Rising star Caio Collet has completed his first steps in the FIA Formula 3. After four of eight rounds, he describes the season so far as ‘a little bit up-and-down’.
By Norman Funk
Finishing in the points in all three races in the opening round at Barcelona, Collet’s season seemed off to a brilliant start. The MP Motorsport driver even scored a podium in the first race, claiming a P3 finish.
In Race 2, he came from P10 to P5 and in Race 3 he made another recovery from 10th on the grid to finish 8th. He left Barcelona sixth in the standings and second highest rookie, behind his teammate and fellow Alpine academy driver, Victor Martins.
Collet himself was pleased with the start of the season. “We started off well in the first round, points in every race and quite a strong pace. We were improving all the time, especially in qualifying.”
But Round 2 ended up with a bittersweet taste for Caio, as he started Race 1 at Paul Ricard inside the top-10 after qualifying in 5th. But he finished P13 with no points, stalled on the grid in Race 2 and later retired.
On Sunday however, he made up for the bad taste from Saturday, claiming his second podium of the season, with a 3rd place in a wet and crazy race. After France, he dropped down to 7th in the drivers championship.
The next round in Austria also proved to be challenging. After a great qualifying for Collet, where he achieved his highest starting position yet, he ran into trouble in Race 1 which made Race 2 a difficult challenge. In the end he had to settle for P17 twice.
On Sunday, things went from good to bad when Collet stalled from P4 on the grid. He dropped to the back of the field but, in a giant effort, came through the field and finished P7, to salvage some points and keep himself in the top-10 of the drivers standings.
The Brazilian Alpine Academy member acknowledges that things didn’t really go to plan. “We fought for pole in Paul Ricard and Austria. We then had some unfortunate races in both of those rounds. As I said, things have been a mix of highs and lows, which is to be expected in a rookie season.”
Round 4 turned out to be a complete nightmare for the 19-year-old. He qualified P25 in Hungary, scoring no points in any of the three races. And because of that, he now finds himself down the order in tenth in the drivers standings, heading into the summer break.
“For the last three rounds, we need to be more consistent because the last two race weekends have definitely been disappointing”, the Brazilian says. “We were fighting for good places in the Feature Races and Qualifying.”
Collet sets a sharp target for himself for the remaining rounds. “We need to have clear weekends with points in every race and fight for podiums like we did in the opening round, but with some improvements. That’s what I’m aiming for. Let’s see what we did wrong and work on it and do our best to fight for wins.”
And he has the full support of Alpine, something that should encourage him. Mia Sharizman, director of the academy: “Caio is the second highest placed rookie in the championship and the progression together with Victor (Martins, ed.) validates the Academy’s decision to put them together in the same team. He showed his strong one-lap pace at the Austrian GP and the ability to carve through the field in Paul Ricard, Austria and Hungary.”
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