Formula 3W Series

Pulling, Al Qubasi, Chambers and Marti complete two-day Formula 3 test in Magny-Cours

4 Mins read
Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

Four female drivers have completed a two-day test in FIA Formula 3 machinery at former Grand Prix track Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, France.

 On the first day of the FIA Formula 3 test, Friday 16 September, Abbi Pulling and Hamada Al Qubaisi took to the track.

Each driver was provided with three sets of slick Pirelli tyres for the test, while F3 champion Victor Martins served as a coach and reference driver, joined by Magny-Cours racing School instructor Julien Guilbert.

The morning session got underway with Martins setting a reference lap time for the two drivers who were new to the machinery, and soon enough Pulling and Al Qubaisi took the track, where the goal was to get comfortable with the Formula 3 machinery.

The afternoon session was a more intense session made up of two qualifying runs followed by a race simulation of twelve laps, on race set-up and high fuel loads. 

The day came to an end with data analysis, and the drivers completed fifty laps on day one of testing at Magny-Cours.

Pulling was happy with her test, “There was a lot to learn today, not only about the car, but also about myself. I came here with a big smile on my face. I really enjoyed it a lot. It’s been really amazing to work with the F3 team. It’s been a productive day.

“The tyre warm-up procedure is quite different from what I am used to. The tyre degradation, in the morning, after the few short runs we did, you could feel it creeping in. It gave you an idea going into the race simulation how the car would react and how to drive around it. The biggest challenge for me was the aero, the downforce is massive. To get your head around it at first was a lot. Once you realise that when you go faster actually you get more grip, it’s better. It was the biggest thing to adapt to, getting the confidence to not put your feet off the throttle and just keep it in really, especially entering the fast chicanes, to get the aero to work, you have to turn in flat. It’s different from what I am used to.

“The thing I liked the most about the car was the braking. I like the brakes! You can really put your whole body behind it and the car really stops. I learned so many things from this test to take away, more than anything I’ve probably ever learned. I want to take that with me for the future and to hopefully be in the Championship one day

“Victor was really helpful, even with the little things. He guided me on the race run, he told me to just go for it, that the tyre degradation won’t be as much as I thought it would be. When I was hesitant in the high-speed corners, he told me to trust it. I know him fairly well from the Alpine Academy, so it’s been really nice to have his support today.”

FIA Formula 3 Technical Director Didier Perrin added, “Abbi and Hamda did a great job. They adapted quickly to the car and its challenges. They were able to give us some valuable feedback. They were very eager to learn as much as possible, and it’s been a pleasure to work with both.”

Day 2 – Chambers and Marti step up

Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

Day two followed an identical structure on, but this time it would be Chloe Chambers and Nerea Marti’s turn to step into the Formula 3 machinery.

Both drivers once again completed fifty laps of the track, made up of practice runs, qualifying laps and race simulated laps.

Hamada Al Qubaisi commented on her experience on the track, “Honestly, it’s been such an amazing experience. I want to thank everyone who made this possible… The first outing, I was shocked with the speed and the downforce.

“I am amazed how it works. Step by step, I was getting more confident in the car, I tried to improve my laps and my driving. I’m really happy with how the day went. I think it is a really good step forward, and I had a really good feeling with the car.

“I think for the future, this test will help a lot. This is a taste of what an FIA F3 car is. To have this feeling is important for my future. If I am to step up to this Championship, I would say today really helped me a lot.”

Chambers was also impressed with the car and the sessions, “It went pretty well. I definitely learned a lot, I made some improvements, and it was good to just experience this, especially in a car that’s so different to everything else I’ve driven. It was good to get a taste of it.

“The most challenging thing was trusting the grip of the car. I’ve never driven a car with this much downforce and these soft tyres, especially compared to the W Series car, there are huge differences in how much lateral load you can put onto the tyres. That’s something that I need some time to get used to. It was very enjoyable to drive this car. I’ve enjoyed the team and everybody a lot. The car is just so incredible to drive. It’s definitely a big step-up, but obviously, it’s going to help me in the long run.

“It was very beneficial to have Victor here. He’s the reigning Champion so he’s proven to have a lot of speed and knowledge. That showed when he helped coach us. I’ve definitely taken along his advice and hopefully, I will be able to apply it into my other racing in W Series.”

Perrin added, “It’s been another positive day. Both Chloe and Nerea were very focused on the job, and they made the most out of this test. We can already see how beneficial it has been for them, but also for Abbi Pulling and Hamda Al Qubaisi.

“It was very important for us to get all four drivers’ feedback on the car, their feeling at the wheel, and what we need to consider in order to improve it even further.”

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