Top qualifier Ayumu Iwasa starts from P10 on the reverse grid but finishes 13th after struggling with the balance of the car
After a 2-month break, the Sprint Race of the FIA Formula 2’s season finale was held at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, entered the final round in 9th spot in the championship, just 12 points behind his target of 4th and aiming to move up the rankings in the season finale.
In qualifying on Friday 18 November, Iwasa set the fastest time following the free practice and qualified 1st for the second time this season. A post-qualifying scrutineering found a plank (skid plate) violation with Iwasa's car, and the team was fined. However, his qualifying result remained unchanged, and he was confirmed as the number 1 qualifier. As a result, he started from P10 in Row 5 in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.
Under an ambient temperature of 30°C and a track temperature of 39°C, the formation lap of the Sprint Race got underway at 4:20pm. At the start, Iwasa was overtaken and moved down to 11th, before the race was red-flagged on Lap 1 due to an accident at the back of the field. After a 30-minute stoppage to allow time to repair the safety barriers, the race resumed with a rolling start after Lap 2 led by the Safety Car.
Iwasa's pace did not improve, and on Laps 4 and 6 he let his pursuers pass him on Turn 6 at the end of a straight and dropped to 13th. Iwasa could still not pick up enough speed to catch the front runners after that. While gradually regaining his pace, he held on in 13th position to finish the 23-lap race.
Iwasa finished with no points in the Sprint Race. However, the Japanese driver will be starting from pole position and racing for a win in the Feature Race.