Australian Alex Peroni made headlines for the wrong reasons in 2019 as he took to the skies inadvertently in a horror crash at Monza which saw him miss the remainder of the season.
2020 marks his return to the track and he marked it with a brilliant weekend in Austria, capped off by his first podium finish in FIA Formula 3.
Peroni started the first race of the season from eighth but a good opening lap and daring moves throughout the race ended in him bringing home his Campos Racing machine in a career-best third.
The Spanish team struggled somewhat in 2019 but this is a sign that things may well be different this year.
Peroni said: “Qualy wasn’t ideal – I felt that we had the pace for fifth or fourth, but we paid the price for some small mistakes,” he said. “In race 1 my car was very quick in the first half, but the rear tyres lost grip as the race went on so I had to focus on defending my position instead of attacking the driver ahead.
“I felt that third place was the best I could have achieved from where I started. I was so happy to be on the podium and set the fastest race lap for the first time in FIA Formula 3, especially in the first race of this season!”
After such a good start, it was a shame that he was forced to retire from the weekend’s second race when running in eighth.
He said: “Today (Sunday) my car had what looks like a battery problem. There were warning signs at the corner before, with the DRS not working and some weird gear changes, and then the whole car shut down.
“It was disappointing, as I was on target for more points, but these things happen. We’ll investigate the cause, and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
“Overall it was a pretty decent start to the series,” he said. “It’s been a long wait since Monza, and then the extra delay because of the pandemic, but Campos Racing has done an incredible job to give me a car with the speed to compete at the front.
“I’m so pleased for everyone who’s supported me, even through some dark times last year. It feels good, but it’s only the first round and there’s a lot of racing to come.
“I’m already looking forward to round 2 here next weekend.”