Enzo Fittipaldi has been experiencing somewhat of a break-out season in Formula 2 this year. The Charouz Racing System driver was slow to open the campaign but has since found his form and is now fighting for the Rookie of the Year honours.

Fittipaldi heads into the final round of the 2022 season currently sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, just nine points off P3 and top-ranked rookie Logan Sargeant. The progress made since the beginning of the season has been sizeable, and the Brazilian is one of the stand-out performers of the year.

Ahead of the final round at Yas Marina, Fittipaldi reflected on what has changed this year, things that have clicked into place and what you can expect from him for the final two races of the Championship.

“I think it was a really good beginning to the season,” he explained. “It was a bit difficult because I was still recovering from my accident in the first round, so physically, I still wasn't 100%. But as the races went on, it’s gotten better and better, and the team as well. We're working really well together, maximising the result every race week and we got the podium. Ever since that podium, we've made a big step, so I'm really happy about it. In Barcelona, we finished twice in the points and in Monaco, twice in the top five.

“To be honest, we’re really fast always in Qualifying. At Imola, we just had a little issue in the pitstop and then afterwards, my lap was a bit messy, but we should have qualified there already in the top eight because we were really competitive. In the races we had really good pace, especially in the Feature Race. I started 15th and we finished second. It was a good result. Our pace was probably the fastest on track. I was happy about that and to get that podium in Imola after everything that happened last year, that was like a dream. Really it was a dream. It was amazing to get that podium and spray some champagne for the whole team.”

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Since Imola, Fittipaldi has appeared in the top three a further five times with three of those results coming in Feature Races. In fact, Fittipaldi has been in the points in every single Feature Race since Silverstone back in July, six rounds ago. It’s a points-scoring streak that the Brazilian is very proud of and something he has been targeting since getting more comfortable in the car early on.

“I want to keep a clean mind, keep it just like I've been doing every other race weekend. We go in there and do what we have to do. And just try and maximise the situation. Free Practice will be really important, trying to get as many laps as possible and minimise mistakes from my side. The more laps I do the better it is for me because I’m learning, and I think I've gotten up to speed and have pretty good results. My goal is to continue in the top 10 because consistency is critical. We've shown that this season. We've finished every Feature Race in the top 12 since Bahrain. We just need to continue being consistent. Always trying to learn something new. Every time I go out, I continue developing my skills on track.”

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The current break between the penultimate round in Monza and the finale in Abu Dhabi is the longest break in what has been a compact and busy season. The round in Italy was the final part of a triple-header that brought Fittipaldi back into rookie of the year contention, tied on points with three other drivers.

Quick-fire races has been another factor that has helped the Charouz driver develop a better understanding and working relationship with his team. With there being an understanding stemming back to his F3 days with the team, Fittipaldi says that he and Charouz have been able to build trust and profited from stronger results.

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“It's my first season in Formula 2 so I was still learning and adapting to the car. I think having a lot of race weekends back-to-back-to-back and not having a lot of break in between, you're always driving at least twice every month and I like that a lot. We're able to build as a team, keep moving forward. It's not like last year where you would have a race. Sometimes there's a break of two months until the next race. I really like the format this year. I think it's really good.

“I think we as a team work very well. I think it's really important that the driver has their relationship with the team because that is crucial. It's been very good, and I think ever since those three days of testing in Barcelona, it's really good for me. I was able to try new things with my driving, see what works and what doesn't. In those three days, we did a lot of work with my engineer and the team, and we worked well together. I was able to see what works with my driving, with the car and we've just grown since then. The atmosphere in the team is amazing and we can continue like this.”

It hasn’t just been a case of learning the Formula 2 machinery he has at his disposal. Recovering from his crash during last year’s Jeddah Feature Race has been an uphill battle, but one that Fittipaldi now feels he has conquered.

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With confidence now back to full levels and with the lessons taken in life from the crash that took him out of the final round in Yas Marina last season, Fittipaldi is back to his best having worked hard at it all season long.

“The tests in the beginning of the year, they were pretty good considering that it was my first time back in the car after the accident. But we knew what we had to work on and that was our Qualifying pace. Because our race pace has always been strong. I think we've got that sorted out since Barcelona. Now I feel good and confident on one lap and I think we can have more confidence that we can get a top 10 in Qualifying.

“At the beginning of the season, if you look at a data graph, physically it was difficult because I’d just had the accident, so I was down at the bottom. Ever since then, it's just been continuous upward growth. We’re just getting stronger, and the goal is to not plateau and stay there. Our goal is to continue with this rhythm and be fighting for wins.”

With just one round to go and nine points between him and a top three finish in the Drivers’ Championship, Fittipaldi says that after a season of toiling away he is now ready to fight consistently at the front.

It would be a poetic achievement should he finally claim his maiden Formula 2 victory, just shy of a calendar year since his Jeddah crash that transformed his career.

“I think the baseline for where we are now is top 10 Qualifying and then to fight for points in the race. I’m 100% sure we have the pace to do that. It’s just about consistency because there's gonna be some races where we're gonna get some podiums, we just always have to be there. If you’re always in the top 10 every race weekend, you’re always in the mix and that's very important and that starts in Qualifying. When we’re able to qualify in the top 10, we'll be fighting for a lot of wins and podiums because we have very good race pace. We just have to put everything together and keep carrying on this good momentum.”