Experiences of a champions maker Team Van Amersfoort Racing has won the 2009 ATS Formula 3 Cup title with Laurens Vanthoor. Furthermore, the Dutch squad has been one of the front runners in Germany's fastest single-seater series for many years,...
Experiences of a champions maker
Team Van Amersfoort Racing has won the 2009 ATS Formula 3 Cup title with Laurens Vanthoor. Furthermore, the Dutch squad has been one of the front runners in Germany's fastest single-seater series for many years, now. In addition, Team Principal Frits van Amersfoort is a long-term board member of the German Formula 3 Association. Therefore, his opinions and his background knowledge are very interesting.
Are you happy with what you achieved on the first three race weekends of the season?
Van Amersfoort: Taking a look back on the major successes we celebrated last year, I currently just can't be happy. While our pace is okay, our results don't reflect this competitiveness.
In the past, you contested the season with two cars but you have entered three for 2010. Does this change represent a big difference for you and the team?
Van Amersfoort: At the end of the day, three drivers and three racing cars cause more work and - consequently - more stress for the entire squad. On the other hand, we began adapting the team to the new situation as early as in late 2009. Therefore, the three-car team doesn't cause major problems for us.
Stef Dusseldorf, runner-up in 2009, wants to secure the title, this year - and Daniel Abt is a competitive rookie. Do they harmonize well with one another?
Van Amersfoort: Yes, they get on rather well with one another. Actually, it's a really good combination. The rookie can learn from the experienced driver while the latter is motivated to deliver even better performances, every now and then. At the end of the day, the situation makes both drivers faster.
Up to and including 2009, Daniel Abt raced for the team of his family. Did he encounter problems when it came to adapting to a 'foreign' team?
Van Amersfoort: My team attaches great value to human relations. We rely on the friendship between drivers and team. Daniel is a great guy making it easy to quickly take him to your heart. He is gifted, ambitious, incredibly fast and has got a great sense of humour. Daniel will take his Abitur (German equivalent of the British A Levels) this month and afterwards, his he will be able to fully focus on his life as a racing driver. This will allow him to keep on making progress.
Does his name mean that he has to cope with more pressure than other ATS Formula 3 Cup drivers?
Van Amersfoort: No, I absolutely don't see him being under a special pressure. Furthermore, we all are aware that he is just contesting his learning season. And in addition, Daniel knows well how to cope with pressure.
Willi Steindl failed to make his breakthrough, to date. Have you got an explanation for his problems?
Van Amersfoort: Willi gives himself a hard time. He has got an incredible will to win. Every time when he travels to a circuit he is convinced that things will run better this time and that he is going to win. And then, if something doesn't run as well as he hoped in the qualifying session, he is mentally destroyed. In those moments, Willi has big difficulties to just shake off such a result and look ahead.
The coming ATS Formula 3 Cup rounds will be held at Assen, Netherlands. Do you have to cope with bigger pressure, there?
Van Amersfoort: Possibly, the wish to win your home races is even bigger than usual. Nonetheless, the races at Assen are races like any other ATS Formula 3 Cup round. Meanwhile, Assen's track layout causes bigger stress than any other circuit as it differs completely from any other track on the calendar. Therefore, the drivers also have to make a major effort to adapt to the circuit's special characteristics.
Who are your toughest rivals in the battle for the title?
Van Amersfoort: Most definitely Tom Dillman and Kevin Magnussen.
How do you assess the 2010 ATAS Formula 3 Cup compared to 2009?
Van Amersfoort: The involvement of Team Motopark Academy, for instance, has once again increased the competitiveness at the front end of the field. In addition, there are further teams relying on the Volkswagen engine, thus also making for an even tougher competition. Altogether, I would say that our series is far more varied, this year.
How do you assess the development of Formula 3 in Germany and Europe?
Van Amersfoort: You could write a book about this topic. Like anything else, the entire motor-racing world suffers due to the economic crisis. The crisis unveils many things that were no good or unhealthy already in the past. Nonetheless, it remains a fact that young racing drivers have to learn a lot when it comes to driving style, set-up, data analysis and a lot of other issues. And Formula 3 definitely represents the perfect environment for doing so. The newly created categories such as GP3 - but GP2 too - all have got the problem that the drivers aren't offered a lot of driving opportunities and as a result, their driving experience is limited. In Formula 3, however, the situation is completely different and - consequently - better. In addition, you also shouldn't forget that Formula 3 has been educating mechanics and engineers for many years, now, thus helping them to start their own careers. The relatively big technical freedom we are enjoying in Formula 3 is the only environment allowing for such a development. Nonetheless, finding a proper balance between costs and benefits will remain one of our main tasks.