Work to do for PREMA duo After ‘Difficult’ Qualifying

Work to do for PREMA duo After ‘Difficult’ Qualifying

Prema Bearman and Antonelli

One of the many surprises of the first FIA Formula 2 qualifying session of 2024 was the performance of PREMA – or lack of it.

Drivers Ollie Bearman and Andrea Kimi Antonelli were hotly tipped to be towards the front this weekend in Bahrain, but a tough Thursday saw the pair qualify a lowly 18th and 19th respectively – almost a second off of Indian driver Kush Maini, who took pole position.

Invicta Racing’s Maini secured his maiden F2 pole , with team mate, and reigning FIA Formula 3 Champion Gabriel Bortoleto, confirming a front-row lockout for the team.

Maini will start Friday’s Sprint Race from 10th, thanks to the reverse-top 10 rule in F2, before lining up at the front on Saturday for the Feature Race, where 25-points are handed to the winner.

Drivers unable to push when it mattered

PREMA said their drivers were unable to find ‘the right confidence’ to push the new-for-2024 F2 car on their qualifying laps.

British driver Bearman describe the first day of competitive running as ‘difficult’.

“It’s tough because it didn’t feel that bad, we have some work to do for the rest of the weekend.

“We lacked a bit of confidence to lean on the car and it really shows in these qualifying sessions where you have to be right on the limit consistently.”

Bearman, who won four F2 races in 2023, will start both races this weekend from 19th position.

Team mate and F2 rookie, Antonelli said the session was ‘not what we expected’.

“We didn’t perform really well especially with the second set of tyres as we didn’t expect such a change in grip.

“[We are] not where we want to be but we are working hard to get there and we’ll continue pushing for the races.”

Despite the disappointing qualifying result, PREMA say they’re committed to improving throughout the rest of the weekend.

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Prema Bearman and Antonelli