Oliver Goethe is ready for tomorrow’s season-ending FIA Formula 3 race at Monza, having made up 17 places in today’s sprint race, as he will start from pole.
The Trident driver showed strong pace coming through the field from 22nd place on the grid. However, his recovery was halted on lap 15 of 18, when he flat-spotted his front-left tyre as he attempted to overtake Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan for fifth into the first chicane.
He then dropped behind team-mate Leonardo Fornaroli to take the chequered flag in seventh but with fastest lap. A five-second time penalty for Fornaroli for exceeding track limits and the disqualification of Hitech GP’s Luke Browning because of a technical infringement brought Goethe up to fifth in the final classification.
“The pace has been amazing all weekend, so I knew that that was possible, especially in a track like Monza where you can overtake a lot and it’s always chaos at the start,” he told Formula Scout. “I took advantage of that at the start and then picked them off one by one and managed to get in the top five in the end.”
Goethe came into the sprint race having topped practice and qualifying on Friday, but only securing pole after crashing and bringing qualifying to an early end. That crash didn’t hinder Goethe’s confidence, as was on it from lap one of the race.
“I was sure because I knew the pace was so strong. Like in free practice, I was P1 as well and before the crash in qualifying I was at the top as well. The first few laps I was obviously a bit nervous going into Lesmo 2, but slowly built my confidence back up there and in the end I felt back to normal.”
He is “really confident the pace will be there” in Sunday’s feature race.
“Of course, it’s Monza, you can overtake super easily, so it’s the hardest track to start first from. I have to be smart and pace-wise I know I can win. I just need to do a smart race and stay out of trouble.”
Building a lead that exceeds the DRS delta distance in the early laps, which would mean breaking the tow to the drivers behind, would be Goethe’s perfect scenario. However, he acknowledges it will be difficult and contemplates other situations.
“That would be ideal in the first few laps when there is no DRS to make a gap and to slightly break the tow, he said. “In Monza that’s extremely difficult, they all need to be fighting behind me for that to happen in my opinion; because of the tow you gain so much. No matter how fast you are, there is no escape unless they are fighting behind you and you put together amazing laps.
“That would be the ideal scenario; I’ll be looking to do that, but if not, I’m happy to race just towards the front and manage my tyres well, and then have the pace to win in the end.”