Tyre warm-up emerged as the main challenge in Formula 2’s feature race in Melbourne, causing several drivers to slide off-track and into the grass after their pit-stops.
However, the out lap after fitting new tyres wasn’t the only critical point in the race, with the laps following safety car periods also becoming tense moments for the drivers as all three podium finishers told Formula Scout.
“My tyre at the beginning of the race was quite good with option, so I was able to keep pushing to the end of the stint. Also I had a good space,” said race winner Ayumu Iwasa.
“In the outlap and also after the safety car it was really difficult to keep the temperature. But I think it’s the same for everyone. I think there was a bit more solution be even better. So I think I need to improve it from my side as well. I need to check the data. I think the helpful thing was just I was leading the race, so I was able to control the pace in front of them.”
Pirelli selected the two middle compounds in its F2 range – the medium and soft – for the championship’s first visit to the temporary Albert Park track.
“It was really, really difficult to warm up the tyres, even yesterday,” said Theo Pourchaire, who finished second for ART Grand Prix. “It’s pretty cold here. All weekend was really cold and there was a bit of rain as well, the track was green again today and not a lot of rubber on it.
“After the pit-stop, I struggled a lot to warm up the front tyres. I was struggling a lot and Isack Hadjar tried to overtake me at that point. It was a big challenge, but the most important was to keep the car on the track and to stay calm, which is something I did and it’s very good.”
Iwasa’s DAMS team-mate and series rookie Arthur Leclerc, who finished in third place, was one of the drivers to visit the grass run-off at turn one.
“It was quite hard for me at the end of the pit-stop when we put the new [tyres], especially because we are coming from Bahrain and Jeddah that is really hot temperature.
“I mean at the end of the pit-stop, the first corner I barely managed to do it. I went in the grass, I locked both [front] wheels. It was really hard to put the tyres in temperature.
“Then after even doing the safety car, it was really hard to put the tyres in temperature. I think everyone struggled quite a lot because I saw many drivers doing a lot of waves. So it was not easy.”