2024 FIA Formula 2 Round 1 Post Sprint Race Press Conference

FIA Formula 2: Welcome back to Bahrain everybody and it’s time for the press conference with the top three finishers in today’s FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race. In third place we have Josep María Martí for Campos Racing, second is Jak Crawford for DAMS Lucas Oil and your race winner is Zane Maloney from Rodin Motorsport. Zane a win from P8 and you looked in total control once you got into the lead, what was the secret today?

Zane Maloney: It was an amazing race, of course it started with a great start and then a good first two laps. I always put my car in the right place which was good. After that to be honest I was happy to settle in my position and try to save the tyres a bit. While saving the tyres I was still keeping up so then I decided to just go for it, get in the lead and think about the tyres after that which I did. It worked out very well. The team gave me a great car so that is the reason.

FIA Formula 2: Well, let’s talk about highlights of the race for you, surely the move on Enzo Fittipaldi around the outside of Turn 12 must have been up there as one of them.

Maloney: I came out of T11 on the inside, and I wasn’t really looking for it but then I saw it was on and I had to go for it. I know Enzo is a very respectful driver, so I knew he was a hard racer, but he is not just going to force me off the track which is why I tried for it. I mean it was on the edge but it was great.

FIA Formula 2: Yes it was spectacular to watch. You will be starting third tomorrow, given the form you have shown today, does it give you confidence that you can fight for back to back wins this weekend?

Maloney: I mean that’s always the goal; I didn’t think I would win today but the plan was to try and win tomorrow. Every day is different so we just need to look at the data and see what we can still do better, try to improve for tomorrow. For sure starting third I need to have a good start again and go into the race how I did today. The goal is to win tomorrow for sure.

FIA Formula 2: Good luck tomorrow, congratulations today. Jak moving on to you, second place, it looked like quite hard work at times having to get your elbows out. Are you satisfied with P2?

Jak Crawford: Yeah, I think to start the season it is always good to start high, so you are not chasing results throughout the season. For sure we wanted to win today, we just didn’t quite have the pace compared to Zane. I struggled a bit early with the balance and I had to take some reserve quite early in the race and managed the gap to Zane. Eventually I realised I wasn’t going to catch Zane so then I had to focus on making sure I had enough in the tyres to fend off any attack from third. Tomorrow will be a completely different race so we need to adjust and focus on tomorrow.

FIA Formula 2: There was some really strong defensive driving from you at times, just how hard is it to balance that, in terms of not taking too much out of your tyres and being aggressive against someone else?

Crawford: Yeah it’s really, really tricky. We saw in the F3 race the guys that battled dropped away and the guy in third won. It was a bit the same, I was trying not to battle Victor too hard, obviously he was pushing quite a bit and then seeing that DRS was quite strong, I just tried to keep it cool as much as possible and not push too much.

FIA Formula 2: That’s also your first race with DAMS Lucas Oil under your belt for this season, how have you found the transition?

Crawford: It's been great with the team, we work really well so far I think it’s a really good place for me. They have a good understanding of the new car as well so that is another positive and it seems to be going really well at the moment.

FIA Formula 2: Great stuff and thank you very much and well done today. Coming to you Pepe, a podium on your Formula 2 debut and you sounded pretty happy on the team radio after, just how good did it feel?

Josep María Martí: Well obviously it feels really good. I didn’t really expect to be on the podium today, to be honest I was really disappointed yesterday with my quali. Second run I just left too much on the table so P11 was not where we wanted to be. After the first few laps today, I had a really good start which I was quite surprised at to be honest, I didn’t expect to have a really good start. First few laps were good. I tried to more or less manage my tyres and be intelligent. Not make any ridiculous dive bombs. After everybody more or less got into position I stayed in my place and tried to keep my tyres alive for as long as possible. Then I just slowly made my way through, I think I passed four or five drivers in the last 10 laps so obviously it was really satisfying to see that but I am not completely satisfied as if I could had done a little bit of a better job we could have fought for P2. There is still a lot to gain but I think it is a really good start.

FIA Formula 2: You gained even more places than Zane going from 11th to 3rd. I know you were shocked to learn where he started from, did you expect you have such strong race place given you are still learning about this type of car and this type of category?

Martí: Yeah we expected to have good race pace. To be fair we got a little bit unlucky in the test. We had Day 1 issues, Day 2 issues and so we only really got fair running in Day 3. Towards the end we knew that our race pace was our biggest strength and I think we maximised the results. I think the basics was done really well in the test and it proved today. The team has a really good understanding of the car, it's good to see that everybody’s work has paid off because they have worked really hard. I felt like I had let down the team yesterday and today I think I did a good job, or a good enough job to pay them back.

FIA Formula 2: Just talk us through a few of those fights that you had out there, especially in the last 10 laps. I think the one with your teammate made it on to team radio, were you surprised with how that one played out?

Marti: I mean I was more surprised that the team told me that we weren’t going to fight, that’s what they told me. I was like ‘that’s surprising’ I didn’t expect that. I got to Isack and he didn’t really defend into Turn 1 because I more or less sent it trying to get the DRS into Turn 1. He tried to get my position back really well, he set it on the inside of T6 and I just had to send it round the outside. From then on I felt like I had a bit more in the tyres.

FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much. Zane coming to you for one last one. A new generation of car for everyone to get used to this season, how did you find it in the race today?

Maloney: From my side I mean it’s all quite similar to the old car, I know for the team it’s quite different to set it up and get it working like the old car but how I am driving it is almost the same. It’s not much different to the old one, for sure we still can improve quite a lot. I think through the year everyone will be developing the car and getting faster but for now everything is quite similar.

FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much