Maloney: Barcelona F2 Test Key for ‘Finding Some Answers’ After Lacklustre Baku

Maloney: Barcelona F2 Test Key for ‘Finding Some Answers’ After Lacklustre Baku

MaloneyMaloney: Barcelona F2 Test Key for ‘Finding Some Answers’ After Lacklustre Baku

Zane Maloney endured, ‘a very difficult’, fourth round of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship at Baku after suspension damage in the Sprint Race and a lack of pace in the Feature Race left him with no points from the weekend.

Maloney qualified ninth on Friday, giving him his first front-row start in F2 in Saturday’s Sprint Race. Pole-sitter, Richard Verschoor took the outside line for Turn 1 but lost control of the car on the exit of the corner. He then hit Maloney’s right rear and punctured the Barbadian’s tyre, causing suspension damage.

Maloney crabbed through Turn 2 in the lead and made it to Turn 4 before the chasing pack caught him up. He pitted at the end of the lap to change tyres, then parked in pit lane the next time around after realising the damage was too great for him to continue.

After his Rodin Carlin mechanics completed some repairs, Maloney returned to the track on Lap 8 and circulated five laps down from the leaders before retiring for the final time four laps from the end of the race.

However, those 10 extra laps of running did little to help him in an uneventful Feature Race, in which he maintained ninth place through the opening laps but fell down the order during the pit stop cycle.

Maloney’s sole on-track overtake came against Jehan Daruvala on Lap 14 as the Indian driver recovered from running wide at Turn 1. That put the 19-year-old rookie 12th for the second half of the race before DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc took the place on the final lap.

With Daruvala penalised for his unsafe re-entry directly in front of Maloney and Victor Martins disqualified from fourth, Leclerc’s pass turned out to be for 10th and the final point.

Maloney’s poor weekend contrasted with that of Rodin Carlin team mate and fellow Red Bull junior Enzo Fittipaldi, who qualified second and finished second in the Feature Race to take his first podium of 2023.

“Qualifying wasn’t the best but not horrendous,” Maloney said after the round. “We started P2 in the Sprint Race, got a good start but unfortunately got taken out of the race.”

“Then in the Feature Race, [we] just struggled for some pace in general. We need to look at it and see why.”

“We’ve got the opportunity with the test in Barcelona, so after a very difficult weekend I am looking forward to working on things there and finding some answers so that we can get back on track in Imola,” Maloney explained, referencing F2’s upcoming in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 10–12 May.”

“I’m very much looking forward to the weekend there in Italy and I will be working as hard as I can with the team to bounce back.”

Heading into Round 5 at Imola from 19–21 May, Maloney sits 11th in the championship on 29 points, one place and two points behind Fittipaldi.

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MaloneyMaloney: Barcelona F2 Test Key for ‘Finding Some Answers’ After Lacklustre Baku