Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 7

As conditions change from wet to dry. Ayumu Iwasa, starting from 6th finishes in 8th

es-ct Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Round 7 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship kicked off at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain with a Sprint Race on Saturday, 3 June.

As conditions change from wet to dry. Ayumu Iwasa, starting from 6th finishes in 8th

In the previous day’s qualifying session, Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, marked the 4th fastest time, feeling good about the performance of his car. With one of the top cars having been penalised, Iwasa moved up on the grid’s starting position by one place to P6 in Row 3 in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.

Heavy rainfall before the race caused water to pool on the track surface and a wet race was declared. With an ambient temperature of 19°C and a track temperature of 22°C, the formation lap got underway at 2:15pm. After a formation lap behind the Safety Car, the race got going with a rolling start. A fierce battle for position took place in a heavy spray of water. Iwasa had a difficult time finding a position, allowing the following car to get ahead of him, and in Turn 5 he made contact with another car and went off the track. He quickly returned to the race but moved down to 10th. By the end of the first lap, the battle for position had eased off as the pack had been formed. Iwasa, now in 10th, closed in on the car in front, looking for a chance to overtake.

The unstable track conditions made it difficult for Iwasa to pass the car in front. However, on Lap 8 he managed to move up to 9th and further increased his pace to put pressure on the car ahead. He continued to be close behind but was still unable to overtake. As the track surface gradually began to dry out in the middle part of the race, the wet tyres started to wear down, making it difficult for all drivers.

Towards the end of the race, on Lap 19, a car went off the track and stopped, and the race got moving. After the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) being initially implemented, it was replaced by an actual Safety Car (SC) after a lap. Then all cars rushed to the pits to change to dry tyres. The pit lane was chaotic. Iwasa also made a pit stop at the same time and returned to the race without losing his 9th place. The race resumed on Lap 24 and the Japanese driver looked to take over the car in front, aiming for 8th place to secure a point. However, he was unable to improve his position and finished the 26-lap race in 9th. Then a time penalty for a leading car promoted Iwasa to 8th place and he earned a point.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
The conditions were very difficult, and the result was disappointing. I think it was because of two causes: one was my mistake on the approach to the first corner at the start of the race. I failed in positioning and lost a place. And then I made contact in Turn 5 and lost even more places. Another reason was that some of the team's strategies didn't work with the set-up of the car and tyres. Because of this, my speed on the first lap was different from the other cars. I regret that I lost my flow in the early stages of the race because of these two mistakes. After that, my pace was good, but gradually the track surface started to dry out and it became difficult to overtake. However, we are positive because the areas that were bad are clear, and we know where we can improve. If we can improve these points for the Feature Race, the results should follow. In that respect, I think we gained a lot from this race.

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