F3

ATS: Series interview with Jo Zeller

A certain toughness is a must Jo Zeller Racing is a small but fine racing team that has been involved in motor racing - first of all in the ATS Formula 3 Cup - for many years, now. At the same time, the bright yellow team bus also represents a...

A certain toughness is a must

Jo Zeller Racing is a small but fine racing team that has been involved in motor racing - first of all in the ATS Formula 3 Cup - for many years, now. At the same time, the bright yellow team bus also represents a familiar sight in the Formula 3 Euro Series paddock. Hence, Team Principal Jo Zeller is able to compare and assess the two important Formula 3 series.

It's stressful to be involved in two series on such a high professional level, isn't it?

Yes indeed. Focusing on just one series definitely would be easier. But despite our successes it is difficult to find drivers with a budget that allows you to battle it out for wins, in the ATS Formula 3 Cup. I have got my own ideas regarding the course of the season - and the tests. You just have to have a package that offers you the chance of becoming a title contender. Therefore, we increase our budget as service provider in the Formula 3 Euro Series.

What is - from your point of view - the biggest difference between the two series for the drivers?

That fact that testing is allowed in the ATS Formula 3 Cup - and you may test at circuits also used for the race weekends. You even may do so in summer. In the Formula 3 Euro Series, testing at every circuit is allowed up to 15th December. Private tests that are held later must be executed at circuits that don't represent a part of the race calendar. That's bad if you want to offer a driver the chance of preparing well for his first season. He should know what he will have to cope with when travelling to the Nurburgring or Hockenheimring. With Marco Wittmann, for example, I'm travelling to Brands Hatch for the Euro Series rounds, now - and he never has seen this circuit, to date. In these situations, drivers often lack the necessary aplomb, they overdo it - and make mistakes. It goes without saying that the level of the Euro Series is higher than the one of the ATS Formula 3 Cup - but the same applies to the pressure. To be 'only' 15th in their first season isn't enough for many young guns. They want to make it to the top ten or top eight. Some succeed in doing so - but others get tense.

And when it comes to your tasks as Team Principal? Where are the differences?

The structure and the costs. The ATS Formula 3 Cup features a more familiar atmosphere that makes the communication in the paddock far easier. It starts with the not so problematic regulations regarding the erection of the team tents. And the meetings offering us Team Principals the opportunity to communicate with one another also represent a major difference. These meetings also exist in the Euro Series - but in clearly more limited conditions. In the ATS Formula 3 Cup, you always may express your ideas and ask your questions. The work also is executed on a far more familiar level and the Formula 3 Association always tries to make for consonance between all those involved. While the Formula 3 Euro Series rather represents a tough business.

To you think contesting the ATS Formula 3 Cup first before switching to the Euro Series makes sense for young drivers?

Absolutely! I always have been a backer of this career planning. The step from a series such as the Formula BMW to the Euro Series is just too big. Quite obviously, daring such a big step with a well prepared driver who enters the season without pressure is possible. But often, young drivers are 'burnt out' quickly, this way, as they just want too much. The ATS Formula 3 Cup represents a good first step. Here, the driver can practice a lot and has got the time for making progress. On the other hand, you have to have the time to contest one or two ATS Formula 3 Cup seasons before advancing to the Euro Series.

What are your top priorities when it comes to the cooperation with a driver?

The No 1 priority is trust. And the driver should try to implement the knowledge I'm trying to impart to help him making progress. After all, motor racing isn't a walk in the park. Just as it is the case in any other area of life, you need a certain toughness to succeed.

-credit: formel3.de

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Series F3
Drivers Marco Wittmann