02 May 2023
Alpine Academy drivers Jack Doohan and Victor Martins endured a weekend of misfortune and frustration in Round 4 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Azerbaijan while Abbi Pulling bounced back from the lower end of the grid to storm through the order and collect a haul of points in the inaugural race weekend of the F1 Academy Series in Spielberg, Austria.
Jack (Invicta Virtuosi Racing) had a difficult weekend at the Baku City Circuit. Struggling for pace on the demanding 6.004km street circuit, the Australian driver qualified in 16th place to start the Sprint and Feature Races in the bottom half of the grid. On Saturday, Jack made his way up the order to eleventh place in the Sprint Race before a lock up on entry to Turn 1 during the safety car restart caused him to spin out just three laps from the chequered flag. Sunday’s Feature Race offered little action with Jack running in 17th for much of the race before he made a late move past Clement Novalak at the line to finish in 16th.
Victor continued to show the pace and performance of his ART Grand Prix car in Azerbaijan, despite the lack of reward. Qualifying in eighth place, Victor started Saturday’s reverse grid Sprint Race from third on the grid. Running in second place behind Dennis Hauger for most of the race, Victor was in the fight for the win until an unfortunate effort at the safety car restart caused the French driver – and a handful of other drivers – to run into the barriers at Turn 1. In Sunday’s Feature Race Victor made a strong start, moving up from eighth to fifth by Turn 2 before pitting early onto prime tyres and making his way back up the order as others followed suit. Unfortunately, despite finishing fourth on track Victor’s return to the points was taken away after a technical infringement was found on his car after the race.
Abbi (Rodin Carlin) made the most of the race weekend despite an unfortunate setback in the first round of the F1 Academy Series. Racing at Austria’s Red Bull Ring for the first time in her career the Alpine Academy driver topped Free Practice 1 before putting her car on pole position in both of Friday’s qualifying sessions.
Unfortunately, an unintentional technical infringement on all three of the Rodin Carlin cars saw Abbi start thirteenth for all three races on Saturday. However, the British driver showed her skill and pace, making her way up the grid and finishing fifth on track in Race 1 before being promoted to fourth after Nerea Marti was disqualified. Abbi again climbed the order in both Race 2 and Race 3, finishing eighth and fourth, respectively. Collecting a solid haul of points over the weekend, she currently sits fourth in the championship standings ahead of the second round in Valencia this weekend.
After a weekend of mixed results for the Alpine Academy, Jack and Victor now look ahead to FIA Formula 2 testing in Barcelona before heading to Round 5 in Imola for the start of a triple header. Abbi looks to repeat her show of performance in Valencia this weekend in Round 2 of the F1 Academy Series.
Jack Doohan, Invicta Virtuosi Racing: “It was a very disappointing weekend and a tough pill to swallow being so out of place. Unfortunately, that is the reality for now, and as a team, we have to understand what the fundamental issue is that is holding us back on pace. I’m looking ahead to the three-day test in Barcelona where we will have more time to look through components and possibilities to nail down the issue and sort it out. I look forward to coming back on top and getting back to where I should be for Round 5 in Imola.”
Victor Martins, ART Grand Prix: “Overall it was an enjoyable weekend even though the results weren’t there. In the end, I still learned a lot and I still enjoyed driving the car around the streets of Baku. The performance is still there and shows that we have great speed in both qualifying and the races. In the Sprint Race, I was fighting for victory until the last few laps when I made a small mistake that cost a lot of points and a big result. In the Feature Race starting eighth, I would say it was a really good race from both myself and the car’s performance, I was feeling really good about the balance and what the team gave me, and I managed to finish fourth on the track but unfortunately, we got disqualified for a technical infringement on the car. We need to reset and go again, taking all the positives as well as the negatives to learn and move forward. We are positive that it will pay off, and I am 100% confident that we will do a great job with ART, and also with the support I have from Alpine to keep working and keep pushing to achieve our goal.”
Abbi Pulling, Rodin Carlin: “It was a very mixed weekend, lots of ups and downs but looking back on it there are only positives to take from my own performance. Putting it on double pole despite not being able to start there proves that we have the speed. Then starting at the back of every race and coming through to be knocking on the doors of a podium it shows that the race craft and the speed are there. Hopefully, Valencia will go smoother at the start of the weekend, and we will be starting where we deserve to be. I’m hoping to bring back more points and silverware. After this weekend I just need to put it behind me and focus on Valencia. It’s a long championship, there are 18 races left to go so it’s just about keeping focus on the next race.”