Spanish teenager Alex Palou will attack his second season of GP3 Series racing in 2016 with Campos Racing looking to build on what he learned in his maiden season in the championship that saw him take one victory in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The eighteen-year-old had a year of learning in 2015, and failed to score a point until the ninth round of the season in Spa-Francorchamps, but Palou believes everything he learned and experienced last season will bode him well for the forthcoming campaign.
“Our season was really, really hard,” said Palou to The Checkered Flag. “We made up a new team from zero and we developed a car that was new for us competing with other teams with 4 years of experience. So we can say that we had an entertaining season with a lot of up & downs.
“But finally after a hard season we ended up with the victory, so I’m very happy about all the experience that we took from last year’s season because I’m sure that it will benefit us.”
Looking back at the final race of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit, Palou was happy to end the year on the front foot with a victory, and believed it was exactly what the team deserved for all the effort they had put in over the season.
“It was amazing! All what we where dreaming during all the season it came up into reality in Abu Dhabi,” said Palou. “Also was very positive for my team, It was the present for all their hard work.”
Early in the season, Palou was already showing signs of his speed with some excellent qualifying sessions, but he was often undone by the race starts where he would lose ground and fall away from the points-paying positions.
“It was frustrating in Red Bull Ring when I stalled the car starting P3 in the first race, especially because we where coming from a hard race in Barcelona,” said Palou.
“But all that problems that we had in the starts or even during the races were important for me and for the team to get ready for this season!”
Palou also revealed that tyre usage was a problem early on during the races in his rookie season, with the Pirelli tyres often falling off a cliff and losing grip, but the Spaniard was able to improve on this throughout the season.
“That happened because if you degrade a lot the tyres in one lap there is no problem,” added Palou. “The problem comes when you degrade much more than the other drivers but you still have to do 20 laps… but anyway we were improving every race in terms of tyre degradation.”
Palou revealed it was never on the cards for him to leave Campos Racing, having followed the team to the championship in 2015 after racing for them in EuroFormula Open the year before, and insists a championship challenge is what he is aiming for in 2016.
“Well… Always the objective for a new season is to be in the top positions during all the races, so for the moment we are working hard for that,” said Palou.
“I never considered leaving Campos. It will be our third season together and the relationship that we have couldn’t be better. The fact to be in the same team for three seasons is an advantage for all of us – they are my second family!”
Palou knows the importance of having a strong season, especially in front of the Formula 1 fraternity, if he truly wants to compete in F1 in the future. He admits he is training as hard as possible to have the best opportunities to have a breakthrough year.
“Even if to enter Formula 1 nowadays is very difficult, it’s always positive to be in front of them, also because of the sponsors it is important,” said Palou.
“I’m training as hard and as much as I can in order to be ready for this season coming up! I’m very motivated and I feel more than ready for it! It’s always important for me to have a strong season, because I never know if I’ll have the opportunity to continue in motorsport the following season.”