Another Formula 2 Surprise In Store In Melbourne?

Another Formula 2 Surprise In Store In Melbourne?
Another Formula 2 Surprise In Store In Melbourne?

Two rounds down and two different types of displays have cemented the Rodin-Maloney combination as the one to beat currently. While he might not have dominated in Jeddah as he’d done in Sakhir the week before, his drive through the field in the Sprint (P4) and Feature (P7) from 16th on the grid prove just how strong that package is at this early stage of the year.

It was Enzo Fittipaldi that put in the attention-grabbing performance though as he claimed his first F2 Feature Race victory in dominant fashion for Van Amersfoort Racing. It moved the Brazilian up to second in the Drivers’ Standings, just one point ahead of another driver who enjoyed their time in Jeddah.

Dennis Hauger was the other driver in the field to secure two podiums from two last time around, and the MP Motorsport driver is one of three to have scored in every race so far this year. He now sits third in the Championship going into Melbourne, a circuit he won at last season in the Sprint.

Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Paul Aron is the highest-placed rookie in the Standings right now. The Estonian has been assured so far at the wheel of F2 machinery and added his second podium in as many Rounds in the Jeddah Sprint to leave him fourth overall.

Invicta Racing driver Kush Maini moved himself up to fifth with a great performance to take second in the Jeddah Feature Race and despite a tricky start to the year his and the team’s pace is strong.

Rodin still top the Teams’ Standings though Invicta have closed the gap with Maini’s podium to get within seven points of the top spot. The leaders enter Round 3 on 49 points.

MP Motorsport are third, ahead of Hitech Pulse-Eight though the two outfits are tied on 39 points apiece. Van Amersfoort Racing round out the top five on 34.

default image

FROM THE GRID – Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport

“Getting to know the track last year was really cool. It’s a cool track, high-speed street track but quite open and a fast middle section before it tightens up in the last sector. Last year, with the weather, everything was happening all at once, so it was quite demanding in terms of the racing.

“It’s a track where you really need to attack which makes it hard to put everything together. Last year in Qualifying, it was wet, so we don’t really have any experience of Qualifying there.

“The main point for overtaking is the back straight, especially with that DRS zone. Otherwise, out of the chicane in the middle sector before going into the last sector.

default image

“Going into the right-hander there is a good opportunity there as well. It’s not super easy to pass, it’s quite tight so you really have to pick your opportunities to pass and get momentum to go by someone.

“Tyre wear isn’t too bad. We had the main race last year which was the only session we really got a feel for the tyres in the dry. It’s not a big deal for me but on the softs, you have to keep the thermal deg down but once you go to the hard tyres, it’s quite easy to keep it together. So, it’s not the track with the heaviest deg.

“I think last year was good, winning the Sprint Race. This year I’d like to win the Feature. Last year we were doing well before getting taken out but the race pace we had was really good. A bit of work to do on Qualifying but overall, it’s an awesome track.”

TECHNICAL PREVIEW

default image

The layout of the Albert Park circuit makes for a well-rounded test across the board for teams and drivers. Four DRS zones make for decent overtaking opportunities across the lap, but the high-speed blasts are followed by some heavy braking zones.

Tyre consumption isn’t overly worrisome either, though the soft compound tyres will have higher wear, particularly in the high-speed sections like the chicane that makes up Turns 9 and 10 in the middle sector of the lap.

Those corners in particular are where downforce demand is at its highest, though the slower speed sections like Turns 3, 4 and 11 and 14 means there is a decent variety of corner across the course of the Melbourne lap.

RACE STRATEGY

Pirelli will be going a step softer across both compounds compared to 2023, with the purple-walled supersoft compound tyres complimented by the yellow-marked medium compound this time around.

Last season it was Ayumu Iwasa who was victorious for DAMS, winning the Feature Race from pole position. Several Safety Car interventions ensured the field was never too strung out across the course of the Feature, but the Japanese driver’s conventional strategy won him the top spot in the end. Pitting on Lap 9, he swapped from the soft compound to the hard tyres and managed each restart to take his second win of the 2023 season.

default image

Gareth Hynes, Pirelli Formula 2 Trackside Engineer

“The compounds that we have chosen together with the promoter will hopefully lead to a more spectacular F2 weekend, as last year the performance levels of the selected compounds were a bit too similar. Degradation on the supersoft is too high to run the entire Sprint Race with the right level of performance, so we’d expect the teams to choose the medium on Saturday. For Sunday’s Feature Race, there are more options. Starting on the medium then switching to the supersoft is the quickest way on paper, but the opposite strategy could also pay off. A lot will depend on race neutralisations, which are a relatively common occurrence at Albert Park.”

STAT PACK

  • There is a 100%-win rate for the driver starting from pole position in the Sprint or Feature Race around Albert Park in Formula 2
  • There is also a 100% record for at least one Safety Car appearance in F2 races in Melbourne race
  • Dennis Hauger, Jak Crawford and Kush Maini are the only drivers on the grid to have finished on the podium in Melbourne, with the trio forming the 2023 Sprint Race podium in that order
  • With four separate DRS zones, Albert Park has the most on a single circuit on the 2024 F2 calendar
Want to save this information for later?

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

More in News

Si202310220022 Hires Jpeg 24bit Rgb

Stories Of The 2025 Season The Revealed Calendar Brings Us

Following a meeting of the World Motorsport Council, the Formula ...
Red Bull Internal Battle Could Hand Title To Ferrari

FIA And Formula 1 Announce 2025 F1 Season Calendar

The FIA and Formula 1 have announced the 2025 F1 ...
McLaren Hid Innovative 'Mini Wing' At 2024 Car Launch

Fleeing McLaren Chief On Way To Struggling Alpine – Rumour

Alpine might soon get a much-needed technical boost in the ...
F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024

Ice-Cream Venture Won’t Be F1 Distraction – Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc insists he remains fully committed to Formula 1 ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle