TEAM NEWS: Carlin’s British F3 team heads to Italy this week, for the third round of the 2008 British F3 International Series. While the Carlin squad have enjoyed a successful start to the season, the team are cautious about predicting further victories this weekend. With the F308 currently untested at the historic Monza track and four different race winners from four races, the Carlin drivers are looking forward to the challenge of the 3.6 mile long F1 circuit.
The venue of a 1-2-3 finish for the team last year – the Monza circuit is one of Carlin’s favourites, having produced four F3 victories for the team in previous seasons. Nevertheless the circuit can throw up many challenges and the team are eager to find out how the new Carlin Dallara-Mercedes package will fare at the low-downforce track.
F3 race winners Brendon Hartley, Jaime Alguersuari and Oliver Turvey all have previous experience of the circuit, having raced there in Formula Renault Italy last season. Both Hartley and Alguersuari finished on the podium on that occasion, with Hartley taking victory.
For Sam Abay and Carlin’s National class runners, Andy Meyrick and Kristjan Einar, the Italian track will be a new experience. Australian F3 rookie Sam Abay will be hoping to bounce back from a big crash at Croft which denied him a potential podium finish in race two. Welsh racer Meyrick is out to continue his dominance, having scored 83 points from a possible 84 so far this season while team mate Kristjan Einar will have his first experience of racing on an F1 circuit.
While the rest of the F3 drivers have been preparing for this weekend’s round at Monza, Carlin’s Jaime Alguersuari took time out to test the Red Bull Formula One car last weekend, at a test circuit in Spain. The young Spaniard became the second current Carlin F3 driver to test an F1 car, following in the footsteps of fellow Red Bull driver, Brendon Hartley.
Having taken his first F3 victory last time out at Croft, Hartley is looking forward to returning to Monza, “It’s a fantastic track, with lots of history and it’s a great feeling to race there. I think we’ll see some exciting racing this weekend, there’s usually a lot of overtaking, so qualifying won’t be quite as important as it is usually. Since Croft we’ve completed some low-downforce testing, which has brought some positive results, but no one is quite sure how the new car will handle in Monza.”
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “The season is really beginning to gather momentum now, and I think the main title challengers are become more obvious. We had a great race here last year to take our second 1-2-3 of the season, but that doesn’t mean to say the same will happen this season.
“For Brendon, Jaime and Oliver, the focus should be on getting consistent points finishes, and they should all be aiming for the podium. It will be very important for Sam to get a strong result this weekend following a big crash for him in Croft, as I don’t think we’ve seen what he is capable of so far this season. Andy is aiming to extend his already impressive lead in the National Class championship while Kristjan should have the National Class podium in his sights.”