“The level in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, representing my first step in European motor racing, is incredibly high," said Antonio Giovinazzi, the reigning Formula Pilota China Champion.
On the second day of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship tests at Barcelona’s 4.655-kilometre Grand Prix circuit, William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 1:40.812 minutes) secured the top position on the time sheets.
Watched by the 2012 Formula 3 European Champion, Daniel Juncadella, the Briton outpaced his compatriots Jordan King (1:40.997 minutes) and Harry Tincknell (1:41,021, both Carlin) who finished second and third respectively.
William Buller set the fastest lap time of the day in the morning session and came to a positive conclusion as early as during lunch: “The test went really well, I can’t complain.
For me, this year will be – first of all – a technical challenge as I’m going to contest the season with the rather new Nissan engine. But the cooperation with the Japanese is really enjoyable.
I even try to lean some Japanese words, now,” said Buller. While Buller has got a lot of Formula 3 experience under his belt, Jordan King is about to contest his rookie season. But this fact didn’t prevent the Carlin driver from setting the second fastest lap time of the day.
“I still am on the way to familiarising myself with both the team and the car,” he admitted. “I think that the Formula Renault 2.0 I have been racing in before making the step to the F3 European Championship represents a good preparation for Formula 3.
But I also am aware of the fact that there still is a lot of room for improvements – particularly when it comes to my consistency.”
King’s performance also was praised by his more experienced team-mate Harry Tincknell: “My team-mates aren’t exactly what you would call experienced but they are fast.
I think our team is more competitive than one may believe when looking at our line-up.” Tincknell was beaten by King by 0.024 seconds and had to settle for having finished third.
“For us it was of major importance that we succeeded in completing our scheduled programme without encountering any problems. The fact that I made it to one of the top positions was just a nice bonus,” Tincknell added.
Behind Sven Müller (ma-con, 1:41.159 minutes), Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational, 1:41.191 minutes), the fastest driver in the afternoon session, secured fifth place.
By coming sixth, Nicholas Latifi (Carlin, 1:41.195 minutes) confirmed the assessment of his team-mate Harry Tincknell. After all, three of the four Carlin drivers made it to the top six.
Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:41.208 minutes), Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam, 1:41.308), Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing, 1:41.374) and Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsports, 1:41.379) completed the top 10.
And Italian Giovinazzi, the reigning Formula Pilota China Champion, admitted: “The level in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, representing my first step in European motor racing, is incredibly high.
Nonetheless, I’m rather happy with my testing achievements – although I couldn’t contest the afternoon session due to an accident I had short before the lunch break.”
A glance at the time sheets shows that the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season promises to make for extremely close motor racing. The gap between the William Buller and Roy Nissany (Mücke Motorsport, 1:41.812 minutes) in 18th position amounted to just a second.
And Mitchell Gilbert (Mücke Motorsport, 1:41.984 minutes) finished 23rd, on his second official Formula 3 European Championship test day, although he was just 1.172 seconds slower than the quickest.
“The competitiveness is extreme but I think it’s even more crucial that we have got so many drivers delivering on such a high level,” said Gilbert.
“If you are a second slower than the quickest you don’t drop back to seventh or eighth but possibly have to settle for 20th position. But at the end of the day, these two days at Barcelona were just tests and the results aren’t too significant. Only on the first race weekend we will get a clearer picture regarding our competitiveness.”
The first two days of testing are over but on 18th and 19th March at Monza, the hopeful young guns will test for another two days before contesting the first three races of the season – at the same venue and a week before Easter.
FIA Formula 3 European Championship