Home Featured Martins returns to “missing a lot of pace” in races a week after F2 win

Martins returns to “missing a lot of pace” in races a week after F2 win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Alpine F1 Team

A week after winning at Barcelona, his first top-six finish of 2024, Victor Martins was back outside of the points in both Formula 2 races at the Red Bull Ring.

The ART Grand Prix driver started this year as one of the title favourites, having been the top rookie in 2023 with a win, nine other podiums and three poles. He came fifth in the standings and finished the season 53 points behind his title-winning team-mate Theo Pourchaire.

Halfway through the 2024 campaign he is already 96 points off the top, and while he maintained through the early rounds that he could still fight for the title he has less than half of the points of the driver who is 10th in the standings.

At the Red Bull Ring he was fifth fastest in practice, but sank to 13th in qualifying and from there made little progress. Coming 10th in the sprint race marked his sixth top-10 finish from 13 races in 2024, but earned him no points, and he was 11th in the feature race.

“The weekend started well in free practice. Our pace looked good, and we were consistently running in the top five and we had a lot of confidence coming from my first win of the season in Barcelona,” said Martins.

“Unfortunately, despite the pace continuing to be good, qualifying was tricky and we faced some issues which compromised our final result, putting us outside the top 10. The two races were tough in regard to performance, we seemed to be missing a lot of pace compared to others but we had a few good battles and lots of track time to help understand the car better and how I felt in the car.

“We need to focus on the details which will help us to maximise the weekend at future races. We have another opportunity this weekend in Silverstone. It is a circuit that I love, and it is where I got my first F2 win last season.”

Martins was only 14th fastest on long-run pace in both Red Bull Ring races, and despite the infrequency with which he has scored points this year he is actually the eighth fastest driver on average when it comes to race pace. He also has the eighth highest average starting position for feature races, despite being the 12th fastest driver on absolute pace so far this year.

ART GP’s struggles last weekend were not exclusive to Martins. His team-mate Zak O’Sullivan, who like Martins has only scored five times this year but has had nine top-10 finishes, was 12th in qualifying then ninth in both races. He was only the 20th fastest driver on long-run pace in the feature race, significantly slower than Martins.