Ayumu Iwasa, who races in Europe as part of the Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP), has made the step up to the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Iwasa, who will be racing for DAMS this year, won the French F4 Championship in 2020 and competed in the FIA F3 Championship in 2021 before he advanced to F2 level.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship has a new race format this season, with the Sprint Race on Saturday, where the top ten qualifiers start from the reverse grid, and the Feature Race on Sunday, which starts in the order of the qualifying positions and requires tyres to be changed.
Iwasa made a good start with the 2nd fastest time in free practice on Friday 19 March, but in the qualifying session he spun on the out lap and stopped at the side of the track. With no time set, he finished in 22nd place.
At 7:40pm on Saturday 20 March, the formation lap of Sprint Race got underway. Under conditions with an ambient temperature of 17°C and a track temperature of 21°C, Iwasa started from the back of the grid, the 11th row, in 22nd position.
After a good start, Iwasa had passed three cars by the first corner and climbed to 19th. On the third lap the Safety Car came on after a competitor spun, and in the meantime, Iwasa moved up to 18th. When the race resumed on Lap 6, he passed the cars in front while paying attention to tyre management and moved up to 14th position on Lap 8.
On Lap 14 the Japanese driver overtook one car, and on Lap 15 two cars collided and dropped out, leaving Iwasa in 11th position with eight laps to go. Towards the end of the race, some cars started to slow down as their tyre conditions deteriorated. On the other hand, Iwasa increased his pace and closed the gap to the cars in front, leapfrogging them on Laps 19, 21 and 22 to improve his position to finish the race in a point-gaining 8th place.
Despite starting from the back of the grid, Iwasa was able to catch up in the final laps to finish in 8th place, earning a point in his F2 debut race.