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Tramnitz wants to be F3’s top rookie of the season after bittersweet start

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Tim Tramnitz has set targets of being the FIA Formula 3 Championship’s top rookie after a bittersweet first two rounds of the season.

The MP Motorsport driver left Bahrain’s season opener jubilant having finished fifth and third in the races. However he went points-free in Melbourne, slipping from second to sixth in the standings.

We kind of expected that Melbourne would be a bit more difficult as we are three rookies in the team and the track time is just so limited,” he told Formula Scout during in-season testing at Barcelona.

“You have only like six laps in practice. And when you have three rookies which are new to the track, it’s always a bit difficult to have the right reference data. We just went into qualifying and got it a bit wrong overall.”

Tramnitz qualified 22nd, 1.483 seconds off pole. Alex Dunne was MP’s best driver in 17th, only 0.106s ahead.

“Struggling a bit to bring the tyres up to temperature and things like this. I think anyway we showed strong performance in the race,” he added.

“Melbourne was all about qualifying for us in the end. It’s good that we are here for the test now. And we are trying a couple of things, sorting things out that they don’t happen again. So far so good, I think overall we can still be happy with the start of the season.”

Lacking an experienced team-mate for Melboune “made it a little bit more difficult” since Tramnitz did not “have someone who is very fast from the beginning and you have the data to learn from”. But he does not fear such a disadvantage during the rest of the season since he has raced on all but one of the remaining circuits.

“In Bahrain it worked [without], but honestly it’s always good to have someone who has more experience that already spent a year in the car. Because there’s always something you can learn. But I have two very fast team-mates.”

The “target is to be the best rookie” in a championship where “the pack is really tight, so there’s no margin or no room for a mistake”.

“In quali, it’s all about the tyre. So you have to get it right with the tyre. You have to bring them up in a good way. You have to have the right pressures. And I think that’s what can make a really big difference in the championship. So it’s important to work on the feeling for this, for the warm-up, things like this, and then we should get it right.”

MP’s team manager Jeremy Cotterill called Barcelona testing “essential” for drivers’ progress.

“They now felt what the events are like and they can translate that here and do three days of testing of trying to refine that for the season going forward,” he said. “We made some inroads into the situation. Australia, we weren’t happy. But I think going forward with this test, we should start to see some improvements in the results.”