Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 14

Iwasa Starts the Race in 6th and Finishes 8th, He Gains One Point and Heads into the Final Race in 3rd Place in the Championship

ae Yas Marina Circuit

After a long interval of nearly three months, the 14th and final round of this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship in Abu Dhabi kicked off.

Iwasa Starts the Race in 6th and Finishes 8th, He Gains One Point and Heads into the Final Race in 3rd Place in the Championship

Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, qualified 6th on Friday, 24 November and started from 6th in the 3rd row on the grid in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.

Under an ambient temperature of 28°C and a track temperature of 37°C, the formation lap of the Sprint Race got underway at 4:20pm on Saturday, 25 November. After a slightly slow start, Iwasa initially dropped to 7th, but soon overtook the car in front and regained 6th place. On the opening lap, a car stopped on the track because of an accident at the back of the field and the Safety Car was brought on.

When the race resumed on Lap 6, Iwasa held onto 6th place, but the chasing pack came back hard and he dropped to 7th on Lap 7. Iwasa's pace did not improve, and on Lap 9 he was passed again by the car behind, moving down to 8th. The gap to the cars ahead gradually widened after that, and the Japanese driver held 8th place as the race entered the closing stages.

Towards the end of the race, Iwasa regained his pace and started to close the gap to the car in 7th. However he was unable to catch up with it and finished in a point-scoring position in 8th.  Gaining one point, Iwasa remains 3rd in the championship standings. He is 24 points behind 2nd place and 10 points ahead of 4th place to take on the final race of the season, the Feature Race, on Sunday 26, November.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
In the end it was a very disappointing race. There were a couple of reasons for my lack of pace. For one thing, the car felt strange from the off, and at the exit of corners it was bouncing.  Especially at Turn 14 below the hotel, the left tyres lifted off the ground. The other reason was that I had a problem with the left front and right rear brakes, causing one-side braking and locking the tyres. After the race, I analysed the feeling of the car with the engineers, and the right rear damper had failed, so we’ll replace that. However, there are likely to be other causes, so we’ll need to analyse further. As for the brakes, it seems to be a matter of the amount of blocking of the duct. I think we can adjust it.
In the Feature Race, if we can improve these and show performance, I think we can have a race where we can get solid points in a top position. Now, rather than worrying about the rankings, I’ve no choice but to race for the win as usual. So I’ll prepare well with the team for the last race of the season. 

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