Motorsport Memories with Max Marzorati

An illustration of Max Marzorati's F3 car

Max Marzorati, a British Formula 3 driver, is the latest sporting name to take a look back at their favourite Motorsport Memories.

You can read the rising star’s recollections of his fledging career or listen to them by clicking play on the embedded video below.

Third favourite memory – 2017 Renault Clio Cup race win at Pembrey after epic battle with Jack Young

Max Marzorati crossing the line first in the Renault Clio Cup

It was my first year in car racing when I did the Renault Clio Cup junior series. Although I did win on my debut that’s not actually the prominent memory in my mind that’s standout for me. The standout one was my third win of that season at the Pembrey circuit in Wales.

It was getting to that end of the championship, it was like the third last race, and it was me against another driver (Jack Young) and we were the championship contenders. We basically had this really good battle from the start of the race until the end of the race for the lead. You see it with the Ginetta juniors, it was a junior championship (too) so it was a really big scrap. Little bits of contact, but nothing serious – we were using the doors. It was just really, really good fun.

I came out on top and won that race and it was just so rewarding to go through a battle like that with someone who, not only you’re fighting for the lead, you’re fighting for the championship lead with, and to come out on top. After the race there wasn’t a hostility between us, we got out, we hugged each other because it was such a really good fun scrap that had literally lasted the entire of this race. It was brilliant, I loved it.

Second favourite memory – Qualifying on the front row at the 2019 Formula Ford Festival

Max Marzorati in Formula Ford Festival action.

The Formula Ford Festival is a big competition held right at the end of the year, always at Brands Hatch, where basically everyone from around the world who is competing in Formula Ford (comes together).

It’s a championship that’s similar to Formula Four, if you know that. It’s a championship normally out of karting and it’s like a first sort of step in single seaters. It doesn’t have slick tyres so you don’t have as much grip as you would have in a normal Formula Four and you don’t have wings either. The car all relies on the mechanical grip so it’s sliding about a lot, you’re constantly dancing it, it’s quite nice. It’s really good fun.

When you watch the racing it’s good as well because there’s no aero(dynamics). When you watch Formula 1, for example, when they get close to each other behind they have what they call dirty air. It starts to get hard to follow the car in front because you lose that front aero so you’re losing the grip on the car if you’re the car behind. In Formula Ford there’s no wings so you don’t have that. You get the benefit of the slipstream and you don’t have that downside of when you’re going through the corner you have the wash of dirty air. It means racing wise you have a 20-car train for the lead and it’s just a really fun formula to be in.

The festival is where everyone from around the world who has been competing in the national championships normally come to. For me this memory stands out a lot, the qualifying of the festival. In the races there’s a little bit of luck in it as well, someone gets taken out or you get taken out or you have an engine issue or whatever it is. For qualifying you just go out and try and set the fastest lap time. You can still have a little bit of bad luck, you might have an engine leak or something like that, but majority wise a lot of the time you have to set one fast lap to qualify on the grid, not do 30 consistent laps, just one good lap.

‘He’s a driver of extreme calibre’

The whole qualifying I just felt very much in the rhythm with the car. We went straight out of the blocks and immediately I was pushing it. I could tell we were quick with the other cars around us. On the pit board we were constantly top five. There was a red flag, because there was an incident, so we were all sitting in the pits and you have that like anticipation build up again before you go out; if you’re going to go out, if you’re going to drop back or if you can find more time or what’s going to happen. Basically I went out and slotted behind two cars that I knew were quite quick. As I said before, because the way the cars are made, there is quite a slipstream effect with them. So I sat behind them and got their slipstream which, with the lap I did, put me second on the front row of the festival.

