With a length of just 4.318km, and only 10 corners, there is precious little room for mistake in Qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, says Pedro Piquet. But this won’t faze the F2 rookie, whose focus is on delivering clean laps on his return to competitive action.
The Charouz racer was speaking ahead of his debut in FIA Formula 2, having made the step up from F3, where he finished fifth in 2019. The Brazilian doesn’t expect it will take him long to get back to speed with racing, having maximised his training regime in the off-season.
The Brazilian also says he will benefit from his previous experiences in junior formula, where the break is always longer than it would be in Formula 1, and F2, with less testing time.
“I don’t feel like the break was too long,” he explained. “I have prepared myself a lot on the physical side, and I have also been driving a lot of go-karts, so that when I came back, I wouldn’t feel it so much.
“I think that we are kind of used to it as well. We don’t have many testing sessions in F2 and F3, so we always need to come out of the breaks and be on it straight away. I have already been doing this for a few years and I don’t think it will be a problem.”
The F2 season starts with an Austrian double header, with Rounds 1 and 2 both taking place in Spielberg. Piquet finished sixth and 15th in the two races at the Red Bull Ring in F3 last season, and took a podium there back in 2018, in the old GP3 series. He says it’s a track that he enjoys, albeit one with varying challenges.
“It is a very nice track,” he continued. “The times here are always really close, so it is very important to have clean laps and not make any mistakes, because a small mistake can destroy your Qualifying.
“It will be a bit different with tyre degradation too, as we have both the hard and the soft tyres. I don’t think I have really used the hard tyre here before, so I think it will last well and we will be looking at how we can best use both tyres with our race strategy.”
Piquet took 16th in Free Practice earlier today, a solid first outing in the F2 machine, and on the new 18-inch Pirelli rims. Discussing his aims for the campaign, Piquet explained why he isn’t putting too much emphasis on his early results.
“My main focus, just like it was in F3, is always to have a clean weekend and to put the work together, and in the end, the results will follow if all of that works. That is pretty much my goal, and I don't want to think too much of the results right now. I want to think about the car itself, the new package and how I can maximise it in Qualifying and in the race.
I don't want to think too much of the results right now. I want to think about the car itself, the new package and how I can maximise it in Qualifying and in the race.
“I was quite happy with the car in the pre-season tests, so we will be picking up from there. I think we have got a good setup for the new rims, which are obviously a bit different. We are quite confident, but of course we need to wait for the race and see if it adapts for the track.
“I think for the rookies, the change of rims may well, because it is new for everyone. People who have a bit more experience can't really use what they know with the old tyre, so I think for the rookies, like myself, it is a bit of a help.”
Piquet and the rest of the field will return to the track for Qualifying around the scenic Red Bull Ring today at 5pm (local time).