PREMA Racing posted a podium finish and valuable points in the fourth round of the 2023 F1 Academy series at Zandvoort. Lining up at the twisty Dutch circuit, the team maximized its score on a weekend when it was not possible to bring home wins.
Marta Garcia was fighting for a spot on the podium in race 1 when a fuel pump issue stopped her car for good. The Spaniard rebounded with a blistering start in race 2 when she quickly moved to third place and eventually gained one more position to P2 at the end. A fourth place in race 3 then wrapped up her weekend.
Bianca Bustamante made great steps at her first run at Zandvoort. The racer from the Philippines constantly improved throughout the weekend as she claimed three points finishes. After rounding out the top 10 in race 1, she ended up P8 in race 2 and eventually made it to the top 5 in race 3.
Chloe Chong was called to a difficult task, having to deal with one of the toughest tracks for a rookie. Session by session, she improved her pace and even got close to the points in race 3 with P11.
#14 CHLOE CHONG
“A bit of a difficult weekend for us. It was hard to play catch up when many of the girls have quite a lot of experience here. A bit tough for us, but in every race we are always making progress, and I’m quite happy with that. The positive to take away is that we kept improving the pace, chipping away, and closing the gap with the leaders. Actually, throughout the whole group, there was some very close racing. In race 2 there were six seconds covering us all, and that shows just how competitive it is. I’m really happy to gain more experience, and I’m looking forward to our home race in Monza.”
#15 MARTA GARCIA
“A good weekend for us. We were P4 in both qualifying sessions. In race 1 I had a good start, and I was third behind the P2 car, but we had a technical issue which took us out of the points. It’s a bit of a shame, but things like these can happen sometimes. We started from the reverse grid for race 2 in P5, and I had a great start on the outside to take P3. After that, we had some safety cars, and I was up to P2. I tried to do my best to fight for the win, but that was not possible and we were still really happy with second place. I had a good start again from P4 in the third race, but not enough to gain positions. I was struggling a bit with the pace, and it’s quite difficult to overtake on this track, but we had a safety car again, but it was not possible to get a podium. It was a bit of a rough weekend for us as we didn’t have much track time. However, we got to the podium, scored some points for the championship, and now we have to focus on Monza, which is the next race in two weeks.”
#16 BIANCA BUSTAMANTE
“I think we can really highlight our tenacity. Coming to an event where we didn’t have a lot of track time, being the first time for me at Zandvoort, which is a very technical track, I was really put under pressure. We found a very good pace in practice and improved right away. We were there with even a P5 in FP2, but we couldn’t achieve the results we wanted in qualifying. Every race, we needed to keep making steps up and we did. It was also evident that I had to improve as a driver. Sector 1 was my weakest point during the weekend, and I would lose out despite setting great sector 2 and 3 times, so it was always like a rubber band. I struggled to deal with unconventional corners like turn 3 with the high banking. It was my lack of experience shining through, not having tried corners like that before. I have so much to learn and I think I did it this weekend, with a quite decent race 3, finishing in P5. As a team, we had to go through a lot of hurdles and moments when the team morale was down, but in the end, you have to keep fighting. All the fans that came to support us made it a lot more memorable and wholesome. We had so many PREMA banners all around the track, and even if we were in Zandvoort, it was more like a home race. Still, we have a lot to learn and we will focus on that for Monza. We are really hungry to be back at the front fighting.”