It’s been almost an entire month since we last saw some Formula 2 action, but the wait is finally over. There are bound to be fireworks on the narrow streets of Azerbaijan, as we tend to see every year.
Last time out around the Albert Park street circuit chaos rules, and we can expect similar levels of excitement this weekend. It’s all to play for with 11 rounds left of the Championship.
Will Ayumu Iwasa maintain his grip on the Formula 2 Drivers’ Standings, and will his team DAMS stay ahead in the Team’s Championship? Read on to find out the major talking points in this F2 Report.
Who’s consistent and who’s not?
The 2023 season so far has highlighted the importance of simply finishing a race. A lot of the young stars on the grid are eager to show off their maximum ability which has resulted in all too many mistakes, collisions and crashes despite the Championship being in its early days.
It’s been those who have consistently churned out points-scoring finishes that now find themselves heading the F2 Standings. Iwasa is in first with 58 points and has finished every race so far. He has a commanding lead in the Championship despite only winning one of the Feature races we have had so far.
The same cannot be said for the ART Grand Prix duo of Theo Pourchaire and Victor Martins. Pourchaire has been expected by many, along with Jack Doohan, to dominate the year. But while his pace has been outstanding he hasn’t necessarily translated his speed into positive results. Crashes at Jeddah and a poor strategy call for wet tyres in Melbourne earning him no points.
Martins on the other hand finds himself languishing down in 12th in the F2 Drivers’ Championship. The Frenchman took pole around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, only to spin and subsequently stall in the Feature race. He also endured a pointless weekend in Australia and now has the unenviable statistic of having scored in only two out of six races in 2023. Simply put, ART Grand Prix have probably had the fastest car so far and should be leading the F2 Teams’ Standings, but are not. Can the French outfit turn it around in Baku?
Baku always provides great F2 racing
The Baku City Circuit is a racetrack of two halves: a narrow and demanding section snaking around the historic old town and a ludicrously long straight which cuts through the city’s modern skyscrapers. This makes for a unique challenge for the drivers, as we see plenty of overtakes especially for a street circuit.
Last year’s winners are still on the grid in 2023; Frederick Vesti won the Sprint race and Dennis Hauger took the chequered flag first for the Feature. But this by no means increases their likelihood of coming out on top this time round.
We always see plenty of attrition, particularly in the opening laps when everyone is bunched together. Expect more than a handful of high-profile retirements into the large braking zones of Turns 1 and 3.
It’s all to play for around the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan. Those who master a tricky qualifying and keep it out of the barriers come race day will bring home the largest haul of points.