FIA Formula 2 is a “very tough championship” for rookies, according to the sport’s team bosses.
Speaking exclusively to ourselves and selected F2 media, ART Grand Prix’s Sébastien Philippe, MP Motorsport’s Sander Dorsman and Trident’s Giacomo Ricci explained some of the challenges facing their rookie drivers.
For rookie drivers, there is plenty to learn in Formula 2, particularly the car’s braking performance, power, and the way the tyres behave. While some drivers, such as last year’s rookie F2 Champion Oscar Piastri, have made the transition into F2 seem easy, the task is far from simple.
So far this season, Ayumu Iwasa is the highest-placed rookie driver in ninth, and even reigning FIA Formula 3 Champion Dennis Hauger has only amassed 14 points.
Sébastien Philippe noted that the start of the season is particularly difficult for drivers who are new to the series, who “have to adapt very quickly… when you’re a rookie it’s very hard.”
ART’s rookie Frederik Vesti is among those who have struggled at points this season, and earned his first points of the season last time out in Imola. His team, however, know that there is more to come from the young Dane:
“On Fred’s side, we were hoping for better results, but his pace is much better than what his results show at the moment. It will take a bit of time.”
“Experience is key and some rookies take a bit more time to adapt, and clearly this is the case with Fred, but I am very optimistic that by the middle of the season it will go better.”
With just a short, 45-minute Practice session ahead of Qualifying to set the grid for the crucial Sunday Feature Race, there is little room for error in F2, and very little time for rookie drivers to get their eye and extract the performance from their cars.
MP Motorsport’s Sander Dorsman also highlighted just how tricky a rookie’s job can be, and remarked that those difficulties were shared among most of the new drivers:
“It’s not easy for a rookie, and it seems that all the rookies this year, they’re going through the same: some ups and downs. I guess they just need to have more time to get used to F2.
The Dutch team boss also pointed out how little time the drivers have to prepare in the cars:
“We only had the Bahrain test before round one and only had the Barcelona test before Imola that didn’t really help them.”
MP’s Clément Novalak was another rookie to pick up their first points at Imola, despite also having a tough start to the season:
“I think he did a good job [in Bahrain] but we had an engine issue there which was not very helpful, but Imola was a good weekend for him so hopefully he can continue that in Barcelona.”
With the next race approaching in Barcelona, the rookies will hope that what they learned during testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be more helpful when they return there.
Giacomo Ricci of Trident, also explained how difficult the season has been for his rookie driver, Calan Williams:
” It’s very tough, this championship, for a rookie. Even for a very very good rookie it’s difficult. In Imola he [Williams] didn’t even know the circuit himself, you only have a couple of laps in free practice, a red flag, changing conditions. Drivers with experience… who already know the circuit have an advantage, so it’s very tough for a rookie.”
With a double header in Spain and Monaco next up, the likes of Vesti, Novalak and Williams will hope to continue to build their experience and repeat their points-scoring performances in Imola.
Image Credit © Marion Boisjot