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Change of F3 race approach pays dividends for Fornaroli at Barcelona

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Changes in his approach to race management led Leonardo Fornaroli to his second FIA Formula 3 podium at Barcelona.

Having claimed the Formula Regional European Championship’s rookie title in 2022, despite never making the overall podium, the Italian felt “there was no point to repeat” that series as he was “ready” for F3.

Trident, who he raced for in FREC, gave him “a lot of confidence” for the step up to F3 and he is now making progress with the team at the next level.

“We trained a lot during the winter with the team and my engineer, so I don’t want to say I was expecting to be in the front, but I was really confident with the team and myself,” he explained to Formula Scout after coming third in the recent Barcelona sprint race.

“I think we are doing a very good job, but there are still the last tenths to be on the top. But I think we can do it.”

Fornaroli has qualified in the top 10 in the first four rounds, with fourth place his best result.

“For qualifying, we showed almost in every [round] strong pace, apart from Monaco that we lacked a bit of pace. Here, with only one tenth less I could be P5 or P4 [rather than ninth]. But it’s okay, the car was still very good.”

Although he already has two sprint race podiums, Fornaroli has suffered from excessive tyre wear in races. It is something he believes should be under control in future rounds having learned how to take better care of the tyres.

“We already showed a strong qualifying pace in Bahrain, but we had some difficulties with tyre management in the race. After the race [there], I worked a lot with my engineer on the simulator to try to improve myself from that point of view.

“And I think in Melbourne, Monaco and especially here [at Barcelona] we did a really good step forward in race management and I’m very happy about this.”

He added: “The issue I had in Bahrain and a little bit in Monaco is that I was pushing a lot too much in the start, so I was consuming and overheating too much the tyres, especially the rears. Then of course, lap after lap with the degradation increasing, I was much slower.

“The key of today was to start a bit slower and to be as gentle and smooth as possible with the tyre and traction management, and we did it very well.

“I was trying to not force too much in the tyres because I could see he [Luke Browning] was pushing a lot in front of me to try to go away from me. So my tactic was to not push too much until the last four laps and [after that] try to give everything I had to try to pass him.”

A late safety car period minimised the effectiveness of Fornaroli’s strategy, and he finished third behind Hitech GP’s Browning.