Zane Maloney: ‘I want to be getting the Barbados flag on the top step’

The Boy from Barbados, Zane Maloney, has impressed in his single seater career to date. This is his first year in FIA F3 Maloney sat down with selected media including F1 Feeder Series along with ART GP’s Gregoire Saucy and Hitech GP’s Kaylen Frederick to discuss the weekend ahead.

By Charlie Parker

It has been a shade over a month since Victor Martins crossed the finish line in the Bahrain Feature Race but the teams have been hard at work as there were two in season tests in Spain, one at Jerez and the other at Barcelona. Rookies were able to get to grips with the jump up to F3, including Maloney.

“It was good to be back out again between races”, he said to selected media including F1 Feeder Series. “It’s not much about being quick in testing. Obviously, it’s good to be quick but you more want to gather data and try to get better with the car. We were able to get everything we wanted to in both tests, in the wet and in the dry. It was very positive and I’m excited to show the pace we gained in Imola.

“Coming from the Regional car is quite a natural step to F3. Of course, it’s quicker, more downforce but you naturally step up. It’s so far so good and hopefully we can continue to improve throughout the year. Even in testing I’ve been improving a lot more than just in Bahrain.” 

Despite making that step up Maloney understands he has been quick to start the season and with the pace he has, he is looking to end the weekend with at least one top step visit wrapped in the flag of his nation he is so proud to represent at a track that he loves.

“I love Imola, lots of history to it”, he says. “It’s my type of track in terms of my driving style so I’m looking forward to getting on track, even if it’s wet. My goals for the weekend is to continue from Bahrain and improve as much as possible. We were at the front end in Bahrain and hopefully we can do that again. I want to be getting the Barbados flag on the top step.”

Saucy wants a podium

It was a disappointing Sprint Race in Bahrain for ART’s Saucy after colliding with his teammate Martins and being forced to retire from the race, but a brilliant third place finish in the Feature Race balanced out the weekend and the Swiss driver looks to make the step up at a track he’s familiar with.

“Last year was really good here for me [in FRECA]. We won the first race and it gave me a lot of confidence for the championship. F3 is a step higher but the style of driving is the same so we just need to continue the same work we did with my engineers and my team last year.

“I want to get the best result we can get. But for sure to get another podium like I got in Bahrain is the goal.”

Underrated Frederick

Bahrain was also good for Hitech. Isack Hadjar claimed victory in the Sprint. But it was an underrated weekend from American driver Kaylen Frederick, who finished eighth and 10th. This is his second year in F3, but he could not catch a break last year and looks to mount a strong campaign this year.

Unlike Maloney and Saucy, Frederick has never raced at Imola before, and with the potential wet conditions that will effect practice and qualifying, he is set for a trial by fire. But testing has helped the American. 

“It was good to get a condensed period of testing in between Bahrain and now. I think the wet running in Jerez will help us out this weekend since we don’t get a lot of wet running. When we realised we would have a whole day of it, we focused a lot on a wet setup and we weren’t thinking about running tyres at the ultimate time of day. We have really used Jerez as gaining as much info as we could.

“Barcelona, a track we will be racing on this year, we got some solid running there too, a lot of race runs, just gathering a lot of data on test items. On the driving side, just improving on any small aspects I can to improve the lap. I think everyone did loads of laps around Barcelona. We weren’t necessarily looking for ultimate pace but what would benefit us when we get to race weekend.” 

In terms of expectations for this weekend, Frederick cooled off any talk of a guaranteed push closer to the front but wanted to remain open to whatever happens: “It’s quite hard to set any expectations for a result but I will go and try and learn the track for whatever the conditions are and as long as we adapt quickly the result will come. Our focus needs to be on an open minded approach.”

The wet weather during Friday practice and qualifying has thrown a spanner in the works for the teams as it is expected to stay dry for the races. It will be interesting to see how Maloney, Saucy and Frederick handle it.

Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency

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