W Series Rookie of the Year Nerea Martí aims for title run in 2022 and FIA F3 in 2023

Fresh off her first FIA F3 test at Magny-Cours in France, W Series driver Nerea Martí has ambitious plans for her future. The 19-year-old from Spain told selected media including F1 Feeder Series that she is aiming for a W Series championship in 2022, hopefully followed by a step up to FIA F3 in 2023.

By Perceval Wolff

“It was the best way to finish my 2021 season,” Martí said. “I hope to do more tests in the future because I enjoyed it a lot, so I hope to be back behind the F3 wheel very soon. Now I will have to focus on W Series for next year. I want to win, but the easiest way for that is to continue what I’ve done this year: enjoy every race and keep learning. And if it works, the next step will be FIA F3 for 2023.”

As for the near future, Martí expressed her wish to gain more track time by taking part in one of the winter championships.

“At the moment, we are assessing the different opportunities for the winter pre-season, but you know it’s very expensive and for the moment I have nothing for my pre-season,” she explained. “I would like to be able to participate to a winter championship because it would be perfect in order to be fully prepared for W Series.”

Apart from Martí, Russian driver Irina Sidorkova (18) also completed a full day of testing with FIA F3 machinery at Magny-Cours. Both drivers are members of the W Series Academy (created for the youngest drivers of the championship), and they were granted this FIA F3 test session thanks to a recent partnership between W Series and F3.

A different car

Nerea Martí finished fourth in her maiden W Series season this year, stepping up to the podium once and finishing as best rookie of the year. In only a few hours of testing, Martí had to learn the specifics of her new car.

“It was my first time in this car and on this track,” she said It was amazing to drive the F3 car, it’s very different from the Regional car [used in W Series, e.n.]. Power, braking, downforce, everything is different. Even the lines change a bit. Also, the DRS is something new for me. […] At the beginning, I forgot to put it (laughs), but when I opened it… I really felt the power of the car, it was amazing.”

Nerea Marti in action at Magny-Cours | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

After some free practice and several qualification runs, the two young drivers spent their afternoon doing race simulation programs: “Managing the Pirelli tyres is the key,” added Martí. “During the race simulation, it was perfect at the beginning, but then, the tyres started to grain. It’s difficult but it’s something that I need to learn, and that I need to put in practice in the longer runs.”

Irina Sidorkova agreed with what her W Series Academy teammate said about the F3 car: “I learnt a lot of new things: a new car, new tyres, DRS… there was a lot of information to absorb today! I really like the car, it’s amazing to drive, it’s so fast! I was quite surprised regarding the steering wheel because I could manage easier than I expected. I really like the Pirelli tyres as well. I think I would like to have more time with these tyres and this car. The track temperatures were quite cold, so it was not easy to find a good grip.”

Progression

Regarding her performances, the young Russian driver was pretty pleased with her progression throughout the day: “I usually need time to adapt, but I was improving session by session. I am quite happy about this.

Martí agreed: “I improved a lot during the day. But the most important thing is that I’ve enjoyed a lot and that I’ve learnt a lot of things. And… I hope to do more F3 tests now (laughs).”

FIA F3 Technical Director Didier Perrin was also at Magny-Cours to supervise the two W Series Academy drivers and was satisfied as well: “It has been a very productive day for both Nerea and Irina. There was a lot of information to take on, but they adapted quickly and have provided us with interesting feedback. All in all, it’s been very positive, and we are quite pleased with both drivers’ work today.”

Special coach

Martí and Sidorkova had a special coach for this testing session: defending FIA F3 champion Dennis Hauger himself. The Norwegian Red Bull-backed driver helped the two young drivers by finding the best set-up and by advising them. “He’s a fast and experienced driver. He knows what to say to help us improve,” said Sidorkova.

Photo credit header image: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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