Home Formula 2 Saturday night data analysis led Fittipaldi to first F2 podium of 2023

Saturday night data analysis led Fittipaldi to first F2 podium of 2023

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull

Enzo Fittipaldi’s second place finish in the Baku Formula 2 feature race rounded off what he described as a “very important weekend”.

It was the Brazilian’s first podium of the 2023 and his first with Rodin Carlin after a difficult start to the year, his first in the colours of Red Bull.

“I was coming into the the fourth round with not having a great start to the season. The first three rounds I only scored nine points, so this weekend was very important for me,” he said.

“I scored good points yesterday [in the sprint race] and today as well, so I’m very happy about that. The team did an amazing job today.

“We were struggling with the pace yesterday, so we sat down last night, we stayed very late looking at data, what I could do better in my driving and what we learned in the sprint race to improve the car for today.

“The car was flying today. We were really quick. I had some good battles with Theo in the last couple of laps and I was really happy about the race today.”

Fittipaldi explained that a “more aggressive” approach was key to his result.

“The asphalt from last year to this year changed. It’s a lot smoother. So we were expecting yesterday to have more thermal degradation and all this, and took it easy on the driving a little bit.

“We noticed that when the tyres came back, they were basically brand new. So basically today was just flat out every lap.”

Fittipaldi dropped to third behind ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire at the beginning of the race and lost contact with the virtual leading group after pitting one lap earlier. However, he chased the Sauber junior down and eventually passed him with five laps to go.

“I was not actually planning to overtake him there in turn three. I was planning to wait and try and get him into turn one the following lap. But I got tucked in behind and the slipstream got really strong with the DRS and I just carried a lot more momentum under braking.

“I think we braked at the same point, but I was still coming in with a lot more speed. And around the outside he gave me room. We both, I think, respect each other and we fought well there on the track and it was a good overtake. He did a similar overtake on me in the first laps at turn three.”

Pourchaire explained: “I tried to go in the inside, but he had the DRS. He was quicker with the slipstream and DRS. I was not very, very confident to brake really late. It was really dirty.

“That part of the track is very dirty, so I didn’t want to do a stupid mistake. Then I for sure, as soon as we were side by side, I gave him enough room and it was a nice battle.”