Motorsport William Alatalo took a step that has failed for most due to lack of money

William Alatalo from Ilmajoki fills a gap that has been in Finnish motorsport for a few years. He will compete this season in the official F3 series of the International Motorsport Federation (FIA).

19 years old William Alatalo attends Kuortane’s sports high school, and her undergraduate writings should be this spring. However, there is a small problem with participation in writing.

“The writings are at the same time I am in Bahrain.”

The reason for going to Bahrain is that Alatalo signed an agreement with the Swiss team Jenzer Motorsport in February to drive in the F3 series of the International Federation of Motorsports (FIA), which is the number one series of F3 formula cars. For example, several current F1 drivers have driven in their careers in that series.

The Finns have driven in the Fia F3 series for the last time in the 2019 season, when Niko Kari was 12th and Simo Laaksonen 23: s. Because the series is expensive to drive, few motorists will switch to it.

The 2022 season of the nine race weekends begins with the Bahrain race on 20-22. March, ie in connection with the F1 race, but before that there are test runs. Alatalo left for Bahrain on Friday and will not return until after the race, ie the trip will take three and a half weeks.

Alatalo also drove an F3 car last season, but it was in the lower level Formula Regional series. The season did not go quite as expected.

“The start was difficult and the first races went to my peak. After that, a little more momentum was found and one podium came [kolmas sija]. However, the rest of the season was tricky and nothing went wrong. Something was missing from the car, and it was kind of just a fight. There will only be a bad mood if you think about the last races, ”Alatalo says by phone.

Now there is an upcoming season in the Fia F3 series in mind. The deal was born just a couple of weeks ago, but it was paved for a long time.

“I tested in early November in Valencia and even later in December in Barcelona. The more I drove, the better it started to go, ”says Alatalo.

After testing, there were negotiations with the stable and the details of the contract were rubbed.

“We have now finally reached an agreement and reached an agreement.”

Because it’s about motorsport and still the number one set of F3 formulas, money plays a big part in the deal.

“There is talk of hundreds of thousands of euros. F3 has always been an expensive series and still is, despite attempts to get budgets down. There have not been many successes, ”says Alatalo.

“It’s unfortunate, but I’ve chosen this sport. Big budgets just belong here. ”

In fact, Alatalo was already aiming for a place in Fia F3 last season, but then the budget was enough for a slightly lower series, Formula Regional.

How was the funding organized now?

“The family puts in a lot of money. If there were more supporters, it would make it easier for your own family, but what does this do for you. ”

The low-rise company KallioBetoni Oy delivers crushed rock and concrete to the Seinäjoki economic area.

On top of all that, the funding Alatalo receives is so small that this brings its own challenges to the beginning of the season.

“In fact, you would need even more money if you wanted to test the F3 a little more and prepare better for the season.”

Alatalon team Jenzer is not the top team in the F3 series: last season it was ninth in team points.

Alatalo emphasizes that the stable has done the groundwork carefully during the season and is ready for the opening of the season, but she does not promise any great success.

“Bahrain is not going to get the top spot. However, the team’s investment is lower than that of the top teams. ”

Alatalo will be happy if the ranking is in the top twelve.

It will be very important to finish in the top 12 in time, because then you will get a good starting position for Saturday’s sprint race (40 minutes plus one round): those who finish in places 1–12 in time will start in the reverse order.

Sunday’s main race (45 minutes plus one lap) will start in chronological order.

In both races, the top ten get points, but in a sprint race, the points are divided from ten to one, while in the main race the points are distributed in the same way as in the F1 race: 25 points for the winner, 18 for the runner-up and so on.

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Alatalo emphasizes that in competitions, you have to be careful with the tires in order to be successful.

“For drivers who know how to save a tire, the final laps are a little faster. You can’t skate much in the first rounds. If the tires once overheat, the grip is completely lost. ”

William Alatalo drove Jenzer Motorsport’s F3 car for the first time last November on the Valencia track.

Jenzer stable the best known driver has been the current F1 driver Yuki Tsunodawho finished ninth in the team colors in 2019.

“If I were in the same place, the path would be pretty good, but my career isn’t being supported by Red Bull and Honda. That, too, creates challenges. It should almost be more successful to have more on display, ”Alatalo reflects.

His goal is to drive in a year or two in the F2 series and eventually in F1, but he’s not thinking about these right now.

“I’m just trying to focus on this season now and make it my best season.”

Oman his interest in the season is brought by Alatalo’s teammate, an Israeli Ido Cohenwhich begins its second season in the Fia F3 series.

Cohen is already familiar to Alatalo, as the duo were in the same winter in the 2018 Italian F4 series.

“He’s a bit of a special person,” Alatalo begins and continues with a longer explanation:

“He’s a weird guy with little to no worries and who sometimes drives like crazy. He is not afraid of anything and will drive a car like there would be tomorrow. He tries his best, but at least when I drove with him, there were a lot of mistakes. Of course it can be different now. ”

In the F3 series, stables usually have three drivers. Jenzer has not yet announced who will drive the third car in the stable.

“Driving on F3 is icy.”

When formula driving is expensive and the chances of success are affected by many things, what makes a young man motivated from season to season?

The answer comes as From Kimi Räikkönenwhich Alatalo considers to be its role model.

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“Very simply, I just like to drive, especially races.”

Alatalo further clarifies his answer.

“You don’t get that feeling for anything other than driving a formula. The cornering speeds are quite different from any other car. ”

When Alatalo gets up to speed, more will follow.

“Racing and at the limit [täysillä] driving – it makes driving fun. It feels really good all the time. Driving on F3 is icy. ”

The Fia F3 series also has a big difference from the Formula Regional series in that it uses drs, ie an adjustable rear wing. This makes it easier to bypass the track in drs areas.

“We’ll soon see how good the race is.”

Regional formula season ended last fall. Since then, Alatalo has spent numerous hours and days driving the simulator and doing both physical and mental exercises.

“Scaffolding, badminton and basketball. Even more important are exercises related to concentration, reaction speed and balance. ”

Attention must also be paid to muscle strength, as driving is heavy, especially on the neck and hands.

“There is no power steering. At first, it feels heavy, but it gets used to it quickly, ”says Alatalo.

Then there’s that high school.

“I haven’t focused much on school for three or four weeks now … What does it do for me? Kait I can write in the fall, but I haven’t talked much with teachers either. It’s a little halfway. I will think about this later. ”

Are school books included on a trip to Bahrain?

“Books are not included. It’s one hundred percent focus on driving. ”

The F3 season begins on the 20th and 22nd. March in Bahrain. Viaplay shows all the races of the season.

William Alatalo

William Alatalo will drive this season in the Fia F3 series.

  • A 19-year-old motorist from Ilmajoki. Father Finnish, mother Ethiopian.

  • Ridden in several different formulas since 2017, before karting since 2009.

  • Finished eighth in the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2020. In races, one second place and one third place.

  • In 2021, the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine ranked 11th. Third place once in the competitions.

  • Kimi Räikkönen as a role model: “The head is always kept cold when there is a need and can be matter-of-fact.”

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