PREMA Racing takes fifth and twelfth in the first qualifying session of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship; a promising result that the team hopes to turn into a competitive race to the front.
“It’s not pole, and it’s not where we want to be, but
it’s a good starting point for this year. Now we have something to
work with during the next few weeks.” – Vesti
Frederik Vesti, who joined PREMA in 2023 from ART Grand Prix, joined the group of drivers fighting for the front positions. During pre-season testing in Bahrain, he placed 17th, 15th and 21st so going into Round One qualifying, there were unsure expectations surrounding PREMA’s results. However, Vesti improved his times each lap, completing consistent lap times on both sets of tyres. He eventually finished the session in a strong fifth position, pulling together a lap time of 1:41.897, with nobody getting within seven tenths of the pole-sitter Théo Pourchaire. Despite the top five qualifying position, for the Round One Sprint Race, he will line up in ninth due to a penalty for impeding, before lining up in fifth for the Feature Race.
“We had a difficult qualifying session. I was quite happy with the
first set of tyres, and the car felt good. With the second set, I
struggled a little more to extract the lap time and made a mistake
on my lap which cost me quite a lot” – Bearman
Oliver (Ollie) Bearman, PREMA’s F2 rookie, took twelfth during his debut. He was able to complete good laps on a cooler track and remained in the top ten for a large portion of the session. After changing onto the second set of tyres, he began to struggle. The mid-field was separated by small intervals which meant the mistake caused Bearman to drop in the order, missing out on a potentially higher position. In 2022, he was a strong championship contender so the British driver looks to have a promising season ahead with PREMA and his teammate Frederik Vesti.
Image: PREMA Racing