How Colombo’s Best F3 Weekend Turned Into a Nightmare

Prior to the FIA Formula 3 weekend at the Hungaroring Campos driver Lorenzo Colombo was still point-less. Just a few days later he has two points finishes. Great weekend right? Well, he lost a win due to disqualification. This is what happened.

By Floris Visman

Campos hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in FIA F3 since the championship’s inaugural year in 2019. The Spanish team finished tenth the first year and seventh last season. This year the team is having a particularly hard time. Until the Hungaroring, the fourth round of the 2021 season, the team consisting of drivers Amauro Cordeel, Laszlo Toth and Lorenzo Colombo, was still without points.

20 year old Colombo, a rookie in FIA F3, is the most successful driver in the line-up. His cv boasts third in Italian F4 (2017) and fourth and fifth in Formula Renault Eurocup in the last two seasons and several feeder series wins. At his presentation back in February, the Italian was elated. “I am delighted to be part of the FIA ​​F3 grid with Campos Racing. I count almost the minutes that remain to be able to start working with the team and in this way learn as much as possible before the start of the season. I feel prepared for this challenge and to give my best as a racing driver.”

But things haven’t been going to plan for all of them. Prior to the Hungaroring Campos Racing Sporting Director Adrian Campos Jr. had good hopes the team would perform beter. “We are all working as hard as possible in order to achieve the best results possible, which our drivers and the team itself deserve. We expect that our effort will finally pay off and we will be able to translate into results.”

It did. Colombo qualified in an excellent 11th, which brought him a reverse grid front row start for Race 1. In that race on Saturday morning he didn’t drop back. Even better, on lap eight he passed Jonny Edgar for the lead. Moments later the Brit retired form the race. Six laps from the end a safety car was deployed because of Frederik Vesti’s stranded car.

Dutch Photo Agency

That’s where it all went wrong for the Italian. Before the restart he was more than ten car lengths away form the safety car, which is not allowed. The stewards handed him a five-second penalty after the race, which made him drop down to seventh. The official reasoning: “Having considered the matter extensively, the Stewards determined that car 21 (Colombo’s, ed.) was more than ten car lengths behind the safety car while the safety car lights were illuminated.” Before he got the penalty, he was asked about that situation in the FIA F3 press conference.

“When the safety car switched off the lights, I said that was my time to create some gap from the safety car and let it go in order to not create any mess around… in order to be close when I wanted to restart. We still need to see what happened there with the team because I got no communication from my team at least. Of course, we can see what happened there but talking about the race I think I didn’t damage anyone, I didn’t make any mess. So I don’t know what to say about this I need to see with the Stewards and also maybe learn for the future what to do. Maybe I could have done it in a nicer way, yes of course. We will see. It’s always good to learn and improve, and like everything else not only in driving but all around, the rules respecting everything, to be more clean as a driver and more professional of course.”

Campos did not agree with the penalty and aired their discontent on social media, saying: “Despite the penalty, which from our point of view is hugely disproportionate, we won on track.”

So despite the penalty Colombo did get his first points of the season with seventh. In Race 2 he added another seventh to that, starting from sixth. In Race 3 he just missed out on points by finishing where he started: eleventh.

Colombo is now 18th in the championship with ten points.

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