Home Featured F2 teams relished chance to “experiment” with new car at in-season test

F2 teams relished chance to “experiment” with new car at in-season test

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Formula 2 in-season testing was once again at Barcelona this year, and while the pace may not have looked representative for some teams, there was plentiful on-track learning for everyone.

There were three days of testing at Bahrain prior to the season opener there, a small number given it was the first running with the new Dallara F2 2024 car which everyone needed to get familiar with. Therefore the three days at Barcelona were of great importance either to turn the tide or consolidate the work done in the first three rounds.

Low track temperatures — especially in morning sessions — meant conditions were not representative of what is expected for Barcelona’s race weekend on June 21-23. It was also the first time teams had the low-downforce package available consisting of a smaller rear wing flap and a single-element front wing flap. So the focus was mainly on exploring different set-up configurations, as paddock figures explained to Formula Scout.

“We try to understand as best we can how the car works,” said MP Motorsport’s team manager Jeremy Cotterill. “It’s the next three days [after pre-season testing] to be able to experiment and try things. Basically all we’re doing is trying to gather as much information as we can.”

“We can predict from history what we’re likely to need at varying circuits,” he added about the low-downforce specification. “But with a new car, with a new aero package, you need to understand exactly, or as best as you can, how it works. So any running that we can do is useful.”

“This test isn’t really about results and speed,” admitted Hitech GP driver Paul Aron. “It’s more about ideas and thoughts that teams have and drivers have to try things out. There’s a lot of things that I’ve worked on during this test to improve on myself. Not so much on the driving, but more procedure-wise. In F2 you have pit stops, carbon brakes — which are really difficult to manage — the tyres, pit entries, pushing on cold tyres. There’s a lot of things you can work on and certainly being a rookie I’m still not perfect at these details.

“From the team side, I think every team has some ideas of things to try. The conditions are maybe not representative, but you still get an idea if what you’re trying is going in the right direction. So in that sense, I think this testing is still useful for everyone.”

According to Trident’s Richard Verschoor, testing was “an opportunity [for teams to] test different kind of items” that could not be tried out before on the three flyaway race weekends.

“It’s quite difficult to get it right because some top teams have been struggling in the beginning, ourselves as well in Bahrain. And then suddenly we made a big jump in Jeddah. So I think other top teams will also find now the right way to set up the car. But apparently it’s not as easy as the previous one.”