Ahead of Round 6 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship in Hungary, F1 Feeder Series talked to Juan Manuel Correa about his heartbreaking retirement from the lead of the Austria Sprint Race. We also spoke to Franco Colapinto, who claimed the final step on the rostrum that day, about his prospects for joining an F1 driver academy.
By Michael McClure
ART Grand Prix’s Correa started the season with four top-ten finishes from his first four entries, missing the Imola weekend because of a foot injury sustained in the opening round. But since Round 3 at Barcelona, that perfect record has unravelled. He scored no points in Silverstone and only one in Austria after a post-race penalty for Trident’s Roman Staněk awarded him 10th place.
‘I could have won the race’
There would almost certainly have been more points on Correa’s scoresheet were it not for a mechanical failure in the Sprint Race in Austria, which Correa led from the opening lap. At the end of Lap 5, he suffered a gearbox actuator failure, putting him out of the race. The actuator enables the car to shift gears, but Correa’s had a broken screw, rendering it useless.
Speaking to F1 Feeder Series in a media session on Thursday, Correa conceded that the issue cost him dearly on track.
“I couldn’t see it coming. It just happened in the middle of the corner, so quite bad luck. I’ve never had that happen to me or heard of anyone who had the same issue, so it was not like an engine failure or something that is a bit more common in these categories. I think I could have won the race,” he said.
“The car felt good – easily a podium, likely a win for me, so it hurt a lot.”
Colapinto trusting in his managers
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Franco Colapinto has enjoyed a strong rookie season as the lead driver of a new F3 team. After taking pole position on his first F3 weekend, Colapinto won the Sprint Race at Imola and then took double points at Austria, with a third-place finish in the Sprint Race and sixth in the Feature Race.
Owing to his strong results this year and a junior career that includes race wins in Formula Renault and Formula Regional and the Spanish F4 title in 2019, Colapinto is one of the drivers most frequently discussed in informal conversations about who deserves an academy seat. F1 Feeder Series put the question to him and asked if he’d had any intentions of or discussions about joining one in the near future.
“It’s not that I don’t have any intentions, but the teams have to have intentions to get me. So at the moment, [there’s] nothing.
“Of course, I don’t really know a lot about that, and my managers are on all these discussions. To be honest, I never really tried to be [on them]. I just try to drive and that’s it, then leave the rest to them, just trusting a lot in their job and … that they do it really well. We’ll see what happens in the future, but nothing at the moment.”
I just try to drive and that’s it, then leave the rest to them, just trusting a lot in their jobFranco Colapinto
Header photo credit: ART Grand Prix / Formula Motorsport Limited