While the next Formula 2 round at Monaco is only a little under a month away, the teams and drivers had a last chance to test their machinery at Barcelona. Three days and a ton of mileage later, this is what they had to say.
The expectations surrounding Robert Shwartzman are sky high. The Prema driver had a very good (but inconsistent) debut year and is looking to capitalise on that. But since he failed to finish on the podium in the first round at Bahrain, he has a lot of ground to make up already. According to the Russian himself, there’s one crucial area in which he still has to improve.
“Unfortunately, I’m not completely satisfied with how the test went. The main issue was the qualifying pace which was still not good enough for me. I need to understand what is going on and the reasons we couldn’t manage better lap times in the performance runs. The race pace was good and I think we are quite strong there. I’m also happy with the race management, and the simulation was very positive. The starts were mixed, the grip level was pretty low but we definitely made some good ones and the start management was good as well. So the focus is on qualifying. We have to analyse and understand the issue because we definitely need to improve. The next race is in Monaco and it’s very important to have a proper qualifying there. Regarding the new layout of turn 10, it was complicated at first, but I soon understood how to approach it and I have to say it’s not bad at all. I even managed to get some proper overtaking done there which is a positive thing.”
With two championships in a row rookie Oscar Piastri is looking to make it three with Prema. He’s off to a great start, winning his first Formula 2 race at Barhain and sits in fourth in the championship.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down test which started quite down I would say, but we had a very successful last day. We rectified some of the things that weren’t as we wanted, and our pace got very strong so it was nice to end on a good note like that. We tested quite a lot of things. Some worked, some didn’t, but I’m happy that we found a good solution and we seem quick. It’s positive we made the most of this last chance we had to test for this season. The new turn 10 is a bit faster than it used to be with a shorted braking zone as well. I’m not so sure of how well it will help overtaking, but it’s quite a nice corner to drive and it definitely tests the traction on exit.”
As one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the field, not much is expected of rookie Matteo Nannini. But the Italian already has his first point in the bag, finishing 10th in the final race at Bahrain. The Barcelona test only added to his confidence, although Monaco is never easy for a debutant.
“Everything was smooth in F2 testing as well. We tested a few different things and completed many useful laps, hence we are satisfied with our three-day program” he said. “Car feels very good, we’ll keep working flat-out for Monaco”.
Like countryman Richard Verschoor Bent Viscaal has showed flashes of brilliance on his Formula 2 debut, though he wasn’t able to take home any points from his Bahrain debut. Another thing the two Dutchies have in common; they’re both on a one-round deal, so it’s unsure if we will see Bent and Richard back on the grid in Monaco.
“During such a multi-day test, you are mainly concerned with the long-distance runs. During these runs, we fill the tank to the brim with fuel, so that we can simulate a complete race. During the simulation, it is important to keep tyre wear and lap times as low as possible. In every race simulation we’ve done, we’ve mastered the combination of low tyre wear and competitive lap times.”
“Trident and I are a good match, I noticed that from the very first moment. We want to complete the entire 2021 Formula 2 season together and I am hopeful that we will reach an agreement soon.”