It has been a difficult start with Carlin for Red Bull junior Enzo Fittipaldi, who has only managed a best result of P7 so far in 2023. The Brazilian driver’s non-score in Melbourne last time out has left him needing to bounce back. Speaking to Feeder Series and selected media, Fittipaldi described his struggles this season and his confidence in fellow Red Bull junior and teammate Zane Maloney.
By Tyler Foster
Considering the surprise that Fittipaldi gave most fans throughout his 2022 campaign with Charouz, it is fair to say that his start to the new year has been underwhelming. After making the jump from Formula 3 to Formula 2 halfway through the 2021 season, he suffered a horrendous start-line accident in Jeddah. This left him with a fractured right heel as well as subsequent surgery for a brain haemorrhage. However, a speedy recovery allowed Fittipaldi to complete an excellent first full-time season in F2.
The Charouz driver scored a total of six podiums throughout 2022, going on to finish a strong eighth in the standings with 130 points. This achievement led to greater reward, with Fittipaldi moving to Carlin for his third year in F2, while simultaneously joining the Red Bull academy from the start of 2023.
“It’s my second season in Formula 2 and the goal is to be fighting at the front. Obviously, I know we have the pace to be there; it just hasn’t come together. I just need to have a clean race weekend without any small mistakes, and I’m sure we’re going to be there.”
Despite the speed that teammate Zane Maloney has shown, Fittipaldi has yet to maximise the Carlin package. As a result, the Brazilian currently sits 20 points behind Maloney after three rounds and 14th in the championship. Interestingly, Fittipaldi had a similar start to his campaign last year, going scoreless for the opening five races. It was not until he took his maiden podium in the feature at Imola that his impressive run for the rest of the season began.
“I had a really good rookie season last year. [We are] still starting the championship in 2023, so 11 rounds to go, a lot of points on the table.”
One aspect of life with Carlin that Fittipaldi is enjoying is his competitive rivalry with his new teammate. Maloney arrived on the F2 scene as one of the biggest names from last year’s Formula 3 title fight. The ‘Boy From Barbados’ has continued his form from F3, scoring a superb maiden podium in the first feature of this season in Bahrain. This set of results from his teammate may help give Fittipaldi the confidence that he needs to extract the maximum potential from the Carlin package.
During his 2022 F2 campaign, Fittipaldi had to work alongside three different teammates – Cem Bölükbaşı, David Beckmann and Tatiana Calderón – all of whom struggled. Having a partner who is excelling as a rookie may put extra pressure on Fittipaldi to succeed, but he doesn’t see it this way. Feeder Series asked the 21-year-old which of the two scenarios he prefers in the world of Formula 2.
“I think I prefer to be part of the more competitive duo because having a strong teammate is good. You can work together, develop the car together and see which corners [Zane’s] doing better, so you can push yourself to learn from [your] teammate. I think it’s good having two competitive drivers in the team.”
Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool
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