Despite a busy season in the GB3 Championship, Max Esterson still found time to take part in the FIA Formula 3 post-season test in Jerez, Spain. Esterson spoke to F1 Feeder Series about how he felt after his last-minute call up to the test and what may lie ahead.
By Richard Smyth
Esterson’s FIA Formula 3 running took place on days two and three of the official post-season FIA F3 test with Van Amersfoort Racing. VAR finished sixth in the teams’ championship last season and claimed two race wins with Franco Colapinto. They also had Reece Ushijima in their ranks after he made the step up from the GB3 Championship going into the 2022 season.
The call-up to Van Amersfoort was rather last-minute, and Esterson grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
“It was all very last-minute, but VAR did a great job to help get it organised. I really wanted to test the car to see where it stood in comparison to the other junior single-seater cars. I think it was crucial to test then because of how restricted testing is. There aren’t many opportunities to drive these cars. It was an eye-opening experience to do the official F3 test. It’s probably the most competitive junior single-seater series out there. It was very difficult, which I sort of expected, but overall, I’m really glad I was able to do the test.”
New team, new track, new car
After racing in a Tatuus MSV-022 all season in the GB3 Championship, Esterson knew that making the switch to a Formula 3 car was going to be a challenge because of several key differences.
“The main differences between the cars are the weight, power and downforce. The F3 car doesn’t feel as small and nimble as the GB3 car because it’s around 100kg heavier, but the extra power and downforce kind of makes up for it. The braking in the F3 car is much more impressive and the extra 100-plus horsepower out of the corners is nice. That said, I think because of the tyre and weight, I found the F3 car a bit more difficult to drive aggressively, and it penalizes sliding more than the GB3 car does. I don’t think the biggest difference was the driving itself. It was more the tyre warm-up, cooling, and how to stay in sequence to avoid traffic on push laps.”
With Esterson having to adapt in the difference between his usual GB3 car and his new FIA F3 car, he was happy with where he was after completing his first full day in the car.
“By the end of my first day I was six tenths off in P16. I was pretty happy with that considering I had never sat in the car before and had never been to the circuit. Most others were either on their second day of testing, their second year in the car, and/or had driven Jerez before, so I think it was a strong performance. But there are of course lots of things to improve to be on pace.”
During his GB3 campaign Esterson had been sporting a Red Bull–branded helmet after he joined their roster of athletes.
“I was welcomed to the team of Red Bull Athletes earlier this year in April. It’s an honour to be part of such a prestigious brand in motorsport and to share the Red Bull Athlete title with so many impressive people.”
While a step up to FIA Formula 3 next season is possible, Esterson isn’t ruling anything out just yet.
“It’s open as a possibility for next year, but I’m also exploring anything from GB3 to FRECA to EFO. At the moment, nothing is decided.”
Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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