Ahead of the new 2024 F1 season, Formula 2 teams got their first taste of the new F2 car today at a shakedown at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
Only one car per team was used, and 20 drivers confirmed for the 2024 season were able to get some mileage under their belt. The main focuses of this shakedown were on reliability and on the teams learning how to operate the new car, with six hours of running across the day.
Under clear skies and in cold temperatures, Van Amersfoort Racing was first in line to hit the track at 9am local time, with Enzo Fittipaldi behind the wheel on Pirelli Hard tyres.
The rest of the field followed shortly, with Invicta Racing the first team to complete a lap, courtesy of Kush Maini, in the first 30 minutes of the morning session.
A total of 286 laps and 1330 kilometres were completed before the lunch break, as Invicta Racing achieved the most mileage with 38 laps. Teams were able to complete long runs, the longest of which being 13 laps.
The pitlane reopened at 14.00 local time in warmer conditions. DAMS Lucas Oil’s Juan Manuel Correa was the first one out of the garages. It was another busy session and when the flag dropped the teams had completed 363 laps in the afternoon. PREMA Racing’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli achieved the most laps with 53. More long runs were carried out in the afternoon session, with the longest one coming in at 13 laps.
Overall, the teams achieved 649 laps, totalling 3018kms of running throughout the day. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): “The first goal of this shakedown was to have a clean session with no issues, and that’s what we achieved. We had a good run plan to get a first feeling of how the car is handling in corners and how it behaves.
“It was so nice to get back behind the wheel! The first feeling of the car is that it does not change a lot compared to last year’s, so I will be able to put my experience to good use for the new season.
“Everything went fine with no reliability issues. It’s a very positive start. “Today was also about checking the aerodynamics because that’s the biggest change compared to the previous car, and to start working on set-up that will be relevant for when we go to Bahrain. We also checked that everything is working properly on the car.
“Of course, the goal is to go step-by-step, not damage the car and make the most out of the track time to develop and test different things, but I pushed also! I like it when straight away, you can push, you get the confidence. Honestly, I’m happy. It’s the first morning of the new season and it went well. I brought the car to the limit at some point, and I could feel I have a good car under me.
“We are in a good position ahead of pre-season testing. We have data to analyse, we will go further in our development. We will keep working with the team. I’m ready!” FIA Formula 2 Technical Director Pierre-Alain Michot: “The purpose of this shakedown was for the teams to understand how the new car operates, to make sure that all systems are working fine together and to understand how everything behaves. We are quite happy with the running achieved today. The teams have been able to complete a lot of mileage which is a good first step.
“The first milestone was reached with all the cars hitting the track this morning when the lights turned green. It was important to see them straight out of the box, it was quite an emotional moment. And the second positive step was having them all return to the pits without any issue. There have been no red flags, which means that all cars have performed as expected while the teams are learning how to work with this new machine.
“There are still a few little things to adjust ahead of the first official test session, but that’s normal. With eleven teams, there are eleven different ways of working. This enables us to learn even more about this car. We could already correct a few things for the afternoon session, but there are still some adjustments to make before the first race of the season, but we’re not far from what we need.
“Next step will be the three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain, with all 22 cars, before the opening race of 2024, and I cannot wait to be on the starting grid!”