Interview with Matias Zagazeta – Formula 3’s first Peruvian driver?

FREC driver Matias Zagazeta - F3 Testing

With the 2023 Formula 3 season approaching, I had the opportunity to converse with Peruvian driver Matias Zagazeta about his post-season test.

Currently racing in the Formula Regional European Championship (FREC), and sitting thirty-third in the standings, nineteen-year-old Matias Zagazeta hasn’t had much opportunity to display his talents. Having finished vice-champion in the 2021 British Formula 4 championship, Zagazeta joined G4-Racing for the 2022 FREC season. Two weeks before the Formula 3 post-season testing began, Charouz Racing asked Zagazeta to represent them in Jerez, Spain.

“I found out about it two weeks before the test began. My initial reaction was just as if I had another normal test day and I had to prepare as much as possible for it, but it started hitting me that I was having the opportunity to drive a FIA F3 car and I started to get more excited.”

As part of preparation Zagazeta, along with other drivers, took part in ‘a bit of a golf masterclass’ and spent Day 1 of testing on the pit wall, listening to the radio.

The F3 Audition

Zagazeta described his experience in an F3 car as ‘unique’ but admits it was ‘easy to adapt to the car’. He complimented Charouz for their ability to prepare him for his first day, which was actually the second day of testing. Explaining the difference between an F3 car and an FREC car, Zagazeta stated:

“The main differences, of course, are that the Formula 3 car has a lot more horsepower and a lot more aero. The main difference was in high speed corners where you can use a lot more aero than in the Formula Regional, and also the driving style is a little bit more different but not a very big change. Another big difference was the race runs and looking after tyres, with a lot more power, especially looking after the rear tyres, they can get a beating if you don’t manage them well towards the end.”

This is the second time I have had the opportunity to interview Zagazeta. In our first interview, he candidly revealed the loneliness he felt while racing in the British F4 Championship, especially in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally from Lima, Peru, Zagazeta now lives in Barcelona while he races for Barcelona-based team G4-racing. Unlike in F4, many of his FREC colleagues also participated in the post-season test. An experience he said felt “amazing for me as they are really some of the only friends that I have in Barcelona. It’s nice to have some people to talk to where we’re all in the same environment and understand each other.”

Following the test, Charouz were ‘happy’ with his performance, especially as Zagazeta was their first driver to enter the top ten in the final session. With drivers now being announced for the 2023 season, will Zagazeta be on that list?

Featured Image Credit: FREC Media