Petr Ptacek Jr is aiming for overall podiums when the Italian F4 Championship resumes at Monza this weekend (2-3 June).
The 15-year-old heads to the home of the Italian Grand Prix on a high after securing his first Rookie Cup win and four other class podiums at the first two events of the 2018 season.
“I’m feeling calm ahead of this weekend,” Petr explained. “I’m ready to race the best I can. We showed at Adria and Paul Ricard that the team can be on top and battle in the top five.
“Monza isn’t the best track for me, but my aim is to get on the podium. I have had a number of rookie podiums already so the next target has to be overall podiums.”
Petr heads to the 5.79km circuit at a slight disadvantage compared to his rivals – the majority of whom raced at Monza last year. The BhaiTech Racing driver has only had a single day of testing at the high-speed track in his Tatuus-Abarth F4 car, and that was hampered by engine issues.
“I’ve only done a day of testing at Monza and that wasn’t a full day of driving because of engine issues which affected the car’s top speed. That wasn’t the best preparation for the weekend,” he explained.
Like the previous round at Paul Ricard, slipstreaming will be crucial to a successful qualifying in Monza with a strong tow the difference between claiming or missing pole. Last year, the difference between first and second was just 0.042sec.
Petr said: “The slipstream is vital. Last year’s pole sitter was from my team so I know how important the extra speed is at the end of the straights. If you get a good tow, two or three-tenths of a second is enough to claim pole.”
Monza also gives Petr the opportunity to push up the drivers’ standings. He is currently P11 out of 31 entries in the overall championship, and second in the Rookie Cup – just 35 points behind the leader with 75 available at Monza.
He is optimistic that his driving style will suit the requirements of the park-based circuit and allow him to push for the podiums and points he wants.
“I don’t have to change my driving style for Monza. The main focus for me is on the brakes going into the corner and getting back on the gas as quickly as possible so I can get as much speed as possible on the straights,” the Corum Watches-backed driver said.
“I think the Ascari Chicane and the Parabolica are going to be key corners, if you don’t get those right you can lose a lot of time.”
Petr will tackle a trio of F4 races this weekend, the first is on Saturday afternoon with the latter two races taking place on Sunday.