As you’d expect from iberianmph.com, we paid a quick visit to GP3 testing at Estoril.
Here’s our exclusive Q&A with Didier Perrin, GP3 Series technical director.
iberianmph.com: We haven’t spotted any significant changes to the car in 2015 during our pit walk, but maybe there are some hidden changes?
Didier Perrin: The car is basically the same as last year, but there’s a major change because the tyre compound will be one step softer, so we can expect to see more tyre degradation, thus making the races a bit more fun to watch.
iberianmph.com: Apparently, a new three year cycle will be starting in 2016, a new car is coming. Can you talk us through that?
DP: Yes, we are already designing the car. Well, more than that! The design of the car is almost finished, and the prototype will hit the track mid-July.
iberianmph.com: Will the car be bigger, faster, better?
iberianmph.com: Different shape?
DP: New engine, different shape. The car will be able to accommodate tall drivers because it’s one of the problems of the current GP3 car, y’know. Drivers nowadays are getting taller and taller so we need to make a bigger car. Not a bigger car actually, but one that can accommodate taller drivers and updated in terms of safety standards and also in terms of aspect. More or less following the same way that Formula 1 is doing.
DP: No, of course not. The new GP3 car will still be easy to operate and fun to drive. Fun to watch too! The target is provide our drivers with good tools to show their skills, to race and get more mileage under their belts. Therefore, the car has to be difficult – and by difficult I mean performing. Let’s say it won’t be too easy to drive and everybody must have fun, both drivers and spectators.
iberianmph.com: You’ve obviously been around for a while so how would rate the current level of drivers and cars in lower categories before Formula 1? Has the level of competition changed in any way in your opinion?
DP: If I had to compare, I would say that, for example, GP2 is now at the same level as Formula 1 in the beginning of the 2000s, so we can see progress indeed.
iberianmph.com: So it’s a bigger challenge for the drivers, the lower categories?
DP: Yes, honestly you can compare GP2 to Formula 1 from 2003-2005. It’s the kind of comparison we can make.
iberianmph.com: DRS in GP3?
DP: It would be fun but we need to keep the car affordable. The main reason why we won’t implement DRS in GP3 is because the car has to be simple, and in case the drivers wish to learn how to use DRS, they’ll just have to step up to GP2! When the drivers reach GP3, they’ll first have to learn how to manage tyres. When they enter GP2, they’ll have to manage two types of tyres during longer races and the DRS. That’s the way, that’s the path they should follow to reach Formula 1.
iberianmph.com: Who will win the championship in 2015?
DP: You know, I’m the technical director so I will win all the races! I always have three cars on the podium, I’m very happy.
iberianmph.com: Adrian Newey must be a bit envious… Seriously, which driver will win it?
DP: The line-up is very good. The championship is wide open this year. I can’t say much more than that!
PS Our photos from the test are still here: album 1 & album 2.