Feature Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 7

Ayumu Iwasa starts and finishes 4th, holding off a strong challenge from the rest of the field towards the end to take 12 points

es-ct Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

The Feature Race of the FIA Formula 2 Round 7 Spain took place on Sunday, 4 June. After qualifying 4th on Friday, Ayumu Iwasa started the race from P4 in the grid’s 2nd row.

Ayumu Iwasa starts and finishes 4th, holding off a strong challenge from the rest of the field towards the end to take 12 points

With an ambient temperature of 23°C and a track temperature of 34°C, the formation lap got underway at 11:25am. Iwasa made a good dash at the start, moved up to 3rd at the entrance to Turn 1 and further closed in on the front car. However, he then slightly went wide at Turn 3, allowing the following car to pass him, and then lost another place shortly afterwards, finishing the opening lap in 5th. Starting on soft tyres as other front-runners had done, Iwasa returned to the pit on Lap 10 to change to hard tyres and rejoined the pack in 18th position. Later, cars with the same strategy made pit stops, and by the time those had finished on Lap 14, Iwasa was in 15th overall. After succeeding in passing a car by undercutting, of those that had already completed their pit stops, he was now in 4th. From Lap 16, he caught up with cars that had started on hard tyres and overtook those that had lost pace.

As a result of his overtaking and cars pitting with the other strategy, Iwasa moved up the field on each lap. By Lap 26, when all cars had pitted, he was in 3rd with the race entering the final stages. Then, from behind Iwasa, cars which had switched to soft tyres started to catch up quickly. He tried to defend his 3rd position but was passed at Turn 1 on Lap 35 and fell back to 4th. Yet another car with a superior pace came close behind Iwasa. The Japanese driver tried hard to defend his 4th place by controlling his pace and line as his tyres were failing. After a close battle, Iwasa was able to hold on to his position and finished the 37-lap race in 4th to gain 12 points.

Combined with the one point he picked up in the Sprint Race the day before, he has added 13 points to his tally in Spain, keeping 3rd place in the series standings.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
Fourth place feels like the least we could’ve done. The pace itself wasn’t bad. Especially on hard tyres, both my pace and performance were quite good. So both myself and the team take that as a positive result for the future. However, we still don't know exactly what caused the lack of pace on the first lap after starting on soft tyres: was it my driving, the car, or the tyres? This is an issue we’ll have to analyse properly in the future.
There’s no doubt that starting on the prime (hards) and switching to option specification (softs) was the right strategy. If I hadn't lost position on the first lap, I think I could’ve been higher up in the end, so I regret that. Towards the end of the race, I tried my best to hold off [the cars coming from behind]. However, I let one with good tyre conditions get ahead of me. I tried to keep the other car at bay by all means and managed to do it. Defence is the driver's job, and I think I did the best I could. I think our car is fast. So, I’ll prepare well with the team to improve our results for the next round and beyond. 

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