Difficult start for Charouz Racing System in the first round of the FIA Formula 3 championship at the Bahrain International Circuit. After three days of positive testing on this same track, the first race weekend of 2022 didn’t get off to a good start right from qualifying, thus compromising the first two races of the season.
Francesco Pizzi qualified higher on the grid on Friday, setting a 1:47.499 that earned him P23 in what has been a super tight qualifying session with the first twenty drivers within a second from the pole position. Unluckily for him, a contact right after the start of the Sprint Race on Saturday made him lose some positions and even though the pace was quite good, he only managed to finish in P19. Same story on Sunday for the Feature Race: after a good start, an opponent car hit him in the back of his Dallara and damaged his suspension, forcing him to retire.
Ayrton Simmons, started from P29, showed a good pace too and managed to recover some positions in the Sprint Race, finishing P18 just ahead of Pizzi. In the Feature Race he had an even better pace as he was able to climb up to P15, but then his tyres suffered a performance drop in the last laps and he couldn’t do anything to defend the position, finishing P20.
Similar story for László Tóth, who had a decent pace and gained a few positions in both races starting from the back of the grid. The Hungarian managed to finish P22 in the Sprint Race and was up for a better result in the Feature Race, but a messy restart after a safety car neutralization got him in a bad positions and a couple contacts forced him back to P24.
The Czech team will now head into April with a double testing session scheduled on Spanish soil (April 05-06 at Jerez de la Frontera and April 15-16 at Barcelona) before the second race weekend of the season, which will be held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola on April 22-24.
Antonín Charouz, team owner
“Not the weekend we where hoping for, but still we can look at the next rounds with confidence. The drivers had some problems during the qualifying session but did their best in the two races gaining some positions and showing that the pace was actually there, and this gives us motivation for the next round at Imola. We know where we have to improve and the testing sessions in Spain will be very helpful to right all wrongs and give László, Ayrton and Francesco the chance to score good results in the rest of the season”.
“Honestly, Friday was a difficult day for me and I was quite disappointed with myself, then in the Sprint Race I managed to gain a few positions and the pace was quite good. Today I had a decent start and made quite a lot of positions but sadly, after a safety car restart, we’ve had contact and I lost a few positions there. Apart from this, the pace was there and we know what to do to improve for the next races”
I was disappointed after qualifying, but Saturday was a positive day. It’s not easy to start from the back of the grid but I made up some places and the car felt quite good. The Feature Race was a very positive race for me as well, we managed to get in P15 up until the last 5 laps. Then the tyres completely fell away and unfortunately we couldn’t maintain our position, but P20 from P26 is still a good progress and I’m looking forward to the tests and to the next round with confidence. I’m sure that we’ll get where we belong”.
“Friday wasn’t an easy day for us, then Saturday I had a contact at the start and I jumped back a few places. After that the pace was ok so we could recover to P19. I got a good start in the Feature Race but unluckily after a few corners I got hit from the back, the contact damaged my suspensions and I couldn’t restart and that was it for the day. Anyway, you learn more from the bad days than from the good days, so we’ll learn from our mistakes and we’ll try to get a better result for the next round”.