Zane Maloney, the 19-year-old ‘Boy from Barbados’, will be making his debut appearance in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi. On Thursday, F1 Feeder Series had the opportunity to speak to the Trident driver and F3 runner-up about his brilliant form and his impressive career path.
By Tyler Foster
Last year, four drivers who contested the full F3 season had the opportunity to step up to F2 early by competing in the final rounds of the Formula 2 season: Jack Doohan, Olli Caldwell, Clément Novalak and Logan Sargeant. This allowed each of them to get a taste of the F2 experience prior to their official rookie campaigns in the series. While only Doohan was able to score points during his cameo, the weekends still offered the drivers an invaluable chance to get some early experience.
Thanks to Calan Williams’ early departure from F2, Maloney will get a similar opportunity this weekend with Trident, the team with which he competed in F3, ahead of a rumoured F2 campaign in 2023 with Carlin. Maloney also confirmed during a roundtable with F1 Feeder Series and selected media that this weekend would be his “last race for now with Trident”.
“My goal for the weekend is just try to get to grips as quickly as possible. I know it won’t be possible to be at my limit straight away – I’m not expecting that – but [I want] just to try to learn as much as possible and get up to speed for the future.”
Onwards and upwards
Since making his open-wheel debut in British F4 in 2019, Maloney has spent only a single year in every series in which he has competed before moving on. With a championship win in that British F4 campaign, eighth place in Euroformula Open in 2020, fourth place in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine in 2021 and now second place in F3, the Barbadian driver has had an impressive and consistent rise up the feeder series ladder.
“I remember actually thinking about that a few weeks ago,” Maloney told F1 Feeder Series about his career path. “Firstly, I came over to Europe in terms of karting a little bit late [in 2017], like a year or two behind people my age. So I’ve always been playing catch up, and then we made quite a bad decision with one of the years with the championship that we did, so we’ve had to try to catch up a bit.
“All the teams that I’ve been with – Carlin, R-ace GP and now Trident – have really developed me a lot. It’s allowed me to look back at the year I’ve done and be satisfied with the development that we’ve had and make the step up. Of course, I want to win each championship, and personally I don’t want to move up until I win, but in terms of my career path, I think the development this year in F3 was really good, and I’m looking forward to this weekend firstly and then what the future holds.”
A turnaround for the ages
After five rounds of the 2022 F3 season, Maloney was 11th in the standings with 29 points, 69 behind then leader Victor Martins at the top of the standings. It was by all accounts a disappointing start for Maloney, with the nadir being a retirement from pole in the Imola Feature Race after he lost control of his Trident at a safety car restart.
Then, impressively, Maloney turned his fortunes around and went on to score 105 points for Trident in the final four rounds to finish second in the standings. This run of form included wins in each of the last three Feature Races, which eventually put the Barbadian only five points behind new champion Martins.
F1 Feeder Series asked Maloney about how his incredible run has influenced his confidence coming into this special appearance in F2, for which he will line up alongside F2 veteran and race winner Richard Verschoor.
“Of course, the last three, four rounds were very good for us. We got a lot of points on the board and finished second, which is a very good result. I’ve learnt so much from this season so far in terms of how to manage a weekend, general quali pace, race pace but more making less mistakes throughout a weekend. I think that was the main difference at the end of the year,” Maloney said.
“Of course, my confidence is very high, but I’m stepping up to a different car with a different group of people. Still I’m with Trident, of course, but different engineers, different mechanics.”
Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Limited
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