by Russell Atkins

As he gets set to embark on his maiden campaign in the British F3 International Series at Oulton Park next weekend, Formula Renault graduate Sam Bird is making it clear that two years without a title have left him very hungry for success.

The 20-year-old has registered ten victories over the past two years - on his way to the runner-up spot in Formula BMW UK and fourth place in his rookie season in Formula Renault respectively - but only bad luck prevented a championship challenge in both. Although 2007 will mark his F3 baptism, he is determined to make it third time lucky...

Q:
Sam, first of all how excited are you about your forthcoming season in British F3?

Sam Bird:
I'm very excited. We are coming into F3 off the back of quite a successful campaign in Formula Renault. Hopefully I can have a good F3 campaign now too.

Q:
How much of a step-up is F3 from Formula Renault?

SB:
It is a step-up, both in terms of the competition and the car. It's going to be interesting to see how the first race goes.

Q:
You are with one of the top teams in the category in Carlin Motorsport. How have you settled in there?

SB:
Very well. I've been with Carlin before. I know all the guys here and they are absolutely fantastic. Hopefully we can work very well with them this year.

Q:
How has testing gone so far?

SB:
Testing has been very promising. We have been reasonably fast wherever we have gone, and hopefully we can continue that form at Oulton Park on Easter Monday.

Q:
2007 will be your maiden season in F3. You have already proven that doesn't really matter with your performance in Formula Renault last year. How confident do you feel as you head into it?

SB:
Quietly confident. I've got a good package underneath me so I'll have no excuses. I'm going to need to do well, to both please my sponsors and managers and impress people on the ladder up to Formula 1. I do need to do a good job this year.

Q:
There will be 33 cars on the British F3 grid this season, the biggest field in the series' history. How tough is the competition going to be do you think?

SB:
The competition is going to be very tough. I think there are at least ten people out there who can win races - maybe even more - so at the top end there will be fierce opposition. We are just going to have to see come Easter Monday where we are in that front ten.

Q:
From what you've seen in testing so far, who do you view as your biggest threat?

SB:
Any one of my team-mates I think. Mario (Moraes), Niall (Breen), Alberto (Valerio) and now Maro (Engel) too are all going to be very, very fast, so they are all ones to watch out for. Then you've got Hitech and Double R as well, so there are a lot of drivers who are going to be right up there.

Q:
You've also recently had a boost with the announcement of an exciting new sponsorship deal. Tell us about that.

SB:
We've just announced I'm going to be joined by BP this year, which is a fantastic sponsorship deal for me. I met BP at Autosport International in January, and they showed me how much cleaner the BP Ultimate 102 unleaded fuel is, how the emissions are lower and how you can get up to 28 miles more fuel out of a tank of petrol which for me - from a consumer's point-of-view - is absolutely fantastic. It allows the engine to actually go a little bit faster too which is great. I've been using Ultimate fuel ever since. I think it's fantastic that I've got them on-board.

Q:
So with all those positives taken into account, what would you say are your overall aims and objectives for the season?

SB:
Aims for the season? To do as well as I possibly can. If I can work well with my engineer hopefully we should have a very good year.

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