Eagerly awaiting Formula 2’s return to action in less than a month’s time, Ayumu Iwasa is the latest star of the 2022 grid to talk us through a key weekend – or in this case a run of them.
Seeing it as a turning point this season, the DAMS driver reflected on the middle stint of his rookie season and how his experiences in Monte Carlo, Baku, Silverstone and Spielberg set off a chain of events that would lead to the top step of the podium in Le Castellet.
“This year has been quite a big season for me. Silverstone was quite a good moment for me because the result was great that weekend. Although the mechanics had a mistake with the pit stop which I was not happy about because I was running around P4 during the Feature Race, after having had a podium in the Sprint Race. I missed out on a good result with that mistake, but I was not so angry about it.
“Until that moment, I was making a lot of mistakes and I was missing a good result. So, after that race I was thinking about how we could improve our performance and potential because he had pretty good speed and performance in the car. We discussed this as a team and then in Austria, we had quite a bad weekend because of the wet conditions in the Feature Race. Even though I had good pace, we missed out on a result with the strategy.
“We continued to focus on our performance and then finally, we won in Paul Ricard! I think if we hadn’t had bad moments in Monaco, Baku and Silverstone, we wouldn’t have won the race in Le Castellet because we were learning a lot of things and we became stronger than we were at the beginning of the season.
“Driving-wise I learnt a lot from Monaco and Baku. For example, in Monte Carlo I didn’t do a good lap earlier than my last lap, where I got a yellow flag on my final push and a penalty. Then in Baku, I made a mistake in Qualifying and crashed, having been in P1 until that moment. From that moment onwards, I was focused on not trying to do a perfect job, but to not make mistakes, finish the race and find my average potential.
“When I did that in Silverstone and Spielberg, everything didn’t come together, and we were still missing the results. The team and I worked to put it all together, I was doing my job and improving. The mechanics were working quite hard as well, the pitstops were always quick with no mistakes at all – that's why I could win the race in Paul Ricard for sure!
“In the factory, we are always together and speaking about everything, not only my driving performance but also what we can improve in the car, the strategy and setup. Thinking about the setup, sometimes it can be a bit too much for the driver, but for me I’m driving the car, so we have to improve that together.
"On the driving side, I was improving progressively but I needed good advice from my engineers, who would give me some ideas and I would try everything, taking the parts that worked and leaving those that didn’t, so I continued to get stronger.”