Victorious. A chat with F3 Champion Victor Martins

Victorious. A chat with F3 Champion Victor Martins

It came down to the last race of the season, and some tense moments on the pit wall, but the dust has settled and the Championship is his. A week on from Monza and we’re at Magny-Cours. Victor is here to help with the Women’s F3 test and we caught him for a quick chat..


PF - Victor, congrats! Last weekend was awesome. How does it feel to be the Formula 3 Champion? 

VM - Thank you so much! It’s a big achievement and it feels great.


PF - Can you sum up just how much it means? 

VM - Well, we fought really hard throughout the whole season for the win, and to go until the end was a big challenge. I think it was all in the mindset and how we approached those last few rounds. And in the end, we did it, we won. That means we’re better than the rest and across the whole season the most consistent. So yeah it feels really good.


PF - Are you still on a high?

VM - I mean, I am already thinking of the future and plans for next season but for sure I am still enjoying it and looking back with a big smile on my face. I will try to keep enjoying this one for a while yet and long into my career. The success is mine as well as ART’s (Victor’s team) and it is important to enjoy it. But you’re always thinking of the next step and that next goal you want to reach.


PF - How did you celebrate? I mean we know how you guys celebrated that Sunday night, but for the people that don’t….

VM - Haha well…we had a nice dinner as a team and then I would say we celebrated the way we needed. It was a great night celebrating with my team, my teammates, and also some of the other drivers. 


PF - Tell us how you were feeling on the pit wall during that red flag. It looked pretty crazy, nobody seemed to know what was going on…

VM - Yeah, it was just crazy. I can’t really describe exactly how I was feeling but I was just going through so many emotions. I was happy, then angry, then upset, then stressed, I was everything. I was thinking “no it can’t happen like this”, but then also trying to justify it to myself like “I’ve done my best, I did the job and I deserve it”. It was out of my control so I was trying to think that whatever happens, I will be proud of the team and myself. When it was confirmed and I knew for sure that we had done it, I was so so happy! It was actually a much bigger feeling to have won than I was expecting.


PF - Incredible scenes on the pit lane that day! And apart from winning the championship, do you have a favourite moment or race from the season?

VM - Barcelona was great in terms of performance and scoring points. I think we took the lead in the championship there and I was on a high all weekend. The car was really quick and the whole team was doing a perfect job. Also, Zandvoort was a good one. I love that track, the atmosphere was cool with all the fans! The championship turned around that weekend as I took back the lead. I saw the approach and mindset I needed to take into the last round in Monza. I came back into the fight and it felt great to do that before the last round…


PF - It was crazy that going into Monza there were 7 of you guys still with a chance of becoming champion…

VM - Haha, yeah, it was great for the fans, but not so much for me…


PF - To round it up then, how would you describe your season in 3 words? 

VM - Consistent, strong, and (continuous) improvement.


PF - The other night at dinner you were saying that before you got into karting, you were a gymnast. How did you make the jump from gymnastics to karting? 

VM - It’s a long story, but basically, I had a friend who I did gymnastics with and we went on holiday together to Portugal. His dad was big into motorsport and used to race in Porsche Cup when he was younger. During the holiday we went karting, which for me was the first time I had competitively raced in karts. I had been doing rental karting for fun on random Sundays at the time but not really very seriously. After that holiday I started to take it more seriously…


PF - And you were 13 when you started racing right? That’s later than most…

VM - Yeah, I think I was about 12, but close to 13. I started gymnastics when I was 5 and was doing that until I started karting…


PF - Do you think the strength and discipline you learnt from gymnastics has helped you as a driver?

VM - Yeah definitely, it was a big advantage and even now I’ve never really had any issues in the car physically. From a young age, I was used to training hard for competitions and used to the discipline and routine needed to be successful in sport. Also mentally, I had been in a competitive environment from a young age, at 10 years old I was competing in the French Gymnastics Championship learning how to handle pressure and staying motivated. Which of course has been massively beneficial in my racing career.


PF - So we’re sisters and we work together, and you work alongside your brother Nicolas, how do you find that?

VM - Haha yeah, I think we do it pretty well. For sure there are some intense moments, some, let's say “situations” where we can’t always control our emotions. Sometimes I don’t always listen to him straight away, but when it's your brother telling you things... I mean he knows me, he knows how I approach the weekends, when I’m stressed, when I'm not doing so well, or when I’m not committed... actually no wait I am always committed! But when I'm maybe struggling, he knows. He can be hard on me and very honest with what he has to say, and I can often not agree...


PF - Yeah, totally get that…

VM - So that can lead to some crazy moments. But I guess it’s good that he challenges me and asks me those tough questions. It’s good for me and my well-being. I think with brothers, or sisters you have each other's backs and each other's best interests at heart.


PF - It seems common in racing that siblings work together.

VM - Yeah for sure, I think it's because you know you can trust family. For me, if he wasn’t there I don’t think I could be doing what I’m doing. And he says he wouldn't be doing what he’s doing without me. I would say it's a family affair. It’s good and I will be in this sport with him until the end.


PF - Are there any drivers or athletes that inspire you?

VM - Yeah, there are many. In motorsport, I would say Lewis is for sure someone I look up to. What he’s achieved in motorsport, but also what he is defending outside of the sport is pretty incredible. Also Rafael Nadal and Ronaldo. These kind of people are the greats, they achieve crazy things.


PF - What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

VM - That’s a tough one, I have been given a lot of advice! I would say the most important thing is to always enjoy what you are doing no matter what is happening or whatever situation you may be going through. And even if things are going well don’t get caught up in the moment and think the job is done. Enjoy it, but stay consistent with your emotions and how you see yourself. Don’t think you’re too good, don’t think you’re best. But on the flip side don’t be too hard on yourself when it’s not going so well. Be consistent and enjoy it.


PF - What’s something on your bucket list? 

VM - I would say motocross. It’s a sport I really like but I can’t really do it because it's very easy to get injured. But it's something if I had the chance or in the future, I would do way more of. Also, sky diving would be cool.


PF - Awesome! As we’re here at Magny Cours for the women’s F3 testing just a few questions on that, what have you been up to over the last couple of days? 

VM - My role over the last few days was firstly to set some reference lap times, providing some data for comparison. I have also been acting as a kind of driver coach, trying to offer any advice and share my insight and understanding with the drivers to help them with improving lap times and performance in the cars. 


PF - Why is this F3 test so important for the drivers?

VM - It’s really important for these drivers because if they want to compete in F3 in the future it’s giving them an insight into what they need to do physically and mentally to be successful in the series. It’s important that they enjoy the test as well because as a driver you don’t get this kind of opportunity that often in your career, even for us guys. I really hope at some point in the near future there will be a lot of female drivers in the sport. 


PF - That’s the plan...

VM - You know I have never actually raced against a female driver.


PF - Not even in karting?

VM - Not really, I mean there were a few but not many. Maybe there were in other categories but not in the ones I was racing in. One day I would love to race a female driver. 


PF - We would love to see that… thank you so much for chatting with us Victor, maybe we will see you out in Abu Dhabi!

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