Franco Colapinto (VAR) takes shocking FIA F3 pole on debut: ‘The potential is there’

The Formula 3 season kicked off on Friday with a shocking qualifying result that saw Van Amersfoort Racing claim their first pole in their very first F3 qualifying session in the form of Franco Colapinto, who spoke to selected media including F1 Feeder Series after the session.

By Charlie Parker

Colapinto just edged out Trident’s Roman Stanek and MP Motorsport’s Kush Maini, as the top three were separated by less than a tenth.

The ART trio of Gregoire Saucy, Victor Martins and Juan Manuel Correa took up the next three spots, with only two thousandths separating Saucy and Martins. The highest Prema was Oliver Bearman all the way down in 11th with Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan surprisingly claiming 12th and reverse grid pole

It was a shock to Colapinto but also the whole team: “Of course, a new team, the expectations for this race were not very high to be honest. We showed, at the end, the potential is there. The whole package was really strong in qualy and in the end we were on pole without expecting it. 

“It’s more than better what we did today and I’m really proud of everyone at VAR. Really grateful for the opportunity they have given me this year and I will keep pushing for more good results.”

When asked if this pole changed his expectations for the season, Colapinto remained cautious on hopes: “Not at the moment, if I’m being realistic. We are a new team, we don’t have a lot of experience, including myself. I don’t know a lot of the tracks. 

“Step by step we need to go forward, we need to work together like we are doing this weekend. We have to keep pushing as a team, keep pushing the mechanics and we have a really nice spirit in the team. I’m really happy to be here and I’m enjoying F3 and I hope we keep doing the same.”

Kush Maini (MP Motorsport) during Qualifying at Bahrain | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Kush Maini

On the other hand, Maini lost his third place due to not stopping for the weighbridge during the session with the team then working on the car, which means he will start from the pit lane for the two races this weekend. When asked about what happened, Maini understood it was something he needs to get used to: “Something to learn for me to take forward. It is tough because in the heat of qualifying it’s very easy to miss. It’s more my fault and make sure I don’t do it again.”

Some people have called the rule silly and to penalise someone in a big way for a small thing is harsh, Colapinto chimed in on the issue: “To be honest, I have no idea about the weighbridge and my engineer told me all the instructions and was telling me where to go because I was struggling quite a bit. And like Kush said, the emotions of the moment, it’s quite difficult to focus on where you have to go and to remember what they told you before. 

“I don’t think it needs to be revised. It is how it is and you just have to follow the instructions. And if the engineer is clear, it’s easy.”

It will be interesting to see if Colapinto is able to claim VAR’s first victory this weekend, as the F3 action continues.

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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