Van Amersfoort Racing Team Manager Klaudija Jakaj has reflected on their tough start to the season, as she revealed the areas that have hampered their performance so far in 2024.

The Dutch outfit, along with Rodin Motorsport, are the only two teams in the paddock yet to score points at the opening two rounds and they currently sit ninth in the Standings.

This represents a drop off from their opening campaign in the category in 2022 when they had scored 22 points at the same stage, while in 2023 they had eight points on the board.

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Reflecting on the issues that have affected the team during the two flyaway rounds in Bahrain and Melbourne, Jakaj said: “Unfortunately, we have been struggling with Qualifying and in F3 this kind of defines the weekend. The race pace was quite competitive. However, we also were unlucky with some incidents.”

As they and the rest of their rivals, return to Europe for the second part of the campaign, there is hope that VAR can solve these issues. The in-season test in Barcelona, on April 17-19, should certainly help.

“It gives teams the opportunity to revise the set-up philosophy and try out new things,” said Jakaj speaking of the test. “We don't have a lot of track time in F3, so the test days have to be used fully to extract the most out of the performance.”

What will also help is that plenty of the European tracks are known to not just the teams but also to the drivers, which brings a calming sense of familiarity to plenty in the paddock.

Jakaj says VAR have been struggling with Qualifying so far this year
Jakaj says VAR have been struggling with Qualifying so far this year

Jakaj explains how the teams have a “bigger database” when it comes to these circuits, and it helps them get up to speed on a race weekend a lot quicker, while also giving them the opportunity to work on the finer details of their car.

But that experience at these tracks does not mean VAR will change their approach says Jakaj, revealing that their preparations will stay the same.

“Except for the logistic topics and also the fact that there is less experience on these tracks, no, the preparation stays the same,” she explained. “There is no real different approach.

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“We evaluate historic data and the characteristics of the circuits and events we go to, combined with the attributes of our drivers to try, and come up with the best package possible.”

While familiarity can help, there is no substitute for prior success and with Round 3 of the season taking place at Imola, VAR will be returning to a track where Franco Colapinto scored their first Formula 3 victory in 2022.

Imola is also the venue for one of the three post-season tests meaning that VAR’s current line-up of Sophia Floersch, Tommy Smith and Noel León have each completed plenty of mileage around the track.

“Unfortunately, we couldn't race there last year,” added Jakaj. “But with the year before and all the testing I think we have a solid base to work from and it will come down to optimizing our performance under whichever conditions and circumstances we are confronted with.”