With the start of the 2012 British Formula 3 Championship now less than two weeks away, Exeter-based Harry Tincknell is keen for a return to action.
Whereas the rest of the field busied themselves with their usual off-season training regimes, Tincknell was found locked in recovery mode.
A crash during a private test at Spa-Francorchamps last November left the 20-year-old with a broken knuckle joint in his right hand.
Extensive physiotherapy followed a difficult operation for Tincknell, rendering the winter months a tense period for the Carlin pilot, however the opening tests have shown that Tincknell has lost none of his speed.
“I’ve settled in nicely after a long layoff from the hand injury, but to be back and straight on the pace at the first test after being off for four months, and at some points not knowing whether I would be back at all was really happy with how it was all going.”
Having raced and grabbed one win with the Fortec team in 2011, Tincknell is aiming to make a title charge with the Volkswagen-powered Carlin Motorsports – and he feels he has the car to help him do it.
“I’m really, really enjoying the new car. Quickest (…) at Rockingham, P2 (at Silverstone) even with slight gearbox problems, so I’m really happy with how it is all going. I was also 2nd the week before at Snetterton – three tracks and I’ve been in the top three all the time.”
New Formula 3 regulations have seen Italian car designers Dallara offer up the F312 chassis; however Tincknell – and his four Carlin teammates – have settled into the machine with relative ease.
“The new car is fairly similar – everything is just a little bit better, the braking is better, the downforce. When you add them all together, it makes for a really nice car.
The engineers are working really hard on bringing out new parts for it and new developments. There no big problems with the car – it feels nicely balanced; we’re just working on improving just a few different elements of the car where the rules allow.
As the opening round at Oulton Park approaches (April 6th-7th), Tincknell is confident, and so he should be.
The Carlin team have taken seven British Formula 3 titles since 2001 – Tincknell wants to add an eight crown. He knows the team have done their job; much of the rest is now up to him.
“The boys are looking to extract every last thousandth out of the car, but they’re doing a good job so far. Carlin have shown that they are really on the money straight away.”