Seven drivers have a mathematical chance at winning the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship, but there are three drivers in the best position to capitalise: ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, Hitech Grand Prix’s Isack Hadjar and Trident’s Roman Staněk, who sit on 126, 121 and 109 points respectively.
By Michael McClure
On Friday, Hadjar suffered an accident at Parabolica halfway through Qualifying that brought out the red flag and left him unable to improve on his time in the second half of the session. He eventually finished 16th, from where he is due to start both races. Staněk and Martins qualified third and fourth, meaning they will start Sunday’s Feature Race from those positions and Saturday’s Sprint Race from tenth and ninth respectively.
F1 Feeder Series caught up with them on Thursday at a pre-weekend media roundtable to ask about what made their 2022 seasons special. Here’s what they said.
What moments or accomplishments this season have made you most proud of yourself and why?
Roman Staněk: I really don’t like when I have to talk good about myself, so it’s a bit of a tough question! But I’m really proud that I can be here – I can be here with Trident, I can be here on the best track on the world, one of the best tracks on the world. It’s something amazing, and I really just enjoy the moment and try to do my best. Even today with the media stuff, I try to do my best.
For me the main point in this season, what I’m proud of myself, is that I always look back on the weekends, even if it was Bahrain and this, and I always did my best in the weekends. So I look back and I never had something telling me that ‘Oh, this one you could do better’. It’s always ‘you can do something better’, but I think this made me stronger.
Isack Hadjar: I don’t have a particular moment, to be honest. It’s been a really good season overall. I think what I can be proud of is our consistency with this car in every round. The pace was amazing in every round except Zandvoort, which was a bit difficult for us. I think we can really be proud of the job done, but it’s not over, and I hope the best is yet to come this week.
Victor Martins: Quite the same. I don’t have a particular moment. I will say, it’s just the overall season. When we were struggling or when we were on a high, we were maximising everything. And when we were struggling – on myself for sure, I did some mistakes which were quite important and why I lost some points – but it was kind of not for a long moment. I was always coming back stronger.
Also with the team, when we were struggling on the car, we always found the solution on the setup or the approach for the weekend – how to anticipate also for the races. And I think this we are understanding even better, round after round.
This was also because with my teammates, the relationship, the atmosphere is really, really good, so we can really help each other and give the team the right feedback. And it’s positive. It’s good to have that, to support everyone in the team. And for sure, to fight for the title, also with ART, it feels good, and I want to give them the title.
Who are the people behind the scenes that have especially supported you during your 2022 seasons, and in what ways have they lent you support?
Isack Hadjar: I have a lot of people supporting me, from financial side, technical side, or just support – family, people I know, my friends. But obviously, Red Bull have been so helpful. I’m so grateful for them to help me for the season, to get me a seat in FIA F3.
It’s an honour to race for their colours, and also the technical side, the help, the prep going before every meeting was quite huge. All my sponsors. Obviously, without them, I wouldn’t be able to race. Plus Red Bull, so I’m grateful for them.
Victor Martins: I have also quite a lot of people. I have, of course, my team. My team is the first support, I will say, for all the season, which is ART. [In] the team, I had the mechanics, the engineers, also the teammates.
Then I have Alpine, who are supporting me since five years. We have a clear goal for this year and for the future: to keep working together and to build something for the end, a really nice project together. And I’m really grateful for that. It’s because of them that I’m still racing, I’m still doing what I love, and without them, I couldn’t be able to reach the goal I want.
Also my personal management – my family, my friends and also my personal sponsors, which are also there giving motivation, giving support, giving financial support also. So I will say they are all behind me for the project, for the goal to win the title and to go further in my career.
Roman Staněk: First of all, it’s of course the team because without them, I wouldn’t be even able to drive. So for sure, it’s the team, it’s the mechanics, the engineers. We support each other and we try to reach our goal.
And of course, my family, which, without them, it wouldn’t be possible. Then my sponsors – I have quite a good relationships with my sponsors. They support me; we have a good relationship. My friends and also my fans.
This sport, like the junior categories like F2 and F3, they are growing massively, and you can really see that the people, they realise now who you are, and they support you. They watch the races, and it’s very nice to see this also. The fans on Instagram, they text you, they support you. Without all these people, I wouldn’t have the possibilities to drive. And also the fans, they motivate me to go higher and to reach my goal. Thanks to them, I’m able to be here.
What would winning this championship mean to you?
Victor Martins: It will mean a lot if I get that championship. I have been fighting for it since last year, but I have always kind of dreamed to be in F3, watching the previous years’ GP3 [Series], who was there. Everyone has been through this category before to go in F2. They have been winning this championships, so for sure, it will mean a lot.
Every kind of championship you win gives you confidence, gives you even more motivation and hopes of your future, of your career. And for sure this one will mean a lot, and it will be a big achievement.
Isack Hadjar: Obviously for myself, I never fought for any championship in my career, and the first one is this one, FIA F3. It’s quite a big one as a rookie, so I think if I get to win it, it would be just amazing, so rewarding for the team for all our efforts throughout the year. It would be crazy.
But I think even if we don’t get it, we did an amazing job, and we can be really proud about the job done. [I] will give a big push for one more time, and if we get it, I will be lost for words.
Roman Staněk: It would mean a lot. It’s part of my project with the people who support me. … Let’s make the most out of it and we’ll see after Sunday’s race. It would mean a lot, and I’m ready to fight for it.
Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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