Anthoine Hubert is looking for wins and a potential championship challenge as he moves into the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2016 with Van Amersfoort Racing after stepping up from Formula Renault 2.0.
The Frenchman was a championship contender in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series in 2016 with Tech 1 Racing, and also a multiple race winner in Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS, and felt he learned a lot last season that will do him good for the future.
“Overall it was a good season,” revealed Hubert to The Checkered Flag. “We have always been fighting in the front and I finished on the podium in every meeting except Eurocup at Budapest.
“Unfortunately we didn’t reach our initial target, which was to win Eurocup, but it was an interesting season with many fights with good drivers and a really close finish so I learnt a lot.”
Hubert says both the positive and negative situations he found himself in during his time in Formula Renault 2.0 will bode well for him in European Formula 3. He also took time to thank his former team Tech 1 Racing for giving him the opportunity to race for two years in the series.
“Our wins gave me confidence and I’m sure it’s necessary to have a lot of confidence before starting a difficult championship like Formula 3,” insisted Hubert. “We also had some low points but we always showed that we were able to be back on top straight after which is, in my opinion, something really important.
“For example, in Jerez Eurocup finale, we had a very bad Saturday due to a strategy mistake in qualifying session that ruined the day and made us lose our chances to be champion. But, the following day, we qualified on pole of the group by 0.7 sec and finished second in the race with the fastest lap!
“I spent two years with the Tech1 family and I really want to thank them for that. They made me grow up and supported me even during the hard times. We achieved good things together last season and I wish them good luck for the upcoming seasons but no doubt they’ll do well.”
Hubert believes stepping up into European Formula 3 was a logical move despite having interests in both the GP3 Series and Formula V8 3.5 for 2016, but the lure of Van Amersfoort Racing was enough to convince the Frenchman to switch to the series.
“After Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3 was a logical move,” said Hubert. “Van Amersfoort Racing is a historical team and has been fighting on top of European Formula 3 with rookies in the last 2 years. When I had the first contacts with them, I was straight away really interested and motivated to join their team.
“Formula V8 3.5 has been an option for me. With GP3 and F3, it was one of the three categories I was looking at after my 2015 season. I tested this car at the end of last year with Tech 1 Racing and I really enjoyed driving this incredible car.”
The Frenchman believes the Van Amersfoort Racing line-up is strong in 2016, with the twenty-one-year-old being joined in the team by a trio of seventeen-year-olds in the form of Pedro Piquet, Callum Ilott and Harrison Newey, and Hubert believes the drivers will push each other to bigger and better things.
“We have a strong line up,” insisted Hubert. “This will be good for the team because we push each other to its limits and help the team to go forward faster.
“Of course VAR wants to challenge Prema Powerteam. They were very close to them last years and I think we have the potential for that this season so I’m looking forward to start the championship.
“We saw in the last seasons that the rookies can challenge wins so I’m aiming for the first positions.”
Hubert had doubts about his future in single seaters over the winter, and only agreed his move into Formula 3 late, but still has high hopes for the upcoming season, and is looking to follow in the footsteps of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in winning races in their rookie seasons with Van Amersfoort Racing.
“Because of budget difficulties, I haven’t done many laps during winter,” revealed Hubert. “My first time in F3 was at the end of December and I only drove half a day.
“In 2016 we had the official tests in Vallelunga and a few private tests which helped me to get some experience in the car and to get used to it. Even if I certainly still have a lack of experience in this car compare to the others, I feel ready for the first meeting!
“I’m very grateful to be driving in Formula 3 this season. The winter has been difficult, I wasn’t sure to be able to continue in single-seater and we signed very late, so I want to thank a lot my partners, especially the FFSA and LAMIRAULT Groupe Automobile, for their support without which I wouldn’t be here.
“I want to take this chance and give my best. My first goal is to finish first in the rookie ranking. As we saw with Verstappen or Leclerc, the best rookies can fight for victories and even challenge the title so that’s also my goal.”