Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing) advances to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
With one year of ATS Formula 3 Cup experience under his belt, Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing) advances to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. By doing so, the 19-year-old Californian with Brazilian roots abides by his team.
You are going to contest your first FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, this year. Why did you opt for racing in this championship? When moving to Europe, last year, I already had the goal to race in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. But we came to the conclusion that I’d better contest a season in the German Formula 3 series to be better prepared when entering the European Championship. Following my season in Germany I now think that I’m ready for making my debut in the planet’s most competitive young-gun series.
What was your main reason for abiding by Van Amersfoort Racing, the team you also raced for in 2013? I think that the step from the ATS Formula 3 Cup to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a rather big one and I arguably will be swamped with accustoming to the high competition level and familiarising myself with the new car, the other engine and the other tyres. By doing without switching to another team I’ve got at least one constant that should help me on my way to accustoming to all the new parameters. And please don’t forget: last year we jointly did a good job and I’m happy at Van Amersfoort Racing.
Could you please describe your expectations regarding the coming season? I want to set myself goals that are both ambitious and realistic. I’m well aware that there’s a lot to be learned in my first year on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid and that newcomers usually aren’t able to become a factor in the battle for the title. So, I would be happy if I would be able to secure some top-seven results in the races and even happier if I also would make it to the top seven in the championship. And it would be great if I succeeded in improving during the course of the season – just as I did in 2013.
What circuits on the 2014 calendar are you particularly looking forward to? I’m particularly looking forward to Hockenheim as I already celebrated a Formula 3 win there, last year. I also love the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps and have been quick there, to date. Meanwhile, Pau and the Norisring will be somewhat difficult for me as I haven’t got a lot of experience when it comes to racing at street circuits.
What did you do in the off-season to prepare for your first year in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship? Actually, I did what every racing driver does: I worked a lot on my fitness. I execute the major part of my fitness training on the bicycle. I bicycle at least 500 kilometres a week – or three hours a day. In addition, I contested the Daytona 24-Hour Race. A great experience, despite our early retirement. But although I enjoyed racing a prototype, I want to fully focus on Formula 3, this year. After all, I want to impress, in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.