Home Featured DAMS boss Charles Pic: “we have the capability” to win 2023 F2 title

DAMS boss Charles Pic: “we have the capability” to win 2023 F2 title

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

DAMS’ owner Charles Pic, a former Formula 1 driver, believes the team could return to title-winning form in Formula 2 this year after three tricky campaigns.

Pic took control of DAMS a year ago, buying the team from Olivier and Gregory Driot who had been in ownership of it since their team-founding father Jean-Paul Driot died in 2019.

Driot set up DAMS in 1988 along with Rene Arnoux, another French ex-F1 driver, and entered the team straight into F1’s primary feeder series International Formula 3000. It stayed in the paddock as the series was succeeded by GP2 and then F2.

“I think we have the capability [to win the teams’ title this year], but we are not the only ones,” Pic said in a rare public statement as he looked back on his first year owning the team and his expectations for the season ahead.

“There are three or four teams that can win the championship. The level of competition will be very high, so we will see how many points we have at the end of the season.”

When Pic took over, DAMS’ managing director Francois Sicard commented that it was “clearly the goal” to be in title contention for 2023 and highlighted the impact of retention of drivers and staff could have on performance.

DAMS loses the experienced Roy Nissany to a rival team for 2023 after two years together and only one podium, but retains Honda and Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa who as a rookie in 2022 took DAMS’ first two feature wins and poles since F2 moved to 18-inch tyres in 2020. In the three seasons since that switch, DAMS has often struggled with tyre warm-up, which for a long time compromised its qualifying performances, and has come eighth, eighth and sixth in the teams’ standings.

Iwasa’s team-mate will be Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc, the Ferrari junior stepping up after two winning years in Formula 3.

Pic admits “there was an initial period of adaptation as I got to know the team members I was not already familiar with” last year and that the team ‘started slowly’ with its F2 campaign before internal improvements led to it more frequently fighting for podiums.

“The objective for 2023 will be to have this consistency at every meeting and be able to always fight at the front,” said Pic, who predicts there will be “four or five drivers who can fight for the championship”.

His target for Iwasa is to be one of those, as “Ayumu has the talent to do it, and he proved it in 2022”, while the objective for Leclerc is “to progress as quickly as possible so he can compete at the front”.