Feature Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 6

Starting from 9th Ayumu Iwasa Finishes the Race in 10th. He Misses Out on a Top Position with an Unsuccessful Tyre Strategy

mc Circuit de Monaco

The Feature Race of the FIA Formula 2 Round 6 Monaco took place on Sunday, 28 May.

Starting from 9th Ayumu Iwasa Finishes the Race in 10th. He Misses Out on a Top Position with an Unsuccessful Tyre Strategy

Despite some pre-race concern about rainfall, the race ran under dry conditions. Ayumu Iwasa, who had earned his Monaco victory in the Sprint Race the day before, came 5th in Group B in the qualifying session and so started the Feature Race from P9 in the fifth row.

With an ambient temperature of 23°C and a track temperature of 28°C, the formation lap got underway at 9:45am, five minutes later than scheduled. Iwasa started the race on super soft tyres, which was a different strategy from the front runners, looking to improve his position in the second half after an early tyre change. Iwasa moved up a place at the start and completed the first lap in 8th, a position he then held while looking for the right time to make a pit stop. On Lap 13, he changed tyres and returned to the field in 12th place. On Lap 14, as a front runner with the same strategy returned to the race in front of him, Iwasa, with his superior pace, overtook that car at the Mirabeau corner and moved up to 11th.

On Lap 19, a car stopped due to a problem, which brought on the Virtual Safety Car. The race resumed on Lap 21, but shortly afterwards on Lap 22, a leading car crashed on its own, and the Safety Car was brought on. Due to the extensive damage to track facilities, the race was red-flagged and suspended. For drivers who had adopted a different strategy to Iwasa, this Safety Car intervention was the perfect timing and all of them completed tyre changes before the red flag. For Iwasa, it was an unlucky situation, losing the chance to move up the field.

The race was suspended for 30 minutes due to work including guardrail replacement and then restarted, with the Safety Car leading the way. Due to the wrong position of the Safety Car, the 9th car and below were lapped in the record. This was being corrected as the race resumed with a rolling start but without waiting for those lapped cars to catch the back of the pack. As a result, Iwasa had a huge gap of more than 30 seconds, which made it impossible for him to advance to a leading position.

Iwasa defended his 10th position even though he was pressured by the car behind. When the race hit the time limit and ended after 39 laps, Iwasa finished 10th and gained one point despite the unfortunate turn of events.

With his rivals in the championship finishing the race in 1st and 2nd position, Iwasa has dropped to 3rd spot in the ranking.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
It was unfortunate that we lost a lot [of positions] because of our strategic decisions. Along with the engineer in charge, I’d decided to go from prime (softs) to optional (super softs), but on the grid, we changed the strategy based on the situation around us and the team's opinion. This ultimately proved to be a mistake. Certainly, the Safety Car and the red flag were unlucky for me, but it was still a strategic issue because I had expected things like that could happen. I’ll have to thoroughly discuss this to reflect on what happened with the team for improvements. As for the big gap on the restart, they said after the race that 'it was an error in judgement and we will make sure this doesn't happen again in the future', but the race is over for today, so it can't be helped. The result of the race was disappointing, but we’ll prepare well for the next round, and do our best to achieve a good result. 

Published on