For the first time in his career, ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard will line-up with the same team in the same championship for a successive season, though it’s all change around him, with a new teammate in Théo Pourchaire, and a new format to contest.
Entering his third year with ART in total, Lundgaard’s looking for more consistency from his sophomore season and hopes that the continuity he’ll get from sticking with ART could be the key to this, though he’s remaining open minded.
"I guess that’s the whole point of staying with the same team,” said Lundgaard on his drive to become more consistent. “It should have (that affect), but it’s up to me to do the job.
“I am not putting too much expectation on myself because I know in the back of my head that this is the first time that I’ve stayed with the same team in the same Championship for a second season. It’s exciting and it will be interesting to see what impact it has, because the work we’ve done together so far is good.
“I know where I need to improve, but I don’t actually know what affect staying with ART in F2 will have. I just know that it’s important I deliver my absolute max and that I improve on my weaknesses.
“I am excited and I’m happy to finally get started. We have had three days of testing together, which I didn’t have last year, so I am already ahead in my preparations compared to last season. I need to use that to my advantage. We need to be fast, and we need to be consistent.”
The Dane will be faced with a different dynamic this season. Rookie Pourchaire has joined him in the garage, replacing the departed Marcus Armstrong. Nearly two years his elder, Lundgaard will be expected to play the part of experienced teammate at ART.
It’s a role he’s enjoying so far, saying that he sees shades of himself in the French youngster.
“I was expecting the worst with a French team and a French driver,” laughed Lundgaard. “Théo’s a very straight forward guy, although he’s very young. I see myself in him in that time of my career and I’m excited to work with him - it’s important that we work together.
“He’s lacking a little experience, but he’s fast and he’s got potential. The tests here went well, we had good lap times in terms of speed, although there are still some things we need to sort out, but I think it’s going well.”
It’s been a case of so far, so good for Lundgaard, after the Alpine junior topped the pre-season tests in Sakhir.
Saying that he feels in “the best (shape) yet,” the Dane is still anticipating a tough weekend, well aware that the changes to the F2 format could prove to be a bit of a curveball. Albeit an exciting one.
“This weekend will be physically tough,” he continued. “The heat will play a part - I think it will be the warmest race I have done so far – and so will the added third race. Obviously with three races, two in one day, it is going to be quite physically tough for the drivers, but ultimately, we don’t actually know until we try it.
“The preparations so far have been good, so I am pretty confident, and I am quite looking forward to the format. It’s new and it’s a different challenge. I do think there will be some tactics to be played in the Sprint Race, but once again, it’s going to be a case of ‘we don’t know until we’ve experienced it.’
“It’s quite simple, the team want to win, win and win, and so do I. Obviously the Sprint Races will be important and if you can get a podium in one of those, that certainly helps your weekend, but the Feature Race is maximum points, and we’ll want to get that sorted as well.”