Despite scoring two pole positions earlier in the season, Jack Doohan finally achieved his maiden Formula 2 Feature Race win, after starting from fourth on the grid. The Alpine Junior enjoyed his time racing at Spa last year in F3, with two victories that weekend. Speaking to F1 Feeder Series, Doohan told us just what it is about the historic Spa circuit that makes it special for him.
By Tyler Foster
Just over a year ago, an 18-year-old in Formula 3, Jack Doohan was looking to initiate his title charge on the leader Dennis Hauger when the series arrived for Round 5 at Spa-Francorchamps. The then-Red Bull Junior had an awesome weekend: grabbing pole, winning the second Sprint Race before converting in the Feature Race in dominant fashion. While the young Australian was unable to claw back the gap to Hauger by the end of the year, Doohan’s impressive performance at Spa made a big impression.
One year later and Doohan finds himself in a different position. Now an Alpine driver, racing in Formula 2 with Virtuosi, his season has been very frustrating. A surprise pole back in Round 1 in Bahrain has set the standard for his season at a high level, but Doohan has been unable to consistently score from his strong qualifying positions. Returning to Spa for 2022, Doohan once again proved his pace and qualified P4. An immense rise from seventh on the grid in the Sprint Race saw him finish on the second step of the podium. However, the big task was for Doohan to score the big points on Sunday.
Maiden Feature Race Win
With an excellent getaway, Doohan fought championship leader Felipe Drugovich for the win throughout the race. Utilising the undercut, Doohan took the front following his rival’s pit-stop and avoided getting caught out by backmarkers to take an important win in his young career. After the race, we asked what about Spa meant that he was so strong here.
“Spa is a special place and I really love the circuit. Last year, as we can see today, Trident have a very strong car here in Formula 3 and luckily, I was able to execute that. Congrats to them today on again another 1-2 in Formula 3. I saw some stats from the previous years of Virtuosi and I’m just happy that we were able to put the car at the front and to get the Feature Race win today. P2 yesterday from P7 and a win today from P4, so very happy.”
During the podium celebrations, Doohan helped his race engineer to a shoey but didn’t partake himself. As Doohan explained himself, “Also, on the shoey, I don’t drink. I’m not a big fan, so I thought I’d share it around first and not let too much go. Let the boys enjoy that.”
Upgrades to Spa
As a result, Doohan now sits P4 in the championship which is the highest position the Australian has been all year. Beyond that, the recent adaptations to the Spa circuit were noticeable throughout the weekend’s action. We asked all the top three drivers from the Feature Race: Doohan, Drugovich and Lawson, for their thoughts on the changes and whether the impacts were positive to the overall racing experience.
“Only thing that I dislike sometimes,” Doohan explained, “is that the trees cut down, kind of took away the characteristics and atmosphere. Especially going through Pouhon, you used to have this wall of trees which was really nice and it really made it feel special. I really hope we can come back to Spa for many years to come.”
Eau Rouge had more space. It’s all safer.Felipe Drugovich on the changes to Spa
“I think they were cool,” championship leader Drugovich said. “The changes are very good. I liked it. Eau Rouge had more space. It’s all safer. It’s a little bit nicer to go through there, especially on the first lap when you’re fighting with someone. Also, the gravel traps [resulted in] less problems with track limits. That’s always good. The new tarmac is very grippy, if they would have done it for the whole track I think it would have been ever better.”
“Firstly, I think the track limits were a game changer,” said Red Bull Junior Liam Lawson. “Having gravel traps or grass or anything that is not just tarmac is good for that. I think the changes made extending the barriers were quite nice as well. It looked really cool coming down heading into Eau Rouge. You could see the grandstand and a lot of clear sky. The new surface as well through Eau Rouge was I think easier for us to be flat out and makes overtaking a bit easier down the end of the straight too.”
Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Limited
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