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Vips “wasn’t looking forward to” F2 testing at Bahrain

by Ida Wood

Photo: LAT Images / Joe Portlock

Juri Vips has admitted he “wasn’t looking forward” to Formula 2 testing at Bahrain, but ended up enjoying his days at the circuit that hosts the 2021 season opener.

As in 2020, teams had three days at the track to prepare their drivers and learn any new features in the series. In this case, it was the introduction of a modified version of the 18-inch hard compound tyre that Pirelli introduced last year.

Hitech GP driver Vips, who debuted in F2 mid-season in 2020 and picked up a podium from his eight starts, was sixth fastest in this month’s Bahrain test and third on the long-run pace calculations made by Formula Scout.

“The testing was very good,” said Vips.

“It wasn’t really reflected in what appeared on paper but it was very good and generally I am very very happy with our preparation.

“These are not normal circumstances, everyone has done six days of testing in Bahrain and I think everyone is well prepared and the racing will be very close. The rest of the season will not be like this as we normally have little track time.”

Bahrain was the venue of last year’s three-day post-season test, where Vips got to join Hitech’s F2 setup for the first time, and he was sixth fastest then too.

“I actually do enjoy the track. I wasn’t looking forward to it and the winter testing was the first experience for me but it seems I am fast and I do enjoy it,” he added, before referencing what to expect from F2’s new three-race format.

“I’m not entirely sure about the new schedule. I think it’s quite OK to have three races but what might not work so well is that you have the top eight scoring points and the top 10 is reversed.

“So it is possible that drivers will let others past in the lower placings to get a better grid position, we’ll see, that’s my only concern.”