them to try and be the most consistent driver on the grid, and to try and keep the results consistently up there. For me, that’s the main key to becoming an F3 champion, and that’s what I had last year: the consistency was really important.
“I think that from myself, and probably from other drivers as well, it would be to watch out for the timetable! We travel a lot and have a lot of races in a row. There is a lot of travelling and not a lot of relaxing – especially this season.
“I think that the timetable in general will be the biggest challenge this year, both in F2 and F3. There is also the fact that there won’t be fans in the grandstands, so us drivers will need to find some extra powers inside of ourselves.”
“My first piece of advice is to push hard - push crazy hard.
“There are 30 fast drivers on the track at once, so it is always going to be crazy close and every little bit counts.
“My second piece of advice is to not slow down too much in Monza Qualifying in order to get a slipstream, because it is a mess and you will almost definitely get a penalty like we did last year... Best to not try and play any games in that Qualifying session.
Be careful what you say on the team radio, because just when you least expect it, that’s when they will broadcast you saying something that you wish you didn’t.
“My third piece of advice is to be careful what you say on the team radio, because just when you don't think about it, or when you least expect it, that’s when they will broadcast you saying something that you wish you didn’t say... I learned that one the hard way.
“Finally, the F3 schedule is not particularly easy, so it is going to be challenging for everyone to be cleaning the track on the Friday morning and then jumping out there for Qualifying when the track has completely changed, so that is always difficult.
“Also, there are some very early mornings, especially at Silverstone. I remember well last year having to wake up and drive to the track when it was pitch black. Being up and at it, nice and active, at those early hours is really not that easy, and it is even more difficult to perform at your best. To be honest, I am not going to miss the F3 schedule!
“Good luck everyone!”
“I don’t think I need to give the boys too much advice to be honest, but I would probably tell them to always keep calm and relaxed, especially in Race 1, as what you lose there you can recover in Race 2. If you make a mistake in Race 1, it’s really hard to recover and score good points.
“The most challenging aspect overall will be for the rookies who haven’t driven on the tracks in the new cars and Pirelli tyres before: my advice to them would be to try and learn as much as possible from their experienced teammates.”
“My advice would be to work with engineers a lot to try to understand the car and the tyres. In my opinion, that is what makes a difference in this extremely competitive championship - knowing what to do with the car all the time. There is very limited track time, so knowledge is just as powerful as pure speed.
“I think the most challenging thing in F3 is the qualifying, because there are 30 drivers on the grid, and all of them are good drivers. A tiny mistake means you can start from the back, and it is very difficult to climb back up!”