Victor Martins can look back fondly on the first half of his rookie FIA Formula 3 season. The French Alpine driver is the highest placed newcomer and that has pleased not only himself but also the Alpine Academy. He ‘has cemented our belief in his talent’.
By Perceval Wolff
Alpine-backed driver Victor Martins was regarded as one of the best rookies of the FIA F3 grid at the start of the season after joining MP Motorsport. The reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion got a strong start of his season, after climbing on three podiums in the first two rounds. “I am quite satisfied with my first part of the season. The first two races went very well for me. I managed to adapt quickly to the car, to the weekend format and to handling fights in the races. These are completely different elements from what I have known in the past, especially in Formula Renault.”
However, the Frenchman has lost some of his momentum in the Austrian and the Hungarian rounds where he scored only six points in the last six races. Despite this setback, he intends to focus on the positive and on the lessons learnt from these meetings. “I have big ambitions, so of course I cannot be satisfied with my poor performances in Hungary. But I prefer to keep a positive attitude and tell myself that I am the first rookie in the championship. Thanks to these first four races, I have already gained a lot of experience.”
Sitting seventh in the standings, Victor Martins is only 23 points away from the second place of the championship, but the 20-year-old driver doesn’t want to make it a target for the end of the season. “I’m going to take it race by race without thinking about the championship. This is how I get the best results. Of course, I will continue to work hard to get the most out of the car and especially enjoy my time behind the wheel, it’s important.”
With only three race weekends left (Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and Austin), Martins has his full attention on the Dutch meeting (3-5 September) which will be the one at home for the team: “I’m already looking forward to being there and somehow reliving what I experienced at Paul Ricard, with all the support from the public that supported me throughout the weekend.”
As an Alpine Academy member, Victor Martins has made Mia Sharizman proud. Director of the Renault’s then Alpine’s Junior Team for more than five years, the Malaysian manager was impressed by Martins’ performance. “Victor is the highest placed rookie in the championship and by mid-season has cemented our belief in his talent. The season started well for him in Barcelona and Paul-Ricard. The bar was set so high after his magnificent performances especially in front of his home crowd in France.”
Beyond Victor Martins, Mia Sharizman praises his other F3 protégé, Caio Collet (10th with two podiums). The Brazilian is also Martins’ teammate in MP, a team in which Sharizman has full confidence. “MP Motorsport worked hard to take a major step up from last year and that shows in the first four rounds of the season. As for Victor and Caio, who are the top two Rookies in the Championship at the moment, the expectation is for them to continue to work together as a pairing and help the team to develop and progress further up the grid. They are in the right team and in the right environment to continue learning. We are confident the results will come for them.”
The next round for Victor Martins and Caio Collet is in two weeks at Spa-Francorchamps, a track where the Frenchman has already won, back in 2018 in Formula Renault.