Taylor Barnard endured a difficult last Sunday at Barcelona as he finished ninth in the Formula 3 feature race after starting from the front row.
On Friday, the Jenzer Motorsport driver was pleased with small changes made to his car as he qualified second.
However, “extreme tyre degradation” in the feature race raised a new concern. The Briton dropped from second to ninth place in the second half of the 25-lap race at a track considered difficult for overtaking and despite five of the early laps taking place behind the safety car.
“Obviously, it was extremely difficult,” Barnard told Formula Scout. “I had a really good start and even my first two laps were really strong. I was feeling quite good with the car. Then we had the first safety car, my restart was very good and I was also putting pressure on Pepe Marti [the winner] for the first lap.
“Then I backed off and just saved my tyres as much as I could. It seems like I just had extreme tyre degradation. I was doing tighter lines than everyone else just trying to save as much as possible the rears. But either way, no matter what I did, I was never going to be able to stay there. I just had no grip at all in the rear.
“Struggled a lot, but anyway I managed to bring home two points. So still keeping the points-scoring positions continuing. Hopefully, we can do the same again in the next race weekend. But definitely a tough race today.”
Having made a significant step forward in terms of qualifying performance, finding a solution to the extreme tyre degradation is “definitely” Barnard and Jenzer’s main priority at the moment.
At present, only Trident’s championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto and Prema’s Paul Aron are on longer points-scoring streaks than Barnard but both have made the podium twice while Barnard’s best finish is a fifth.
“The qualifying set-up we have, especially for this track, it seems like we are on the pace in quali,” said Barnard.
“I think for other tracks as well, even in Monaco, I think I could have had the possibility to do better in quali. So I’m not really concerned about qualifying, I think we can put it there. It’s just the tyre degradation. We really need to fix something on the car for the races and try to get some more points.”
Average finishing positions in 2023 FIA F3 season
5.75 Gabriel Bortoleto (1st in standings), Pepe Marti (2nd in standings)
6.125 Paul Aron (5th in standings)
7.25 Zak O’Sullivan (8th in standings)
8.875 Dino Beganovic (3rd in standings)
9.75 Gabriele Mini (4th in standings)
10.25 Taylor Barnard (13th in standings)