Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 8

Pre-race rain affects tyre choice and race results Starting from 16th Ayumu Iwasa comes 11th

at Red Bull Ring

Round 8 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship kicked off at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Pre-race rain affects tyre choice and race results Starting from 16th Ayumu Iwasa comes 11th

In the qualifying session on Friday 30 June, Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, recorded his best time to move up to 6th in the second set of attempts, but due to a track limit infringement, his time was invalidated, and he qualified 16th. He was aiming to bounce back from P16 on Row 8 in the Sprint Race.

The weather was chilly and unstable with light rainfall before the Sprint Race on Saturday 1 July. Under an ambient temperature of 17℃ and a track temperature of 23℃, the formation lap got underway at 1:45pm. The track surface was wet in some parts, so drivers’ tyre choices were divided between 50 percent soft and 50 percent wet, with Iwasa opting to start on the latter. After two formation laps behind the Safety Car, the race got going from a standing start.

The race got off to a turbulent start with a car going off the track on the opening lap, which brought out the Safety Car. At this time, cars starting on wet tyres pitted for a tyre change. Iwasa stayed on and climbed to 6th. After the restart of the race on Lap 5, another car went off the track and the field had to trail behind the Safety Car again. Iwasa made a pit stop to change tyres but lost a lot of time as his team-mate came back to the pit at the same time. As a result, Iwasa returned to the track in 20th, the last position in the field.

When the race resumed on lap 8, Iwasa quickly passed two cars from the back of the pack to take 18th. He then passed the car in front on Laps 10, 16 and 19 to move up to 15th. The Japanese driver overtook a car on the final lap as well to complete the 27-lap race in 14th. Then, a time penalty was imposed on leading cars which promoted Iwasa to 11th place after the race.

In the end, tyre selection decided the outcome of the race. Those cars which started and finished on soft tyres without a change occupied the top positions. Having started on wet tyres and with the unlucky event at the pit, Iwasa ended up with a frustrating result.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
Tyre choice was very difficult, and as a result, it made a big difference to your race. I was on slicks when I went from the pit to the grid, but it soon started raining on the grid. So, I judged it wasn’t safe to use slicks. This time, the team respected my opinion as a driver on my tyre choice, so I should’ve thought more deeply, combining the information from the radar and the circumstances. As the race got underway, the rain stopped, and the conditions turned dry early on. This made the situation difficult on wet tyres. The timing of the tyre change is also a point of reflection. 
However, classification aside, there were positive aspects in my performance and the pace was good. We’ll work on our strategy and improvements for the Feature Race and try to finish in the highest place possible.

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