Dean Smith has ended the inaugural season of the GP3 Series seventh overall in the standings, after enduring a difficult final weekend at Monza.
The 22-year-old Wolverhampton racer made a strong start to his weekend, setting the fifth quickest time in Friday practice. However, the 2009 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner suffered with problems with the balance of his Carlin car in qualifying, and found himself starting down in 26th for the first race. He then had to retire from that race early on after stalling on the grid and being clipped by Alexander Rossi, bending his suspension.
Smith, who is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, was able to make progress through the field in the second race, eventually finishing in 16th place.
“It's been shockingly bad all weekend, other than testing on Friday we were really slow and couldn't get the car to handle well”, said Dean, “It's been a disappointing end to the season but in terms of my final championship position, it's not all that bad considering the problems we've had I suppose.”
Although he finished as the top British driver in the standings, Smith had a mixed season, the highlight of which was a single podium finish at the Hungaroring. Speaking after the Monza season finale, Dean indicated that he had wanted more from the season after a fantastic 2009, but was also thankful to for the opportunity that was presented to him when Racing Steps Foundation joined together with driver management company Tomax to secure Dean his place in GP3 shortly before the start of the season.
“We've definitely had more than our fair share of issues and bad luck this year”, he added, “It's not been the season we wanted, especially after such a strong 2009 winning Formula Renault UK and the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, but we just need to focus now on 2011. It's been good to race in GP3 this year though – thanks as always to the Racing Steps Foundation and Tomax.”