Taylor Barnard sealed his best FIA Formula 3 qualifying result yet at Barcelona as set-up changes from getting more acquainted with the car paid off.
The Briton will start Sunday’s feature race from second on the grid, marking Jenzer Motorsport’s best ever qualifying perfomance in the championship.
Formula Scout caught up with Barnard in the paddock after qualifying to ask about his progression as a rookie and expectations for the weekend’s two races.
“Of course it’s a really great result for me,” he said. “We’ve made some good progress throughout the rounds, and especially here we already had a good test in-season. So P2, for sure, is a great result for us. Even tomorrow for the [reversed-grid] sprint race, P11 is a good place to go and attack the cars in front and try to pick up some points.”
Despite Barcelona being labelled as one of the most difficult circuits to overtake, Barnard is confident that he will be able to move up in the order from the sixth row of the sprint race grid.
“Barcelona is a really high degradation track, and always the first lap is the best place to gain all the places. I expect a lot of degradation, so I can pick up a couple on the first lap, and just try to catch some with degradation. But to be honest, my main goal is to try to learn for Sunday and try to pick up the mega points in the feature race.”
Coming from a double points finish in Monaco, Barnard acknowledged that the Barcelona in-season test proved fruitful and hopes to continue progressing to eventually step on to the podium regularly.
“I mean having a good baseline is key for all of the tracks. When you arrive, if you’re already confident from the first lap in free practice, it makes a huge difference.
“And I think us being strong here in the test has proven it in the qualifying and the free practice here in the race weekend that having a good baseline is key. I just hope for the next races we can learn from this and try to bring a strong baseline to the other tracks as well.
“Honestly, I think we just do small changes on the car, and we all go up as a team,” he said regarding his recent perfomance step, having starting the campaign not even qualifying at Bahrain, qualifying 18th in Melbourne and then ninth in Monaco.
“I gain confidence in driving, and I gain confidence in the car. Jenzer also trust me now more to tell them what to do with the car. We’re working much better together now than we were in the start of the season, and it’s all just progress really, to be fair. I hope it continues like this and at the end of the year we can fight for podiums consistently.”