Returning to the grid for the 2023 Formula 2 campaign, Roy Nissany will be looking to fully utilise all his experience when he lines up for PHM Racing by Charouz this season.

Casting his mind back a few years, there’s one weekend that stands out at the forefront of his mind – Baku 2018. Navigating the challenges of his first tour of the Azerbaijani capital city, Nissany reflects on how the disappointments of the weekend helped him gain confidence moving forward.

“The one that taught me the most was the Baku Feature Race in 2018, I stared at the back twice and I made my way up. I was lucky with Safety Cars and pit stops so I was running P4/P3 in my first year in F2. The drivers are more alert at that track and a bit more nervous, especially when it’s your first time there and the first time in the top three or four at the beginning of the year.

“I remember that the nervousness destroyed my race - I made a mistake and I clipped the wall, so my race was kind of over. The nervousness is what killed my race, while the potential was perfect. I had the pace and everything, it’s the just that the perception of the situation in my head was wrong.

Image Credit F2. 2018
Image Credit: F2. 2018

“It taught me that once you get out of the car, you’re obviously angry at all of the world and everybody else is guilty except me, but you go home and after some days and weeks have past, you look back and realise what truly happened. Then you’ll learn the most, so it was a very expensive lesson, but one that is worth it.

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“It’s quite a risky track. It’s about what there is to lose, it’s very easy to lose it. Therefore, I think that Baku is a track that needs to be handled with a lot of caution and there are lots of things to think about whilst you are driving. In the last section, you need to go flat out in the race whilst your tyres are degrading and you know that if you’re not going to go flat, the car behind is going to get you. It’s kind of a train you can’t leave, and I like to analyse it that way. At the end of the track, you want to be as fast as you can, and the risk is part of the game.

“I was a rookie in my second F2 weekend and I knew nothing about the Formula 1 weekend and the tyres, it’s not like I came from Formula 3 and was familiar with the environment. It was a totally different environment to what I experienced throughout my career until that point, so everything was very new.

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“It was one of my first-ever street circuit races, and it was a mix of emotions and situations that you’ve never been in before that starts to control your mind more than you wish it would. It was more than four years ago, so much has changed since then. I think in my first year I became more mature straight after that race realising how much the nervousness had hurt me.

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“It already changed back then, I became calmer and in the heat of the moment, you start to have a bit more clarity. All of these help a lot and it’s always a journey – I think it will never end but that weekend taught me a lot.”