The 2024 FIA Formula 2 season has had two action-packed rounds of racing in Sakhir and Jeddah, and next up is Melbourne. Drivers and teams will be battling it out at the famous Albert Park street circuit, and to preview the weekend’s action, we thought who better to talk to than six-time F2 race-winner and home hero, Jack Doohan.

The Alpine F1 Reserve Driver gives his thoughts on the season so far, what to expect across Round 3 and what makes Melbourne so unique.

FIA Formula 2: From the outside looking in, what have you made of the first two rounds of the Formula 2 season? Jack Doohan: I think it’s quite the mix-up. I definitely wasn’t expecting the initial pecking order. A few favourites in Bahrain were down the other end of the field than I was expecting but nevertheless, they were both two really interesting rounds.

“It was definitely different to watch it on the sidelines, but it was really cool to watch. To be there as well supporting my old team Invicta and seeing the evolution from last year to this year and seeing the new cars on track was really cool.”

Has anyone caught your eye and despite it being just two rounds how do you think the Championship is shaking up?

“Obviously round one was fairly well dominated by Zane, I thought he did a good job there. Round 2 was quite shaken up, I think Rodin Motorsport and Zane did a great job in Round 1, they had a little bit of an issue in Round 2 but still scored some decent points. But I think for now it seems very open. Kush Maini did an exceptional job in Bahrain before the disqualification, and a great race to P2 in Jeddah, where Enzo Fittipaldi was on another level to be honest. Just unbelievable pace, so it seems like everyone on their day seems to be very, very quick.”

Doohan is expecting the Melbourne atmosphere to be incredible once again this weekend
Doohan is expecting the Melbourne atmosphere to be incredible once again this weekend

The drivers head to Melbourne now, what makes this event so special?

“For me, Melbourne is a special place. Not only because it's my home race but the track is awesome. It’s a street circuit with some run off but it's a very unforgiving, super difficult and tricky track but also very enjoyable. There’s high speed mixed with low speed as well, but plenty of opportunities to make some good overtakes.”

READ MORE: Freight, flights and fan experience: The logistics behind racing in Melbourne

What makes the track so unique for Qualifying and for both the Sprint and the Feature Races?

“I think it’s unique because in Melbourne, like in the UK, the weather can flip on its head at any point. Very often you can have a perfectly sunny dry practice session, and then a pouring flooded Red-Flagged Qualifying session. It caught me out unfortunately last year so let’s see how it plays out this year. But the track is really cool, with three DRS zones now, a huge flat-out high-speed section, two kinks before the high-speed chicane, and you arrive at super high speeds in sixth gear. Super cool circuit, like I said great for overtaking but also great for one lap action.”

Antonelli could be one to watch in Qualifying according to the Alpine F1 Reserve Driver after his Jeddah exploits
Antonelli could be one to watch in Qualifying according to the Alpine F1 Reserve Driver after his Jeddah exploits

What would you say are the keys to having a good weekend in Melbourne?

“Just having a weekend pieced all together. Qualifying is super important in Melbourne, I said it is easy to overtake but definitely easier in the Feature Race when strategies are a bit more split. But it definitely isn’t one of the easiest tracks necessarily to go from the back of the grid to the front.

“As it’s a street circuit, there is less chance of people doing something crazy on the strategy because there is very high chance of a Safety Car in the first one to six laps, which means there could be a free pit stop for the front runners on the Option tyre. However, it does mean there could be also a late Safety Car stop for someone going on the prime-option alternative strategy. So, it can be shaken up quite a lot, similar to other tricky street circuits but good overtaking on this one.”

Based on what you have seen who do you expect to be up there fighting for Pole Position and race victories?

“For me I would say Zane Maloney, Oliver Bearman coming back to F2, Kush Maini and Gabriel Bortoleto. Enzo, clearly if they have that race pace like they did in Jeddah, his Qualifying pace should be coming pretty closely too. I expect Isack Hadjar and Pepe Marti in the Campos, these are all super strong guys to me, I think I am probably missing a few.

“Kimi Antonelli as well, he is obviously a rookie and very fresh, but I know personally he could have very easily been on pole in Jeddah if not for a slight issue, so the guy is super quick, a lot of guys are, so it’s going to be really interesting to watch.”