Undoubtedly one of the fastest cars out on track last season, Invicta Virtuosi Racing are looking to put the lessons they learnt from an up-and-down 2022 campaign into practice this season. Retaining the services of Alpine junior Jack Doohan and welcoming Amaury Cordeel to the team, the British squad have two drivers dedicated to driving them back into title contention.
Whilst achieving three pole positions and three victories last year is nothing to be sniffed at, the stats don’t fully reflect the outright performance Invicta Virtuosi had throughout the 14 rounds. When things were going their way, few could touch Doohan. Misfortune denied them the valuable points their speed and racecraft merited, and the Australian concluded his debut season sixth in the Standings.
Meanwhile, Cordeel hops in to #15 car off the back of a huge development curve during his rookie season. Although it took some time for the Belgian driver to find his feet in the Championship, he steadily found confidence in himself and an upturn in results followed, with three top seven finishes in the final two rounds.
Adjusting well to his new surroundings, the completion of pre-season testing in Sakhir has given Cordeel a sense of optimism and the 20-year-old is already raring to hit the ground running in Round 1.
“I'm feeling pleased with the results of our pre-season testing and feel confident in our preparation for the first race. We've identified areas for improvement and made necessary adjustments, and I believe our hard work and dedication will pay off on race day.
“I'm loving working with the Virtuosi team! I've already learned so much and feel really good about being a part of this group. It's a great environment to be in and I'm excited for what's to come.”
Clocking in 332 laps across the three days of running, both drivers’ times were firmly in the mix with the rest of the field across both one-lap and race pace. However, given the variation in setups throughout the grid, teams won’t have shown their hand before the first meaningful session of the year – Qualifying around the Bahrain International Circuit.
Instead, Invicta Virtuosi’s time was well spent experimenting and developing their package with an eye to the opening round. Acknowledging how valuable this preparation time has been, Cordeel says he’s now focused on the finer details, which make the biggest difference given how tight the margins are in Formula 2.
“Working on our car has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding process. We've tried so many different things, and while some of them didn't work out, we've learned so much from each attempt. Now, we have a much better understanding of what works and what doesn't, and we know how to react quickly and effectively when things don't go according to plan.
“Through this process, we've also learned a lot about each other and how we can work together to overcome any obstacle. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish now that we're operating at our best.
“As we gear up for the upcoming season, our team's key preparations are focused on two main areas: driving the simulator and physical training. The simulator allows us to fine-tune our driving skills and familiarize ourselves with different tracks, so that we can be as prepared as possible for race day.
"At the same time, physical training is crucial to ensure that we're in top physical condition and ready to perform at our best. By focusing on these two key areas, we're confident that we'll be fully prepared and ready to take on any challenge that comes our way.”
Bracing themselves for the task ahead, Invicta Virtuosi know what it takes to hunt for the title. In their four seasons in the Championship, they’ve finished runners-up in the Teams’ Standings for three consecutive seasons. With their frontrunning foundation already well established and a revitalised line-up, all the parts are there for them to come out swinging in Sakhir.