With 2022 being his first full FIA Formula 2 season, Jake Hughes is thrilled to be racing on his home soil in F2 for the first time with Van Amersfoort Racing alongside his new teammate David Beckmann.
Hughes was close to taking his first-ever Formula 2 victory in Monaco from the reverse pole position before disaster struck the British driver.
Despite taking a break to attend Round 9 of the FIA Formula E season in Marrakesh as the Mercedes Benz EQ team reserve driver, Hughes excitedly described how special it is to join the grid for the first time in front of a familiar crowd and surroundings.
“I’m buzzing to be racing at Silverstone this year! It’s an amazing atmosphere. Even if you’re not a British driver, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is something special.” Hughes stated,
“There are a few places like Silverstone, Monza, Spa, and Zandvoort that a driver really looks forward to, but being British, Silverstone is the one I’m looking forward to the most.”
Heading to this special weekend as one of only two British drivers on the F2 grid alongside compatriot Olli Caldwell, the 28-year-old is convinced that many drivers are also eagerly awaiting the challenge of Silverstone.
“Silverstone is high-speed, the section from Copse to Stowe is one of the best pieces of a race track in the world, and I think in a Formula 2 car, it will feel like even more of a challenge, which is what we like.
“That’s the thing with racing drivers. We like fast corners because they’re a challenge and because there’s adrenaline and risk versus reward. There’s a lot of that at Silverstone.”
Moreover, VAR has become one of the most consistent qualifiers this season, with Hughes scoring a top ten starting position in five of the first seven rounds.
Despite showing a lot of potential, some mistakes are more costly than the others – Baku, for example, could’ve been more rewarding for the team if they maximized the car setup. Hughes is aware that it is a critical weakness they need to address.
This time, he will take his learnings from the consistent results two years ago in F3 when he finished inside the top ten in all three races. Hughes believed that he understood the kind of challenge he would usually face completely.
He added: “The track is one of the toughest on the calendar for tyre wear, and you can easily end up with no rubber on your tyre.
“With high-speed corners, we tend to suffer from the front axle more, and being a clockwise track, [it is] the front left that’s usually the main limitation, but it’s more of what we refer to as a thermal wear crack.
“I think the easiest overtake nowadays is the obvious one from the Hanger straight into Stowe, but my favorite place is the outside move from Brooklands into Turn 6.
“It’s in front of the BRDC, and I’ll probably have a lot of family and friends in there, so hopefully, I’ll be in the lead, and I won’t need to pull that move.
“Typically, the car you’re attacking always defends the inside line, and then you’re forced to do the outside. It’s a proper wheel-to-wheel racing maneuver, and there’s a risk but it feels good when you pull it off.”
In 2020, the Birmingham-based driver stood on the podium after winning a hard-fought battle in the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race. However, he never got the chance to celebrate it in front of the fans due to strict safety regulations.
Although he currently sits 16th in the Drivers’ championship standings with 15 points added to his name, Hughes remains hopeful of fulfilling that goal with VAR’s confidence that keeps growing as he eyes success on home turf.
“I’ve come close to winning and getting on the podium multiple times, but it’s my first time here in Formula 2, at the highest point of the junior racing ladder.
“So if I could get on the podium or even aim to get the win, that will be something I’ll never forget.”
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