A number of rookies in Formula 2 this season have outperformed more experienced drivers, with Japan’s Ayumu Iwasa being one of those star newcomers. The Honda- and Red Bull–backed driver has enjoyed recent success with DAMS, scoring his maiden win and pole position in the last two rounds.
By Tyler Foster
The 20-year-old’s exceptional recent performances have led some to question his placement at DAMS. While the French outfit have achieved several titles in their long history in the second tier, their eighth-place finishes in the teams’ championship in the last two years are below par. Iwasa results have ‘carried’ DAMS this season, with the Japanese driver scoring 83 percent of the team’s 108 total points after 10 rounds.
Is DAMS in Iwasa’s future plans?
Iwasa defended his team, saying that they have developed together this season. His comfort with the DAMS operation has allowed him to have a breakout year and one that can still yield even better results. F1 Feeder Series asked Iwasa on Thursday if he’d feel comfortable moving to a more successful F2 team for 2023.
“To be honest, I’m not sure about that,” Iwasa answered. “Basically, I don’t decide about my next season myself. I have a sponsorship with Red Bull and Honda, so also, they are speaking about my season. They said to me that I just need to focus on my racing in front of me and then they will see what I can do for next year.”
The reality for Iwasa is that while he has enjoyed his time at DAMS this year, his future beyond his own performances is not in his own hands. All he can do is finish this season strong and put himself in the best position regardless of what happens. With fellow F2 driver and Red Bull junior Liam Lawson taking part in Free Practice 1 for Red Bull Racing sister team AlphaTauri on Friday, there might yet be FP1 opportunities for Iwasa later on – possibly even at his home circuit, Suzuka.
Can Iwasa finish in the top 5?
The Red Bull Junior Team member currently sits seventh in the drivers’ standings having scored more than half of his 90 points in the last two rounds alone. Iwasa only finished 12th in Formula 3 last year, but his recent results have given him immense confidence and highlighted the improvement that he has made over the last 12 months.
With four F2 rounds still to go, Iwasa is only 10 points behind Enzo Fittipaldi, currently fourth in the championship. F1 Feeder Series asked if, at this point in the season, he has a specific goal regarding the championship standings or if taking each race individually is what would lead to the best results.
“I saw the championship and the gap is very close, so for sure I’m looking at the top three or four, and it’s possible, actually. For example, the last two events I didn’t focus on the championship result and I was focusing on the race in front of me to win, and it was working for those races. I could win the race in Paul Ricard, and I took pole position in Hungary.
“After I can do my best in the race, I will be able to get a good result, and then in the championship I will be in front. I need to focus on the race, and then I will get the points for the championship.”
After his pole position last time out in Hungary before the summer break, Iwasa is expected to deliver in Qualifying this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, one of the toughest and most spectacular circuits in the world.
Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool
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