Interviews and photos by Sergio Álvarez.
Following a brave suggestion from one of our spam readers, a gentleman called Chris Miravalle, I’d like to quote here what he (she?) left us in the comments below.
Chris, be careful what you wish for… ’cause you just might get more videos. Of the FIA F3 action at Spa from last year.
Our own FIA F3 story of the 2021 season so far can be found by clicking this link: iberianmph.com/tag/f3-2021
But wait, there’s more! We’ll be updating this post throughout the racing weekend with exclusive quotes from pressers and such. You’ll clearly enjoy reading my thoughts. You will. Chris and his mates.
And a bit of 2020 nostalgia for you as well.
FRIDAY at Spa was like, I dunno.
And fresh from the press room floor, we talk to… our top three from their soaking wet qualy!
1. Doohan / 2. Martins / 3. Smolyar.
Q: You guys think two sets of wets will get you through the weekend?
Doohan: “I think if it’s going to be at least one race dry or something, ‘cuz I don’t think either three of us used a new tyre in practice so to be able to have that tyre and to be able to use it in a race will obviously be an advantage but other than that, it is what it is. We’ll just adapt to how it plays.”
Smolyar: “It also depends on what’s the weather again. If it’s rain, for example, in all three races, for sure, we will destroy the tyre. But I think in case we run out of tyres, we can find a way to fix that. For me, it depends a lot on the… you don’t really wear the tyre a lot if it’s fully wet. It can do two races if it rains a lot, one set (of tyres). So we’ll see. I am not really sure at this point.”
Martins: “I think we will get maybe a third one after Race 1 if it’s wet (the boy knows his F3 strategery well), so that can help I think if we get that one. At the end, we’ll see what will happen. If we have no more tyres, we need to sort it out and if we need to manage we have the amount of tyres we have. It’s the same for everyone (that’s why we love F3), the guy who manages the (situation) best will do the best result. It’s always been the same so… I’m not really worried about it.”
Let’s wait and see then. Catch U L8ER, hot potatoe.
Gents, when it’s cold and miserable, how do you put some temperature into the tyres and how do you learn how to do it throughout your junior career?
Doohan: “To be honest, I just went as quick possible with the condition that the tyre was available. A few hard brakes on the main straight to Les Combes, which is turn 5-6-7. But when you have the information that there’s rain coming, procedures and more kinda go out the window and you just go as quick as possible without stressing the tyre because this wet tyre, if you slip the front or you slip the rear too early on, you cannot get it back so it’s important to drive as quickly as possible while basically keeping the tyres alive.”
Martins: “I think he said everything! At the end, everyone has a strategy, plan how to warm up the tyre but we all do the same: we apply some brakes, we weave and then we push without sliding, just to get the right temperature and not kill the tyres.”
Smolyar: “Depends on the team, for sure. Some teams do two and some do three laps to warm up. As Jack said, you can do it with the brakes, you can weave, as Victor said. Some teams do it differently, it also depends on the conditions. If it’s already drying, you don’t really need to warm the tyres so much otherwise you can actually destroy the tyre already on the out lap. So then you’ll have no tyre left. The same with the dry tyres, especially here, this track is really aggressive on the tyre. For me at least, during FP, I over-pushed first lap and for the rest of the session I didn’t have the grip to put in a better lap. Especially here you really need to think about warm-up and the tyre management during the session.”
Saturday at Spa felt like, dunno, singing in the rain?
They’re justified and they’re ancient, I’m referring to the Campos team, of course. Finally an official win Colombo and Campos in 2021. So happy for these guys. Let’s find out what our winner had to say.
Q: Lorenzo, we saw you getting really close to the SC in front and the good old Mayländer, did you feel he could’ve maybe stood harder on the loud pedal?
Said Race 1 winner Lorenzo Colombo, for Campos Racing: “Yeah, for me, I would say that the SC was really sliding at that speed so I think we spoke with the SC driver after when we stopped and he just told me that he was pushing at his maximum (F1 needs to hire Hamilton or Vettel for this role ASAP, HAM to drive the Merc and Seb can have the green hell Aston – editor’s comment). He was already on the edge (#livingontheedge).
“For sure, for us, I think the SC was a bit too slow (#takeitslow) but I think they were on the edge because by the slides I can judge they were on the edge.”
The weather played the starring role today, so we asked Jak Crawford (an American RBR junior and a dude of multiple talents or as his management team puts it, “a multi-discipline racer from Texas on the fast track to the upper echelon of motorsports”) how did he rate the European weather? Would this be the worst conditions he’d ever driven in?
Jak Crawford, HITECH GRAND PRIX, P3 in Race 1: “Yeah, it was always a different condition when you go out for wet, you never really know. There was some standing water at the beginning. I think it was good they suspended the race because it was quite wet. Um, once we started racing, I don’t think it was too bad obviously. I’m sure further back the people would say it was quite bad. For me, it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever driven in.”
Colombo: “Starting from P1, I never did worse (conditions)! Because you have a good visibility and you have a good track position so it’s the best one you can have. But yeah, I think in today’s race we were really close at the beginning when it started to rain. The biggest difference I noticed – even when only having one car in front of me – was the change of track condition from one lap to another because here at Spa it started to rain so hard in sector 2 and it was really hard to stay on track with the SC. For this track, the weather has been really crazy all weekend so far. When you don’t have stable conditions in the wet, like you dunno if it’s gonna rain more or less, or stop raining, it’s very difficult to make a decision. I think we were able to race and fortunately we didn’t have any crashes or extra SC so that means the Race Direction has done a good job.”
Stanek: “On the out lap it was quite tricky. I was not sure if to go flat on a straight line because there was some aquaplaning. I’m sure that the Race Control did a great decision to let us stop and then to restart again. In the end, we were able to race after some laps behind SC and luckily there wasn’t any big crash.”
Saturday also produced a brilliant drive from your ami mate, Jack Doohan, P1 in Race 2. Whatever happened to Dennis Hauger, our championship leader, who by his own admission “managed to get up a bit and get a few but important points” in Race 2.
We is mega excited for Sunday now!
Sunday. You doo wah, you doo right, you do, do it right!
The wet weather around Spa seemed to have whet the appetite of our Race 3 winner, Jack Doohan. Here’s another video, by the way, especially for Chris.
Q: Jack, you da man. Can you tell us wether you would welcome some bad weather for the next couple of rounds of F3 racing? Would that boost your title chances?
Doohan, P1 in Race 3, for Trident: “No! Honestly, I don’t mind (dry conditions)!
“You know, I was probably more confident this weekend in the dry. I think we had REALLY strong pace, especially in FP before others went on the new tyre. Yeah, the wet weather just puts a bit of a mix into it as the conditions are very variable.
“But if it’s dry for the remaining two rounds, I’d be just as happy and if it’s wet, then the conditions are the same for everyone.”
We say two more rounds but hey Joe, where you’re going with that passport in your hand?
Moving on to scoring points and such, we asked JD if the team had at all kept him updated over the radio about Hauger’s progress in the race. Yes/No?
Doohan: “No, nothing.
“I think it’s not important focus on situations outside your control, especially when in a position like we were, when we were fighting for the lead and he does his race, I do mine and at the end it’ll be what it will be.
“The only thing I can do then is focus on myself and as well for the team to put in information like that is not smart and it’s not relevant because there’s nothing that I can do to change his progress or how his race is going. I had my hands quite full of Victor on my tail so that was the main focus at that point.”
Radio Trident was Hauger silent…
With Hauger on 158 pts and Doohan on 133 now, they will rock you!
Next week let’s all go mad in Zandvoort. Like, racing-mad, not mad-mad.