Formula 3 drivers convince at Silverstone-
Silverstone, UK, was the place to be. From Wednesday until Friday the next generation of F1 talents had been invited to join the F1 Young Drivers’ Test. A lot of former and current Formula 3 drivers got the chance of demonstrating their skills – and delivered well.
On the final of the three test days, Red Bull protégé Daniil Kvyat also was offered the chance of joining the test action. The 19-year-old, who makes some guest-driver appearances in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship for British Team Carlin, this year, completed 22 laps at the wheel of a Toro Rosso. On an unusually hot summer day, Kvyat executed his first Formula 1 test: “I want to thank Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso for giving me this opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time. It was a really nice feeling, with all that down force and power. The more laps you do, the more you get used to it and on my last run I was already trying to push and find the limits. Unfortunately, we lost some time when I made a mistake and ran into the gravel. I’m not sure what happened, I just felt a lack of grip at the rear from the tyres and had snap oversteer.” Nevertheless the Russian was thrilled by his first Formula 1 test.
On the first two days of testing, McLaren Junior Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Félix da Costa (Red Bull) had been offered the chance of getting their first taste of Formula 1. With more than 100 laps completed, Denmark’s Magnussen proved to be the busiest driver on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Portuguese da Costa could drive the Red Bull single seater for 1.5 days. Both young drivers still raced in Formula 3, last year. On Friday, Kimiya Sato also got behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car: for the Sauber F1 Team. The 24-year-old Japanese contested his maiden F1 test with the experience gathered in the Japanese, the German and the European Formula 3 under his belt.
On Thursday, Red Bull protégé Carlos Sainz Junior, son of the former World Rally Champion, finished second on the time sheets. In the afternoon session, the Spaniard completed 39 laps in the cockpit of a Toro Rosso – to test for Red Bull on Friday morning. Last year he raced in Formula 3 and finished ninth, in the championship. “First of all, I want to thank Red Bull and especially Toro Rosso for this opportunity. When I got out of the car at the end, I went round to every mechanic and said ’thank you for being part of the happiest day of my life!’ Driving the car was an incredible feeling and this track helped, because if there is one circuit where you are really going to feel you are in a Formula 1 car, it’s Silverstone. As for my impressions of the car, everything about it was amazing, but if I had to pick on one aspect it would be the car’s agility and the way it can change direction at 300 km/h. That’s something I had never experienced before and it was the most impressive thing for me”, says the 18-year-old Spaniard.
Also involved in the tests at Silverstone were Venezuela’s Johnny Cecotto (Toro Rosso), son of former Formula 1 driver and Motorbike World Champion Johnny Cecotto, and reigning Formula 3 European Champion and DTM driver Daniel Juncadella (Williams) “I could feel the speed of the car from lap one and it was a great experience today I’m really delighted with having been offered this chance by the team. I’m really happy with the chance the team gave me. In the end, we couldn’t complete our full programme but I think we had some good runs,” said Juncadella. “I get on well with the engineers and team and we worked well together. The team has given me all the support I needed.”
For decades, Formula 3 has been the ideal stepping stone into motorsport’s premier category, Formula 1. Here, up-and- coming talents not only acquire valuable experience in racing, but also learn how to deal with technical matters. Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, to name but a few examples from the last three decades, all moved up through the ranks of Formula 3 into the sport’s top class. In addition, an amazing 17 drivers of the 2013 Formula 1 grid learned their trade in Formula 3.