Man in blue and white racing suit standing facing to the left of the camera with head turned smiling at camera.

Martins: ‘I would have been in F2 already’ in 2022 without management’s input

The announcement on Friday, 20 January, that 2022 Formula 3 champion Victor Martins would step up to ART Grand Prix came as little surprise to the feeder series world. But as Martins revealed, his step up might have happened a year earlier without input from those around him.

By Michael McClure

Martins, the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup champion, stepped up to F3 in 2021 with MP Motorsport, finishing fifth in the standings with one win, six podiums and 131 points. It was by far the strongest season any driver had produced for MP in the third tier, and Martins’ performances – along with those of Alpine Academy stablemate Caio Collet – lifted the Dutch outfit to fourth in the teams’ championship, their highest-ever finishing position.

Unlike the four drivers ahead of him in the 2021 drivers’ standings – Dennis Hauger, Jack Doohan, Clément Novalak and Frederik Vesti – Martins did not make the step up to F2 for 2022, electing to contest a second season in F3 with ART, the team that took him to his 2020 Eurocup title. That front-running experience made him an easy favourite for the title, which he took with two feature race wins and six total podiums.

F2 in 2022?

After Martins won the championship, his brother Nicolas, the founder and head of management at Martins’ management agency Victory Lane Management, confirmed to Feeder Series that an F2 move was the plan for 2023. But F3 champion Martins admitted that without Victory Lane’s and Alpine’s guidance, such a step may have taken place a year earlier.

“We always wanted to get the championship done before [stepping] up,” Martins told Feeder Series. “Obviously, if I was alone, making my own decision, I would have been in F2 already, but I need these people around me who … made me realise that maybe I was not ready or I needed to take the championship before [stepping] up.”

If I was alone, making my own decision, I would have been in F2 already, but I need these people around me who … made me realise that maybe I was not ready or I needed to take the championship before [stepping] up

Victor Martins on deciding between F2 and F3 in 2022

The protagonist of a championship battle that raged all season and culminated in a six-way decider in the season finale, Martins ultimately triumphed with a five-point margin over Trident’s Zane Maloney in controversial circumstances in the final feature race of the year. The sheer intensity of the fight vindicated Martins’ decision to remain in F3.

“I always believed after having done it [staying in F3] that it was the right choice to do of course, but it’s also good practice because it puts you in with a big pressure,” he said.

“I know that if you don’t deliver that year – or like in Formula Renault, when I was for the third year winning the title – it gives you a lot of pressure, and I take that as a challenge. I said to myself, ‘If I cannot face that challenge, I will not be able to go one day in Formula 1’ because I feel that F1 – just on the pressure side, on the target, the goals that you need to achieve – it’s another level. So it [seems] that if I’m good enough to achieve that in the young categories, I will have the chance later to go into F1.

The F3 rivals joining him in 2023

Martins, who turns 22 in June, is one of the older rookies in the 2023 F2 field, especially relative to F3 title rivals Maloney (19), Roman Staněk (18), Isack Hadjar (18), and Bearman (17). Speaking to Feeder Series, Martins considered all of these drivers to be tough opponents at various points in 2022, and their relative youth makes Martins’ mandate to defeat them once again all the more pressing.

“On the beginning of the season, I will say Staněk and [Arthur] Leclerc because of their experience of last year,” Martins said when asked who his most formidable opponent was in 2022. “Then it became Isack where he was really becoming really, really strong in the race, in quali. And then in the end, Bearman. Bearman did an amazing job and Maloney at the same time, the two rookies.

“Maloney is ending on three race wins in a row, so it’s really showing that he was strong, but if you would have said to me in the middle of the season that Maloney would have got three wins and he was a contender for the title until the end, I would have said, ‘Wow, I think he has ground to take because there is a bit of a gap!’”

Martins will join eight other F2 rookies and 13 returning drivers at F2’s three-day pre-season test in Bahrain from 14–16 February.

Header photo credit: Joe Portlock – Formula 1 / Formula Motorsport Limited


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

One thought on “Martins: ‘I would have been in F2 already’ in 2022 without management’s input

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s