Martins talks tailwinds, team radio as Hadjar acclimatises to changing track conditions

As has happened in much of the running this weekend at Silverstone, variable winds unsettled cars at different points on the Silverstone Circuit in the Sprint Race of the FIA Formula 3 Championship’s fourth round. Race winner Isack Hadjar may have been disappointed about the shortened race distance, but he felt comfortable with the overall balance of his car on the way to the chequered flag.

By Michael McClure

Hadjar passed Kush Maini, Reece Ushijima and Victor Martins on his way to victory. Speaking to F1 Feeder Series in the press conference after the race, Hadjar said he was unfazed by the wind afflicting the venue.

“I felt I had similar wind to yesterday morning, but it’s changing all the time. Even during the same lap, you can have a big change of direction. You send the car in the corner and you suddenly have a big change of balance.

“But it felt quite consistent this morning, so I didn’t feel much difference. I got used to it quite quickly and I wasn’t struggling at all.”

I got used to it quite quickly and I wasn’t struggling at all.

Isack Hadjar (Hitech Grand Prix) on the wind in the Sprint Race

Struggling with a headwind…

There was a headwind blowing down the Hangar Straight, located between Turns 14 and 15. The straight is one of two DRS zones on the circuit; it’s where Ushijima closed on Martins in the early laps of the race as well as the spot where Hadjar overtook him on Lap 8.

Speaking to F1 Feeder Series after the race, third-placed Ushijima said that the unique characteristics of the F3 car and the circuit added another layer of difficulty to the Sprint Race.

“With the aero reliance of our cars, it’s not surprising that a lot of us struggled, but I think that’s probably the factor that made going down the Hangar Straight a lot faster – and the effect of the DRS, which was beneficial to me at the start but not at the end.”

…And a tailwind

During the race, Martins mentioned on the radio that he was struggling with a lack of front grip entering Turn 3, one of the slowest corners on the circuit and the first major braking zone after the start-finish straight. A tailwind entering the corner exacerbated this lack of grip for the drivers, as Martins explained.

“I was struggling to get the front grip there to make the rotation. I think we had tailwind there. We all [knew] that since the beginning of the weekend,” Martins said.

“[My engineer] tried to guide me. I was trying to understand what was happening there, but in the end, I managed to get that apex and get a good exit there and a good car positioning for Turn 4. In the end, I think I saw [Isack] did a mistake also, so I think it was a pretty hard corner to get right.”

English radio for an English race

Martins’ team radios haven’t been featured often on the race broadcasts even though the ART Grand Prix driver has run at the front all season. In his response to F1 Feeder Series’ question about wind, Martins revealed that he’d only recently switched to communicating in English with his engineer during the race.

“I was speaking French from the beginning to this round, so I think it was why you didn’t have any radio from the past. But now, I switched to English with my engineer, so we are listened [to], actually, with the people around and watching the TV.”

The ART Grand Prix team is based in Villeneuve-la-Guyard, France – about an hour south-east of Paris – and the majority of its personnel speak French. When pressed further about what inspired him to switch to English, Martins said he had future career opportunities in mind.

“It’s just a matter of if you prepare the future, just to get in the rhythm with the language, with the words you are using. [At] ART, we are all French except my teammate, which is Juan Manuel Correa, so we first took the French.

It’s just a matter of if you prepare the future, just to get in the rhythm with the language, with the words you are using.

Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix)

“But in the end, I think it’s good to speak English, and even for me, for the future, you never know where I will go. [It’s] just to get used to it.”

Evidently, Martins is preparing for a future that includes series and teams in which English communication is required. But first, he’ll have to focus on a more immediate challenge: climbing up from 11th in the Feature Race tomorrow morning at 08:35 local.

Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

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