Ayumu Iwasa speaking with an engineer, who is gesturing towards the camera with his left hand

Iwasa ‘preparing quite well’ for F2 opener despite ‘a lot of negative points’ in testing

Despite some tumult in pre-season testing, Ayumu Iwasa is looking forward to the start of the F2 season. The Red Bull junior and his F2 team, DAMS, found ‘negative points’ during the three-day test, which he says were ‘positive to know’.

By Floris Visman

With no less than six Red Bull juniors competing in F2 in 2023, Iwasa is facing a make-or-break year. Getting off to a positive start is crucial. Last season – his first with DAMS – the Japanese driver took a while to get up to speed, but he ended the season in fifth and bagged the Anthoine Hubert Award for best rookie of the year. He’s now looking to build on that.

“My target is to have a victory this weekend, or at least a podium,” he said. “I will push very hard with the team and we will see what our potential is at the start of the season. Of course, we will not be perfect this weekend, but we will do our best and hopefully get a victory.”

Lessons learned from testing

Despite his confidence, pre-season testing got off to a rocky start for Iwasa. The 21-year-old finished four of the six sessions in the top 10 but says he and DAMS found that a lot of things didn’t work. Iwasa sees those struggles as a positive, though, and feels DAMS are ‘preparing quite well as a team, ready to race in Bahrain’.

“We actually found a lot of negative points, which is positive to know in the test,” he explains. “We already knew from last year that we had quite good potential. We were trying a lot of things at the test and quite a number of things didn’t go well. So we understood where we were with these things and we still know we have the potential from last year.”

In the 2022 season opener at Bahrain – his first weekend in F2 – Iwasa started last for both races after a crash in qualifying. He finished eighth in the sprint and 16th in the feature, which he briefly led.

After several more points finishes, he scored his first podium at the fourth round in Barcelona. In the second half of the season, he won two races and worked his way up to fifth in the standings, eight points behind 2022’s leading Red Bull junior Liam Lawson in third.

F2 action in Bahrain kicks off on Friday, 3 March, with free practice at 12:05 local (9:05 GMT).

Header photo credit: Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency


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