Home Featured Antonelli found wet running “productive” on first day in new F2 car

Antonelli found wet running “productive” on first day in new F2 car

by Ida Wood

Photo: Prema

Andrea Kimi Antonelli was not concerned that rain limited running on day one of Formula 2 pre-season testing, as he sought to learn the new car’s wet weather handling characteristics.

The arrival of rain at the desert-based Bahrain track on Sunday surprised many, and proved more frustrating for the F2 than the FIA Formula 3 Championship paddock since they only had one test session that day and had an all-new chassis to build an understanding of while the F3 drivers got twice as much track time and with a car teams were already very familiar with.

Pirelli’s grooved wet compound tyres were used at first, and Antonelli’s Prema team-mate Ollie Bearman said the day “was pretty much thrown away because of the weather”.

But Antonelli, who is jumping up the single-seater ladder to F2 from Formula Regional, took a more positive outlook and called it a “great three days of testing” with the wet running proving “to be very helpful” in the learning process.

“The opening day was quite uncommon as we got a full day of rain, but it was nice to get some driving on the wet to understand how the car and tyres were behaving. It was productive,” he explained.

“On day two, I drove for the first time on this track on the dry, so there was a lot to discover in the first few sessions. I think I got up to pace quite well, even though we struggled a bit with the set-up. In the end, we improved quite a lot on the harder tyres, and I was happy with the balance. On the last day, the pace and feeling were not bad too.

“It was good to have a first baseline with the car, we now have time to analyse, and we will come back in two weeks.”

On the test’s combined timesheet, the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior ended up as only the 20th fastest driver out of 22 on outright pace. But the fact he was ahead of Bearman, who came sixth in F2 as a rookie last year, reflected how long Prema spent on set-up experimentation and learning the car rather than aiming for outright pace at the very end of sessions when the track was at its fastest.