To be qualifying on the front row of an event like that, especially because there’s so many competitors as there were over 70 competitors the year I did it. It meant they were having to put everyone into groups and the group I was in was this extremely hard group. The car alongside me was Joey Foster who raced Formula 3 against Nico Hulkenberg. He was, I think, leading the championship until he had an accident that injured his back which took him a while to recover. He’s a driver of extreme calibre – he also taught George Russell, Nick Cassidy, top-line drivers. This is no bad driver to be starting alongside.The other people in the heat, the champion the year before (Joshua Smith), he was down in eighth, 10th or 11th, somewhere like that. To give an idea of how competitive it would be the New Zealand champion (Jordan Michels) was in the heat, one of the American scholarship drivers was in the heat. It was this really competitive grid, to then go out and qualify where it’s all about your outright pace in one lap. To then pull it second, alongside someone like Joey Foster, it was just a fantastic moment.

Favourite memory – Driving a Formula 3 car for the first time in 2020

It would have to be driving a (British) Formula 3 for the first time. It was like a childhood dream in itself. I know it’s quite weird because people (usually say that) when they get to Formula 1. But when I was growing up as a kid, especially as a young teen, as soon as I got home from school I was always watching racing videos. I just loved it. Every moment of the day was just racing, racing, racing, racing, racing.

When I was 13, 14 and at school, I’d be watching Formula 1 like everyone, but I was also watching Formula 3 a lot. The years where I was watching F3, George Russell was in it, (Antonio) Giovinazzi was in it that year, Charles Leclerc. I think Jake Dennis was as well in that year, I think Felix Rosenqvist won it that year. It was this really competitive grid and I was watching it and knew that is where you need to be to make a name for yourself. That’s where they all sort of got to and you’ve seen what they’ve gone on to do. I think (Callum) Ilott as well was actually in it that year. It was such a competitive grid. I was watching it at 14 going: ‘Wow, this is so amazing. All these early 20, late teen, drivers in this series trying to prove themselves.’ So the racing was obviously close, it was very intense racing, really good battles, all trying to prove to get to Formula 1 and that’s where you needed to be.

When I had that first day in a Formula 3 there was a lot of gratitude as well because it was halfway through the year and we’d obviously had the pandemic. I was so grateful to be in the position to be in a race car, let alone a Formula 3, with everything that was going on. There were some people out there who had been having some really, really hard times. I was just so grateful to have this opportunity to be able to drive it.

‘It was just absolutely insane’

It met all my expectations and more. Going out that first time, driving this car that’s got all this power in it and has these wings. As a kid you look at these cars and go ‘oh that’s so cool’. To actually be sitting in it and driving out of the pit lane and hitting the pit limiter button and suddenly all of this power kicked in. Going from what I was used to with Formula Ford, which doesn’t have that much power, to Formula 3 where you have all this power with these big wings and slick tyres. It was just absolutely insane, it was just so fast.

Turn one at Snetterton is quite a tight corner and it’s taken at like 130mph and it’s flat out. You literally have to keep your foot pinned to the floor. I remember the first time going through it I was like ‘there’s no way this is flat out’. It was just so quick and it was so unexpected because, as well, I hadn’t driven a car for eight months because of the pandemic. This was my first day back in the car after an eight-month break and I remember coming through that turn one thinking ‘there’s no way this is flat (out)’. 

By the end of the day you get back into the groove, all the rustiness shakes off, your eyes are back in and I could do it. But it took me a while to get used to how quick this car was and get used to how the aero worked because compared to a Formula Ford, where there isn’t the aero and you have to drive mechanically. To then have aero it takes a little bit of time getting used to how to drive it that little bit differently in the high-speed corners to maximise the aero and actually understand the aero.

It was just such an incredible experience and that first day especially, because it was a childhood dream. I’d be watching these drivers drive these cars and then to actually be sitting in the seat myself and doing it, and preparing to do a race in a Formula 3, was absolutely phenomenal.

Max Marzorati is all smiles

Photo credits (in order): Jakob Ebrey, Gary Feger, Submitted, Submitted

Max Marzorati joins Nigel Pearson, Jessica Hawkins, Lewis Kerr, Carl Fogarty, Callum Ilott and Niels-Kristian Iversen in sharing their Motorsport Memories with Adrian Flux. Is there anyone you would like to hear from in the future? Email your suggestions to [email protected] 

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