Fabio Scherer’s determination to end his FIA Formula 3 Championship campaign on a high was scuppered by cruel luck in both races at Sochi Autodrom…/Read
Fabio Scherer came away with one point and plenty of valuable experience from a tough FIA F3 European Championship event at the famous Norisring circuit in Germany this weekend.
The Swiss racing driver, who is in his first year of F3 with the Motopark team, finished all three races around the short, fast and bumpy street course, setting the fastest lap of the race in the third event.
The 19-year-old’s campaign started brightly in free practice when he fired his Dallara-Volkswagen to the third-fastest lap time around the 2.3km track, but he was not able to repeat the feat in qualifying for race one.
“For qualifying, the circuit was wet but began to dry out,” Fabio said. “On my fastest lap I was pushing hard and lost traction after touching a white line at the last corner. I ended up P11, which was a shame because the chance to qualify at the front was there.”
On the warm-up lap for the first race of the weekend, Fabio struggled with overheating brakes, an issue that affected his start procedure.
“The combination of a low-downforce car set-up and heavy braking zones around this circuit puts a lot of stress on the brakes, so you have to be very careful not to overheat them,” he explained.
“On the warm-up lap I went through the same preparation procedure as I do at other circuits, but by the time we got to the grid, the brakes were already overheating and when I was getting ready for the start, the car started to roll forwards.”
Fabio was deemed by race officials to have jumped the start and had to serve a drive-through penalty that dropped him to P19.
He tried to make amends in qualifying for race two and three, but missed out in the dying moments of the session.
“I was P1 with about six or seven minutes of the session left to go, but I struggled with tyre management and couldn’t improve at the point when the other drivers were going faster. In the end I lined up P14 and P12, despite being just 0.2sec away from pole position,” he said.
Fabio made good progress to overtake several drivers and finish P10 in race two. At the start of race three, though, he had a problem getting off the line cleanly. He finished P16, but also set the fastest lap of the race, highlighting his ability to run at the same pace as the race leaders.
“I have already shown that I have the speed, but I have to put a lot of focus on my race strategy,” Fabio explained. “I need to follow a strict programme to move forward to the front.”
With nine F3 races completed, Fabio is P16 in the points standings and P6 in the separate championship for rookie drivers.
Looking ahead, Fabio is optimistic that the next circuit on the calendar, the Dutch seaside circuit of Zandvoort (14-15 July), will suit his driving style.
“It is an old-school track that is very cool to drive – it will be a really good challenge,” he said.