Home Featured Pepe Marti: F2 form making up for “tough end” of 2023 F3 season

Pepe Marti: F2 form making up for “tough end” of 2023 F3 season

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Pepe Marti says his competitiveness in Formula 2 so far this year is making up for how the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship ended for him.

The Campos Racing driver won three of the first eight races in his sophomore F3 season, but only got one podium in the 10 races after and fell from second to fifth in the standings. Some redemption came in finishing fifth in the FIA F3 World Cup-awarding Macau Grand Prix.

He started his F2 career last month with a podium, claimed another the next day and sits seventh in the points after round three.

“It’s been a very positive start to the year,” said Marti last time out in Melbourne. “And that makes up for coming from a tough end of the year last year in F3. You have some doubts. But to be honest, last year I knew we had the pace and when we jumped into F2, straight away with the old car we were on the pace. And in pre-season tests, I felt like the car was strong and when we got to Bahrain for race one, we were there.

“People might say ‘oh, the races were amazing’, we had a lot of comebacks in Bahrain, but I feel like the pace was always there, in qualifying as well.”

However he added: “Right now, what I need to improve most is quali, which is a bit of a shame because last year was the same and I feel like I’ve improved.”

Marti says he and Campos “have more or less things under control”, but at round two in Jeddah “sort of stumbled a bit on the same stone twice”.

On lap one of the feature race “I made a really big mistake”, and the resulting collision ended his day. “So to lose a chance there, it was really frustrating.”

Marti was confident of bouncing back in Melbourne but failed to score, suffering another lap one retirement in the sprint race. He was still proud though thinking about his bounceback over winter.

“We had a really strong car last year in F3,” he recalled, before adding that only scoring five points in the last two rounds “does bring your confidence down”.

“In Macau, I tried to approach the weekend as you normally do. And that’s I think where I regained, I went back to being myself in Macau. It was really strong in Macau. We didn’t win, but I feel like we had the second best car probably of the grid, and we went up through the races, we did a good job and we came P5. So that was also satisfying.”

Going fifth fastest in F2 post-season testing brought the confidence back up, and although he came 14th in pre-season testing he was second in one session and that delivered confidence too. Marti described it as “slowly biting a cookie” rather than eating it “all at once”, so “trying to read [the car], gain [pace] slowly, and then back to normal [confidence]”.