Thoughts from Vesti, Doohan and Daruvala

FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Jeddah. In third place, Jehan Daruvala for MP Motorsport, in second place, Jack Doohan for Invicta Virtuosi Racing, and taking his second win in FIA Formula 2, Frederik Vesti for PREMA Racing. Fred, an incredible race for you, just how confident were you coming into that one?

Frederik Vesti: I think yesterday we had a good race, which gave us a bit of confidence. We scored our first points of the Championship. I would say I was not 100% confidence because we weren’t on pole or at the front. I had a lot of work to do to win this race, but after we got going, I had a really good start and we saw that we had good potential for this race. We had a good pitstop, we were able to pressure Martins into a mistake, he spun, I got the lead and kept it. So yeah, a good race.

FIA Formula 2: Can we talk about the pace of the car, it seems much better here than in Bahrain last time out. What have you done to the car?

Vesti: I think even from FP we were really fast, P1 and P2 in FP. I struggled a bit more in Quali but already yesterday, we were fast in the race. I think some tracks you’re just faster, some tracks a bit slower. But of course, we need to aim to be fast at every track. But it was clear we were fast this weekend.

FIA Formula 2: Now Fred, you’ve already mentioned the moment when you took the lead from Victor, can you also talk us through that moment at Turn 1, Turn 2 where you overtook your teammate Ollie Bearman?

Vesti: That came a bit out of nowhere. I knew they were going to fight quite hard and Ollie would definitely not just give up and let Victor overtake. Then he got pushed wide a bit and ended up with a tough fight, I came past him and he left me good room, it was a fair fight. Then I was just trying to overtake Victor.

FIA Formula 2: We heard on the radio after the race, “Welcome home.” You’re back at PREMA for the first time since F3, just how are you finding it, you seem very settled already?

Vesti: Yeah, I won the European Regional Championship with them, I was the most winning driver in F3 in my rookie year. This race really gives me flashbacks to Monza in 2020 where I won the race from P10 on the grid. PREMA and myself just have a really good relationship. They give me what I need to succeed so that’s why I’m with them this year.”

FIA Formula 2: Fred, very well done to you. Jack let’s come to you then. You’re back on the podium, do you feel like this is the moment you’re kick-starting 2023?

Doohan: Points-wise yes. To get some solid points, 18 – it’s obviously good. The top guys in the Championship didn’t score so great today so to be up there and to get higher up on the board, consolidate myself for the year, it’s great. I’ve been struggling to find confidence with the car. We’ve had quite a few fundamental issues so far this season which has been quite a big shock to the system for all of us because it hasn’t been in our control. Trying to eliminate that every time we go out on track – still coming into today, I didn’t have any confidence at all unfortunately but hoping that with things that we’re changing, we’re going to reinstate that. We did a good race, did the maximum we could. I don’t think I had the outright pace but to finish P2, finally a little bit of good luck, I’m happy to be here.

FIA Formula 2: How much more confident are you with the car now than you were last time out in Bahrain?

Doohan: For sure, quite a lot more confident. I still don’t have that same feeling that I had at the end of last year. But I think that’s only a positive. We showed strong pace in parts of today. It feels bittersweet, I’m not happy and the team’s not happy for us to be in this position. I think when we get things sorted, we’re going to be very hard to beat.”

FIA Formula 2: Jack, had Fred not passed you in the pits and you’d been leading that race, do you think you’d have had the pace to stay there?

Doohan: In all honesty, I think Fred would have probably come past me. On the prime stint they had quite strong pace. Potentially it could have saved a time loss had it not happened in the pitstop. Obviously not ideal, I’ve been struggling a bit with my brakes over the first few rounds, had a really bad lock-up on the out-lap on the front right which I would say hindered my pace quite a bit on the primes, so I struggled to keep up with Frederik. When he overtook Ollie, he had very strong pace again. It wasn’t amazing, I came back at him at the end of the stint and we weren’t too bad but there’s still quite a bit to work on to make sure we could’ve won that race.

FIA Formula 2: One final one, next time out you’re going to be racing on home turf in Melbourne. How special is that going to be and is that going to be the first car race you’ve done in Australia?

Doohan: Yeah, it’ll be the first time I’m ever driving a race car in Australia. It’s going to be really cool, I’m really looking forward to it. Being in Melbourne, if you’re thinking about the home race, it’s still two hours in a plane from where my home is in Australia, but to be there and the crowd to be Aussie and not just English, to have that behind me – I’m sure the vibe and the atmosphere will be superb and I can’t wait to start there.

FIA Formula 2: Thanks and well done today. Jehan let’s bring it back onto this Feature Race. Another podium for you this weekend. What a two days it’s been.

Daruvala: Yeah, yesterday I would say I was disappointed that I didn’t win but today I’m happy to be third. I didn’t quite have the same pace that I did yesterday. I just stayed out of trouble, picked up from the mistakes from the other guys. It feels good to be in the front this weekend. Me and Jack were pretty much fighting for last in Bahrain, and now we’re fighting for the podium. It definitely feels good and I can go into Australia with a bit more confidence.

FIA Formula 2: The crazy world of Formula 2. Just tell us where the car was not quite as good today as it was yesterday.

Daruvala: The car was still good. Towards the end of the stint especially it was very good, but I had two warnings – I hit the wall twice and then I said I would just settle for the podium. It was getting close and it was one of those things where you hit the wall and you look at the steering wheel and in my mind it’s bent, but it’s still straight. I didn’t have the race-winning of Frederik but maybe I could’ve come second if I did a better job myself. The car was good, no complaints, two podiums in two days and three podiums in a row in Jeddah, obviously this track works quite well for me. Hopefully we can take this on into Melbourne.

FIA Formula 2: A very well done to you.