It can be tough to tell who has hit the ground running and who might need to be working a little bit harder between testing and round one, but at DAMS Lucas Oil, 2024 began on a positive note.

Jak Crawford was inside the top three twice across the test, his pace looking competitive albeit with the caveat that nobody will be revealing their full hand during pre-season. Team Principal Yannick Hubert opened up on the team’s test, positing that it had been a tough but useful few days around the Bahrain International Circuit.

“It was a bit difficult for the team because we had to discover the car,” he explained. “Day one was obviously not usable due to the rain so from that point, we decided to collect the maximum amount of data that we could to discover how the car is.

“The engineers want to understand how the aerodynamics work because it’s a brand-new car and a new floor. We didn’t know much about it, so we took a lot of measurements, trying to sort out what will be the most efficient way to run the car. And that was testing more or less.

“It’s early stages but it looks like our baseline isn’t too bad. We were second on two occasions during the test so that was positive.”

Correa has brought a wealth of experience with him to DAMS Lucas Oil
Correa has brought a wealth of experience with him to DAMS Lucas Oil

Juan Manuel Correa makes up the other half of the DAMS Lucas Oil lineup in 2024 and brings plenty of F2 experience with him to the French team.

While Crawford’s times were the eye-catching plus points for them, Correa’s knowledge of the previous generation of F2 car has been hugely useful in aiding the team nail down a setup baseline for the new 2024 machine.

Ensuring that they have a strong understanding of how the car reacts to setup tweaks and nailing down the ideal performance window could pay dividends in the early races this year. DAMS will be undertaking an extensive period of work on this aspect ahead of round one according to Hubert.

“On JM’s side, he has the experience and could feel the good performance of the car. He feels that there’s much more downforce than there was previously, which is a new way the car achieves its performance. So we should see some quick times in 2024.

READ MORE: Crawford happy with progress as DAMS Lucas Oil finish “very positive” Sakhir test

“We faced some technical challenges with the new car, some things we had to adapt to and then make sure was all sorted out for the first race. That’s what we’re working on and looking at implementing now at the workshop ahead of round one.”

Looking up and down the pitlane, DAMS feels that they have made a decent start to the year but as always at this stage in the season, it’s far too early to tell where they sit in the competitive order.

The focus was very much inward during the three-days in Sakhir in order to ensure they’re as prepared as possible for the opening weekend and beyond.

Crawford looked quick around the Sakhir International Circuit across the whole test
Crawford looked quick around the Sakhir International Circuit across the whole test

“Most of the time we are checking what the others are doing in terms of race pace, but everyone will be hiding something to a point, so it’s difficult to know where everyone is.

“With a new car it’s better to focus on what we’re doing, what we want to achieve and how we can achieve it. Later on, we can look at whether we went in the right direction.”

And so, the French team with the all-American lineup has plenty of potential looking at their pace over the course of the three days.

Crawford’s 1:41.626 in the afternoon of day two was the second-quickest time across the whole of the test and he was a very happy figure in the paddock after the conclusion of the event.

They won’t be resting between now and race one though, as both drivers are set to report to the team’s workshop for final preparations. The pairing have had no issues in their first months as DAMS drivers, and Hubert has been very pleased with their progress so far.

READ MORE: Jak Crawford joins Aston Martin Driver Development Programme

“They are good friends, knew each other before being paired at DAMS and they get along well, which is good. It’s a good atmosphere in the team.

“It’s been really good. From my side, only the results count so it’s like the saying in F1, when the flag drops, the games stop. It’s exactly like that for us. They work hard, they know they have to, and they’ve appreciated that.

“We work open book so they know lots of things, have learned a lot and will be at the workshop this week doing different tests and simulation work, but still, the results are the final answer and on that it’s so far, so good.”