As a rookie driver joining a brand-new team, Franco Colapinto knows that he and Van Amersfoort Racing both have a lot to learn in 2022, but thankfully, the Argentinian has plenty of experience to call upon from last year.
Colapinto enjoyed a busy 2021, mixing single-seater racing with LMP2, as he competed in the European and Asian LeMans Series and the FIA World Endurance Championship – LMP2, as well as his main campaign in Formula Regional European, where he finished sixth.
“It was a really good year for me in terms of experience, mileage, the number of races I did and the different cars that I drove,” said Colapinto. “LMP2 gave me some things that I hope will help me in F3, like tyre degradation and risk management.
“I think it is only going to be F3 this year. We want to focus on one thing this year and try to give our best in F3 and have a nice 2022 season. I have always wanted to race in F3, and now that I have a very good opportunity to do it with VAR, we’re focused on delivering results.
“I have been driving Formula Regional for two years and (the F3 car) was a big change, but really fun and quick. You have got the DRS, which I haven't used before, and a lot of other things for me to learn.”
Running on all three days of post-season testing with MP Motorsport, the 18-year-old made the top 10 in four of six sessions and even topped the afternoon of Day 2.
But after spending the past two seasons racing for MP, in Formula Regional and in its predecessor Formula Renault Eurocup, Colapinto will switch from one Dutch team to another, joining VAR in F3.
“I think getting that first experience in post-season was key, even if it wasn't for the team who I am going to be racing with,” said Colapinto. “I am really grateful for the opportunity that MP gave me, and the effort that everyone put in. And for the effort that everyone at MP put in for me in the last two years, I think we achieved some really good things, so a big thank you to them.
“We will be racing against each other now, but we built something nice together in the last two seasons and I leave the team with some friends. Now it is a new time for me, and I hope to bring everything that I learned in testing to VAR and enjoy a good time with them.“
Yet to test VAR’s F3 machinery, Colapinto is holding out on setting any targets for the season until after testing, although he has no doubts that their partnership can be successful.
“VAR have given me an opportunity to be a part of the team in their first season and I think everyone is excited for a new team to arrive,” said Colapinto. “They are giving 100% to try and deliver results, and because of this and the attitude that the team have got, I believe that it can be a successful year.
“As we know, testing is limited. Even on race weekends, you only have a short amount of time to practice, so it will be important to arrive at the track in Bahrain for testing and go through everything to make sure that we do not miss anything. We want to get as much information as we can and make the most of the time that we have got.
“We'll see where we are after the tests and after we've started working together, and from there we can make out some goals and things that we want to achieve.”