Just turned 19-years old, Pietro Fittipaldi is taking on the best F3 drivers in the world – like his grandfather, Emerson, did in 1969. In his first column for Motorsport.com, he tells us how tough the competition has been.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship is one of the most competitive junior series in the world, and I believe that this year it has proven that fact once again.
I’ve been racing this season with Fortec Motorsports in my Dallara-Mercedes, and there have been many qualifying sessions in which the difference from being fifth to being 15th on the grid was decided by just one and a half tenths. This is what really makes the championship so competitive.
You need to drive at your 100% all the time; there is no room for driving just under the limit, you have to be on the limit all the time because at the end of the day that little bit you left out there could’ve put you 10 positions further up the grid.
The goal for me this year was to consistently be in the top 10 and by the middle of the season start finishing in the top five consistently. Everything was going to plan having top 10 finishes at the first round at Silverstone.
Broken hand setback
Unfortunately, after qualifying 11th for the first race at Pau, I crashed and broke my hand in the second qualifying session. I was confident we were going to have a couple more top 10 finishes at Pau, but this is motorsport you will always be prone to injury.
Anyways, the focus after I found out I broke my hand was to get it healed as quickly as possible to race at Monza – which was only two weeks away! With the help of several doctors we were able to avoid surgery and they cleared me to race with a special cast that was molded around my steering wheel.
At Monza we had another strong weekend finishing in the top seven and running in the top 5 throughout the races. It was also my first time on the rookie podium and I had the pleasure to have my grandfather with me to celebrate my first F3 podium!
Moving on, the next race was Spa. We qualified fourth in the first qualifying and sixth in the second qualifying, and we were able to finish the weekend with two top 10 finishes. At this point I was really happy with our progress.
After Spa we have had three race weekends and they have been very difficult. We now have three race weekends remaining in the championship and we are working very hard to bounce back to where we should be running.
I am looking forward to finishing the season off strong.