Off the back of a strong test at Imola, Taylor Barnard is confident that he and Jenzer Motorsport have turned a corner in Formula 3 after a tough season start.
The F3 test was held in mid-April, and Barnard was back at Imola days later to coach PHM Racing’s Formula 4 quad. While there, he caught up with Formula Scout in the paddock.
“We struggled for the first two races,” he said. “But over these last two days of testing here, we definitely made huge steps forward, both with myself and in the car, and just generally the team spirit and the way we’re working.”
Though still under contract to PHM, who rescued a career which appeared to have stalled in 2021 through a lack of budget and possibly also confidence, Barnard made the move to FIA F3 with established Swiss team Jenzer after finishing runner-up to Andrea Kimi Antonelli in ADAC F4 in 2022 and then in Formula Regional Middle East this year.
With the funds for a whole season, he can now focus fully on his driving: “PHM are fully supporting me but, of course, I always have to keep pushing because you never know what’s coming next.”
Relegated to the back of the grid for both races at the Bahrain season opener after his qualifying laptimes were deleted for track limits violations, he fought through to 15th and 16th in the races.
In Melbourne “we struggled again for pace in qualifying, but in both races we came through,” and he took his first points in the feature race. “We definitely made some steps [there], but we also got lucky with some safety cars and a few crashes.”
Barnard points to struggling “in the braking zones” as critical. “We didn’t have the confidence [or] the same efficiency as the other drivers. That’s definitely where most of the pace has come from.”
With those issues “fixed”, he now has more “confidence on the brakes and in the whole car, but we’re still working on the set-up and I’m working on myself”.
He adds “I think the next few races will show our real pace and we’ll see where we are in terms of the results”, but is careful not to get carried away by Jenzer’s test pace.
“Some other teams definitely have some pace in reserve. But I think my average position should be much higher than what it was. I want to be inside the top 10 every race but my main expectation and my target now is just for points every race.”
It is, he feels, premature to start aiming for podiums, but “after halfway in the season, when we progress a bit more, we should definitely be looking at podiums, I think”.
After the next round, at Imola, the series makes its first ever visit to Monaco, which Barnard is “looking forward to”.
“Of course, it’s very special. No one has tested [there] and you have to be on it really quickly, and that’s one of my strong points.”