September 25, 2022

Reflections of O’Sullivan, Leclerc and Maloney

FIA Formula 3: Welcome to today’s FIA Formula 3 press conference after the qualifying session here at Silverstone. Joining us today, in pole position, is Zak O’Sullivan for Carlin, in second place Arthur Leclerc for PREMA Racing, and in third place Zane Maloney for Trident. Starting with you, Zak, first off, congratulations. What an impressive result and the best place to score your first pole position at Silverstone. How are you feeling right now?

Zak O’Sullivan: Quite happy. It’s the home Grand Prix for me and the team, so a good place to score pole! It was quite unexpected, to be honest. We weren’t too bad in free practice. But then in qualifying, that first round of the second set was really, really nice. And luckily it was good enough for pole so yeah, I’m pretty happy.

FIA Formula 3: You say you were quite surprised. What do you think made the difference today? If you did not expect this result?

O’Sullivan: I’m not too sure. To be honest. We struggled a bit with the car all year. We tried different things for this weekend, but nothing too major. As soon as we dropped the car in free practice it already felt like a big improvement over the previous rounds. Obviously, I have a pretty good knowledge of the track at this circuit, so that probably played a role today as well.

FIA Formula 3: You mentioned on the radio that the car felt good. Do you think that from P12 tomorrow on the reverse grid the car will be exactly the same?

O’Sullivan: We’ll see what we can do. I think at least it gives us a small chance to see what the car feels like in race conditions, where we’ve struggled a bit more so far, it’s a bit of a reconnaissance run to see what we can do to improve ourselves the car of the future.

FIA Formula 3: Thank you Zak and congratulations. On to you Arthur, P2 is an excellent result. So far you’ve spent your F3 career telling yourself ‘I have to sort out my qualifying’. Looks like that’s exactly what you did today. How was it from the car?

Arthur Leclerc: It was a great feeling. We did a very, very, very good job. Especially after this morning’s free practice which was quite tricky, I had a lot of trouble with the balance. In the end, we managed to take P2. We were missing small pieces for pole position. I’m pretty sure we could have had it because the car was really amazing today. But I can be really happy because the progress we have made in qualifying since the start of the year is huge.

FIA Formula 3: The weather outside is quite changeable and very windy. Did it have an impact on your driving today?

Leclerc: It doesn’t change badly. Especially in high speed corners, it changes a lot but it’s the same for everyone. It was not difficult to adapt. You feel a lot when the wind changes. In the end, we’re doing pretty well. Zak did the same, from the results we can see.

FIA Formula 3: Starting from P11 tomorrow, we know that you know how to progress through the field, what can you expect from this position?

Leclerc: Let’s see. I mean, it’s really hard to predict even more because of the weather. It changes massively during the day today. No weather tells you the truth! So it will be a bit of a surprise I think. Over the last few years we have seen that there are overtaking opportunities in Formula 3. So let’s see what we can do tomorrow.

FIA Formula 3: Thank you, Arthur. Moving on to your Zane, welcome to the press conference. P3 today must be feeling pretty good after a few tough laps.

Zane Maloney: For sure. Obviously, this is not the start of the season that I would have liked. But to get P3 and be up there in qualifying again is great. Of course it’s not the first so I’m not fully satisfied because a small mistake on my part cost me pole today but the car was amazing. So thanks to Trident. Then, at least, we are closer to the front, then to Barcelona.

FIA Formula 3: You mention an error. But how difficult was it between the traffic and the track conditions?

Maloney: It was very difficult. The wind, as Arthur said, is the same for everyone. So it wasn’t too complicated. It was more traffic and getting the right position for the lap. I didn’t even do the first push because there was a lot of chaos. It was quite tricky, and also getting the tires in the right window but it worked pretty well so I’m happy.

FIA Formula 3: You will start from P10, on the grid for tomorrow’s Sprint race. How difficult is it going to be to get up the field and overtake here?

Maloney: I think it’s going to be a good race. As we see, the wind is quite strong, so maybe it’s good for racing and crossing the field with the wake. Of course, it will be difficult to follow the others. I’m sure the team will give me a great race car, and like Zak said in those races, when you go ahead on Sunday, the Sprint race is more about preparation. Of course we will try to get the points we can and get the opportunities we can as well.

FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much and good luck for tomorrow.