Starting new F2 car a 'gamble' for drivers due to clutch complexity

Formula 2 drivers faced a "gamble" during starts in Bahrain last weekend due to the complexity of launching the championship's new car, according to DAMS driver Alexander Albon

Starting new F2 car a 'gamble' for drivers due to clutch complexity

Many drivers in the F2 field struggled to master getting off the line at the first round of the 2018 season last weekend, with some getting stuck on the grid or starting from the pitlane across the two races.

This is down to issues with finding the precise bite point of the clutch on the new car, and drivers then having to juggle the combination of releasing the clutch and applying power.

The new F2 2018 car is turbocharged, as opposed to its naturally-aspirated predecessor, the GP2/11.

Albon suffered a costly decline from his fifth-place starting spot in the sprint race, and as a result, despite taking fourth in the feature event, now trails standings leader Lando Norris by 27 points after just one round.

"Some of the other teams have it sussed out and know how to handle the clutches, explained Albon, who was only on a one-race deal with DAMS in Bahrain.

"Then there are other teams that are struggling a lot, like us, ART [Grand Prix] and Prema [Racing]. "It's almost like a gamble on the starts, we're either stalling or losing clutch spin.

"If I'm going lose six or seven places at every start, it's going to be a long old year."

Carlin's Norris, who won the feature race and executed two good starts across the Bahrain weekend, as did team-mate Sergio Sette Camara, believes the key to starting the new car well is precision.

"We've worked harder than most with our starts as a team," said the McLaren Formula 1 reserve.

"We've been able to be a bit more precise on how to get into that correct range to be able to have a good start. Some people just seem to find it a bit more difficult than us."

Another team to struggle was ART, as George Russell had a front row feature race starting spot turn into fifth place at the finish after wheel-spin ruined his getaway.

The reigning GP3 champion then couldn't get his car off the line in the sprint race.

"Driver error is what happened," Mercedes junior Russell said after the second event.

"Five or six guys stalled in race two, at least two guys [in the feature] - the cars are very tricky to get off the line, even coming out of the pitlane.

"The clutch is extremely sensitive.

"The travel is very short, which means the driver has to bring a lot of precision where they set the clutch and I just got it wrong today."

shares
comments
McLaren junior Norris: Carlin winning on F2 return a big achievement

Previous article

McLaren junior Norris: Carlin winning on F2 return a big achievement

Next article

Baku F2: Sette Camara fastest in free practice for Carlin

Baku F2: Sette Camara fastest in free practice for Carlin
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F2
Author Oleg Karpov
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance Plus

How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021

FIA F2
Jan 9, 2021
The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make Plus

The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make

The Ferrari Driver Academy earned a podium sweep in the first Formula 2 race of the new decade in Austria last weekend. The battle between 'the FDA five' is set to be one of the major subplots of the season, but who has the best F1 prospects for 2021?

FIA F2
Jul 8, 2020
The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong Plus

The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong

Dropped by his team in Japan and by Red Bull, Dan Ticktum's single-seater career seemed to be over last summer. But now he's on the Formula 2 grid with the reigning champion team, and he's a new protege of Williams. How did that happen?

FIA F2
Mar 20, 2020
The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe Plus

The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe

OPINION: In the latest in our series of features looking back the recently concluded 2010s, we recall one of the many sagas of the 2018 Formula 2 season, which featured unusual fines and an unsavoury clash between team-mates

FIA F2
Jan 3, 2020
The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status Plus

The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status

In the latest feature in our series looking back on the 2010s, we revisit Charles Leclerc's sensational Formula 2 season - where he strode among on-track highs and lows, as well as tragedy away from motorsport, to earn a place on the Formula 1 grid

FIA F2
Dec 26, 2019
Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series Plus

Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series

After the MotoGP-style Formula 1 support ladder was fully united for 2019, Bruno Michel and Ross Brawn share their views on the current state of Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 and explain why investment at junior levels should boost the top tier

FIA F2
Dec 13, 2019