F2 Drivers Say Grass, Wind and Low Grip Causes for Melbourne Turn 12 Spins

F2 Drivers Say Grass, Wind and Low Grip Causes for Melbourne Turn 12 Spins

Isack Hadjar Melbourne F2 2024

Formula 2 drivers have found negotiating Turn 12 at Australia’s Albert Park Circuit to be particularly tricky this weekend, with the proximity of grass, wind direction and low grip cited as causes for incidents that have occurred at the mid-speed right-hander towards the end of the lap.

During the Sprint Race for F2’s third round of 2024 on Saturday, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Richard Verschoor and Paul Aron saw their races ruined by a series of concurrent mistakes at the corner while chasing down eventual race winner Roman Stanek for second.

Antonelli had lunged to the inside of the battling Kush Maini and Paul Aron into the braking zone of Turn 11 but ran deep and allowed the Invicta driver back past. Still on the outside line, the Prema driver appeared to lose control of his car in the middle of Turn 12, spinning into the gravel bed.

Verschoor, who had drawn alongside him, spun in sympathy on the inside of the corner. Antonelli said over the radio he thought the pair had touched, but video replays showed that there was no contact.

Aron made contact with the spinning Verschoor’s front wing and went into the gravel with front wing damage himself. After falling through the field at the safety car restart, the Hitech driver pitted and finished the race 18th.

Trident’s Stanek was just ahead of that incident, but he said he did not see exactly what happened.

“To be honest, I didn’t see anything. I just saw it in the TV on the replay,” he told InsideF2 in the post-race press conference.

What about the challenges in general around the 5.278-kilometre circuit in the Dallara F2 2024? “It depends which corner, but it’s very easy to go out because it’s a street circuit and there are not a lot of references,” Stanek answered.

“Once you go offline, obviously it’s dirty, and then you lose the grip. That’s why I think many mistakes are done.

“And then also, for example, into the braking of Turn 1 … we are almost touching the grass. We are on the yellow line, but when you are so focused on driving, you don’t realize if you are half a centimetre more in the grass or not. That’s also what makes the circuit special because it’s quite tricky to put a good lap together.”

Hauger was just behind the three-car incident and was one of its biggest beneficiaries, vaulting from seventh on the road to fourth. He later overtook Kush Maini for third on the penultimate lap entering Turn 9 before being promoted to second by a post-race penalty for original winner Isack Hadjar.

“To be fair, I think it’s mainly because the grass is on the left side and we’re quite close to it, so I guess some drivers just got their left-rear wheel on the grass and it snapped for them,” he said about the Turn 12 incidents. “It’s an easy mistake to make, I think, when we’re on the limit, especially in qualifying.

“On this track as well, it’s unforgiving. Once you get out of line, it’s quite slippery, so I think that’s the main thing. Going into the last sector you just have to be on point,” he continued. “We’re not robots. We make mistakes.”

In F2 qualifying on Friday, DAMS’ Jak Crawford crashed at Turn 12 when he dipped a wheel into the grass, bringing out the red flag with 4:14 to go. After that session resumed, Invicta’s Gabriel Bortoleto ran wide at the corner on his final flying lap and baulked teammate Maini as he returned to the track.

Hadjar sailed away out front on Saturday and crossed the line with a 6.827-second lead after a peerless drive, but a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision at the start with Bortoleto and Campos teammate Pepe Martí meant he lost the win after the race.

Just before the stewards’ hearing that ultimately sealed his fate, Hadjar told InsideF2, “Turn 12 was quite tricky all weekend, and it’s mainly due to the wind blowing when you’re exiting from it, so it makes the car really unstable on the exit.

“For me the entry phase has been pretty good. I didn’t have any tricky moments there at the moment, so I’ll try to keep it that way for tomorrow’s Feature Race.”

Hadjar rolls off the grid eighth for the feature race. Stanek will start 10th, with Hauger on pole.

Credit: Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency via Red Bull Content Pool

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Isack Hadjar Melbourne F2 2024

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