Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 2

Ayumu Iwasa wins for the first time this season

sa Jeddah Corniche Circuit

The Sprint Race of Round 2 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Saudi Arabia took place on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday 18 March. The high-speed Jeddah street circuit is distinctive with few run-off areas.

Ayumu Iwasa wins for the first time this season

Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver qualified 6th on the previous day. After the demotion of a car in a front position, he started from P4 in the 2nd row on the grid in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.

 With an ambient temperature of 26°C and a track temperature of 35°C, the formation lap got underway at 6:10pm. After a good start, Iwasa had passed one car and moved up to 2nd position by the first corner. Having closed in on the leader, Iwasa overtook a front car from the outside to take the lead.

On Lap 2, there was a crash at the back of the field and the Safety Car was brought on. As the race resumed on Lap 5, the chasing pack put pressure on Iwasa, but the Japanese driver defended his lead on the first corner. A close battle continued after that, with the car behind closing to within a second to Iwasa while the HFDP driver controlled the gap and held on to the lead. On Lap 7, the Safety Car came on again due to another accident in the following pack. The race restarted on Lap 10 and entered the second half with Iwasa maintaining his lead.

As the track is not too hard on the tyres, the car behind pushed hard to attack Iwasa even towards the end of the race, closing in on him by around 0.5 seconds. However, he made no mistakes and maintained a gap with the 2nd car, taking the chequered flag at the top of the 20-lap race for his first win of the season.

Iwasa gained 10 points with his first win in a Sprint Race and his third in F2.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
I'm happy to get my first win of the season. The whole race was very difficult, and I defended the lead to the end for a win. In terms of the speed of the car, there was no margin at all. I knew our car wasn’t as fast as the following car, so I controlled my pace. Specifically, the plan was to slow down in Sector 1 and pull away in the relatively fast Sectors 2 and 3, and I managed to avoid being overtaken. It was a similar development to last season's Abu Dhabi race, and I think I was able to use the experience I gained from that event here. This hard-won victory is an important confidence boost for me and the team, and we’re very positive for the future. For the Feature Race, we need to improve the car to address the lack of speed, but we’ll be positive in our strategies and try to finish in as high a position as possible. 

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