After initially announcing his departure from Formula 2 at the end of the 2019 season, Luca Ghiotto was convinced into a U-turn by the ambitious project put onto the table by newcomers Hitech Grand Prix.
Signed for his experience and proven race winning quality, the Italian has been more than just a useful presence behind the scenes, competing at the top end of the Championship standings, despite Hitech’s initial - but understandable - slow start to life in F2.
Sitting in ninth place, Ghiotto can still mathematically fight for the title – we assess his chances.
A TYRE MANAGEMENT INSPIRED VICTORY
It’s difficult to look past the Sprint Race victory in Budapest as Ghiotto’s best moment of the season. Having finished inside of the points just once in the first five races, the 25-year-old more than made amends in Round 3.
The victory was typical of the Italian - who won the 2019 Pirelli award - as he displayed his impressive tyre management to beat out reverse polesitter Callum Ilott. Ghiotto was one of just two drivers to opt against a pitstop in the Sprint Race and kept enough life in them to fight off the UNI-Virtuosi ace, who had made the change.
Ilott managed to get within DRS range on the final lap and their battle went down to the final straight, but Ghiotto retained just enough grip to cling on across the line, a car-length ahead.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Ghiotto. The Italian finished outside of the points just seven times in 2019, when he fought for the title, but has already surpassed that number this year, failing to score 10 times.
Ultimately, that’s been his downfall this season. Three podiums and a win make for solid reading, but those numbers need to be backed up by consistent points.
The Italian has played a major part in helping to push Hitech forwards though, crafting them into a race-winning team. That’s an achievement in itself.
FROM THE GRID
“It will be interesting to go to Bahrain this year because we will be racing on two different tracks in two weeks,” said Ghiotto. “I think that it is nice to have a double header, which will feature two different tracks.
“The second week will be a brand-new track for us and that will be really nice. It will be interesting because no one knows the track layout of the second round there. It is shorter than the normal one and really different. It will be a very unique race because it is such a short track and there will be so many laps. That is a new thing for us in F2, we’ve never had that before.
“The title is not my goal this season because I am realistically too many points off the top. My goal is to score as many points as possible and to have two good weekends. I would like to score good points for the team so that we can finish as high as possible in the teams' standings.”