Ayumu Iwasa was one of the late chargers through the field on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps, running the alternate strategy from P13 on the grid to finish seventh in the Feature Race.
The DAMS driver was in a reflective mood in the aftermath and believes that there were more points on offer had he gone more aggressive earlier on in the race.
Having had time to assess his drive following the Feature event, Iwasa said that his speed was good and that the team’s strategy paid off, but he’ll be working hard and examining the data to see where he can improve for next weekend.
“I don’t feel perfect because I had quite good speed and the strategy was good, but I think it was my improvement to make because I was stuck behind some drivers for quite a long time, then I lost a bit of potential on the tyre because I was following for so long. I think I should’ve done a more aggressive race, which meant overtaking more.
“Compared to Richard Verschoor, he was quicker than me, going medium and soft as well so we need to see the data and, as I said, I think overtaking was a bit too safe, this is my improvement to make but P7 is not too bad. We got some points but still, we need to improve some points.”
After Qualifying 13th on Friday, Iwasa said that the team had already chosen to go with the alternate strategy and had planned around how to make it work effectively.
While Free Practice was a stop/start affair with red flags curtailing the running time available to the drivers, the Japanese driver said it was clear that they would be going aggressive with its race plans for the Feature Race.
“From P13, we didn’t have any big risk to our position, so we were already out of the points. We had to be smart, and we needed to think about the strategy quite a lot. This time, it was quite clear for us. We didn’t need to be safe on the strategy and I think it was the right call. We were quick with our strategy so I’m happy about that.
“My feeling after yesterday was that the medium tyre wasn’t dropping off too much, but it was going away progressively. At the end of the race, I was still quicker than them, even on the older softs, because I was managing the tyre from the beginning of the stint which was good. But it was a bit too safe because I should’ve overtaken people a bit earlier and been a bit more aggressive. I was catching two or three cars ahead of me, I think I could’ve overtaken them if I had gone aggressive a bit earlier. I have a bit of frustration with my driving but still, that means I can improve from now, so that’s a positive.”
Formula 2 is back in action immediately at the weekend, visiting Zandvoort for the first time, though for Iwasa, it will be the second year in a row he has raced at the Dutch circuit.
The Red Bull junior believes that while his Formula 2 experience will be a vastly different one to that of last year in Formula 3, his familiarity with the circuit could pay dividends come race day. He was under no illusions though that an improved Qualifying performance will be required, with overtaking at a premium around the old-school circuit.
“Zandvoort will be really difficult in the F2 cars, especially in the race. It will be difficult to overtake. Even in F3 last year, it was not possible even though I had quite good speed. I did get a podium in race 1 last year, so I have confidence with the speed. Qualifying will be the most important thing, I will work with the team on that and with the engineers. But it’s a special track, big banking and very aggressive, it’s a tricky track for me, but it will be for everyone. I’m interested to see the track with the F2 car.”