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F2 points leader Maloney refusing to think about title

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Zane Maloney says he is yet to start thinking about the Formula 2 title after maintaining his 15-point lead in round three.

The Rodin Motorsport driver won the season’s first two races at Bahrain, scored in both Jeddah races then in Melbourne was fifth in qualifying, a points-free 10th in the sprint race and third in the feature race.

“Yesterday should have also been a podium. I made a big mistake [going off], which lost me lots of places. So happy to get back on [the podium],” Maloney said after taking the seventh trophy of his F2 career in Australia.

Second place could have been his had he not been passed by Hitech GP’s Paul Aron on lap nine, when both pitted. After dropping to 13th and 14th, they then charged up to second and third.

“I thought that Paul was on the prime [compound tyres], so I wasn’t pushing hard,” Maloney admitted. “I was going to let him go. I didn’t push too well in turn six, and then going down the back straight he passed me and I see his purple tyres. Like ‘oh, come on’, so we lost a place. My bad. I should probably have asked the team what he’s on.

“My bad with that, my bad with going off, and then the second half of the race was really good from my side so I’m pleased with that.”

The tyre switch proved tricky for drivers, shown by poleman Dennis Hauger crashing out on his fresh rubber. Maloney reckoned it was because the track “was so cold”.

“It was very difficult to get the tyres up [to temperature],” he said. “When we came [out] the pits on the primes, I felt bad for Dennis because I think all of us almost did the same thing, the ones that stopped. I had a few massive moments as well.”

Maloney went off on lap six, losing him third place at the time, but kept it on track when finding the limit on his next tyres.

Although “satisfied” with his season so far and pleased his qualifying “is a lot better” than in 2023, Maloney is clear that he and Rodin “need to keep making steps forward”.

“I haven’t thought about the championship once, to be honest,” he revealed. “I think that the reason I’m doing a good job is because I’m focused on what we’re doing as a team. So if I were to ever think about the championship then you just drive differently. And even though you don’t think you are, it’s in the back of your mind that you are.

“I know already that if I want any chance of a Formula 1 seat in the future, I need to be winning races and being on the podium. If I’m top five each weekend and collecting points and I win the championship, that’s not enough to get into F1 nowadays. So I need to be consistently on the podium, and to do that I need to be aggressive.”