Alpine Academy Director Mia Sharizman has heaped praise on both Victor Martins and Caio Collet as the duo attack their first seasons of FIA Formula 3 in 2021.
Both Martins and Collet are racing for MP Motorsport this year having both graduated from Formula Renault Eurocup, and both have shown well at times during the opening four rounds of the season.
Martins started the year with three podium finishes in the opening five races, but his five most recent results have seen him drop away from the top of the standings – he sits seventh heading into this weekend’s round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Collet has also found his way onto the podium twice and sits tenth in the standings.
Sharizman says Martins has shown himself to be a top competitor this season and Alpine have been justified in bringing the Frenchman back into the academy after he was dropped from it – when it was called the Renault Sport Academy – in 2020.
“Victor is the highest placed Rookie in the Championship and by mid-season has cemented our belief in his talent,” said Sharizman. “The season started well for him in Barcelona and Paul Ricard.
“The bar was set so high after his magnificent performances especially in front of his home crowd in France. MP Motorsport worked hard to take a major step up from last year and that shows in the first four rounds of the season.”
Sharizman says Collet’s performances have been impressive, with good one-lap pace and fighting drives through the field bringing him into the top ten in the standings.
“Caio is the second highest placed Rookie in the Championship and the progression together with Victor validates the Academy’s decision to put them together in the same team,” said Sharizman.
“He showed his strong one-lap pace at the Austrian GP and the ability to carve through the field in Paul Ricard, Austraia and Hungary.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Sharizman expects Martins and Collet to work together at MP Motorsport and bring home some more top results, and he believes they will come for both of them across the final three rounds of the year.
“As for Victor and Caio, who are the top two Rookies in the Championship at the moment, the expectation is for them to continue to work together as a pairing and help the team to develop and progress further up the grid,” he said.
“They are in the right team and in the right environment to continue learning. We are confident the results will come for them.”
“I am quite satisfied with my first part of the season” – Victor Martins
For Martins, the Frenchman is relatively satisfied with his performances so far in 2021, although he will be looking to put behind him his poor Hungary weekend, where he failed to score a point in any of the three races.
Martins says he needs to remind himself that he is the leading rookie at this stage of the season, and he has already gained a lot of experience heading into the final three rounds of the year.
“I am quite satisfied with my first part of the season,” said Martins. “The first two races went very well for me. I managed to adapt quickly to the car, to the weekend format and to handling fights in the races.
“These are completely different elements from when I have known in the past, especially in Formula Renault. I have big ambitions, so of course I cannot be satisfied with my poor performances in Hungary.
“But I prefer to keep a positive attitude and tell myself that I am the first rookie in the championship. Thanks to these first four races, I have already gained a lot of experience.”
Martins is looking to take each race at it comes across the remainder of the season, and he is not thinking about taking the title. He currently sits eighty-six points behind runaway leader Dennis Hauger.
“I’m going to take it race by race without thinking about the championship,” said the Frenchman. “This is how I get the best results. Of course, I will continue to work hard to get the most out of the car and especially enjoy my time behind the wheel.
“It’s important, we have only three race weekends left, including the one at home for the team in Zandvoort. I’m already looking forward to being there and somehow reliving what I experienced at Paul Ricard, with all the support from the public that supported me throughout the weekend.”
“I think the season so far has been a little bit up-and-down” – Caio Collet
Collet feels his season has been a bit up-and down, with podiums at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Circuit Paul Ricard, but also seven races where he has failed to score.
“I think the season so far has been a little bit up-and-down,” said Collet. “We started off well in the first round, points in every race and quiet strong pace. We were improving all the time, especially in Qualifying.
“We fought for pole in Paul Ricard and Austria. We then had some unfortunate races in both of those rounds. As I said, things have been a mix of highs and lows, which is to be expected in a rookie season. We are working really hard to keeping developing.
“Every round we can see improvements from either the team or I, which is really positive. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Collet says he is looking to turn his season around with strong performances across the final three races of the year, putting behind him the results of the three races at the Hungaroring where he failed to score.
“For the last three rounds, we need to be more consistent because the last two race weekends have definitely been disappointing,” said the Brazilian. “We were fighting for good places in the Feature Races and Qualifying.
“We need to have clear weekends with points in every race and fight for podiums like we did in the opening round, but with some improvements. That’s what I’m aiming for. Let’s see what we did wrong and work on it and do our best to fight for wins.”