Shwartzman to address qualifying pace concerns after F2 test

Title contender Robert Shwartzman left the Formula 2 Championship in-season Barcelona test “not completely satisfied” admitting his qualifying pace needs to improve.

Shwartzman to address qualifying pace concerns after F2 test

The Ferrari Driver Academy member ended the three-day test ninth overall having posted his best outright lap time in Sunday’s morning session at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

Shwartzman was more than half a second adrift of the overall pacesetter Felipe Drugovich, driving for UNI Virtuosi, who posted a 1m27.945s benchmark.

The Russian labelled among the favourites for this year’s F2 title was happy with his race pace, but the 21-year-old left Barcelona with concerns surrounding his ability to generate an outright lap time.

To further outline his case, Shwartzman’s Prema Racing team-mate Oscar Piastri ended the test second overall, a mere 0.160s shy of Drugovich’s pace.

Robert Shwartzman, Prema Racing, Felipe Drugovich, Uni-Virtuosi and Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing

Robert Shwartzman, Prema Racing, Felipe Drugovich, Uni-Virtuosi and Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While the championship is not due to race at Barcelona this year, Shwartzman says he needs to analyse and address his qualifying pace issues ahead of next month’s F2 round at Monaco, a track where grid position is crucial.

"Unfortunately, I'm not completely satisfied with how the test went. The main issue was the qualifying pace which was still not good enough for me,” said Shwartzman, who sits eighth in the F2 standings after a challenging Bahrain season opener.

“I need to understand what is going on and the reasons we couldn't manage better lap times in the performance runs.

“The race pace was good and I think we are quite strong there. I'm also happy with the race management, and the simulation was very positive.

“The starts were mixed, the grip level was pretty low but we definitely made some good ones and the start management was good as well. So the focus is on qualifying.

“We have to analyse and understand the issue because we definitely need to improve.

“The next race is in Monaco and it's very important to have a proper qualifying there.”

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Meanwhile, rookie team-mate Piastri confirmed the test wasn’t all plain sailing on his side of the Prema garage.

"It was a bit of an up-and-down test which started quite down I would say, but we had a very successful last day,” said Piastri, a winner in Bahrain last month.

“We rectified some of the things that weren't as we wanted, and our pace got very strong so it was nice to end on a good note like that.

“We tested quite a lot of things. Some worked, some didn't, but I'm happy that we found a good solution and we seem quick. It's positive we made the most of this last chance we had to test for this season.”

F2 will return to action at the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix for round two on 20-22 May.

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