Thoughts from Piastri, Shwartzman and Pourchaire ahead of final FIA F2 race in Jeddah

Thoughts from Piastri, Shwartzman and Pourchaire ahead of final FIA F2 race in Jeddah

04.12.2021: FIA FORMULA 2 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX Jeddah Corniche Circuit 3-5 December 2021 Saturday, December 4th 2021

Jeddah Corniche Circuit
3-5 December 2021
Saturday, December 4th 2021

FIA Formula 2: Congratulations to the top three Qualifiers for the Formula 2 Feature Race here at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, in third place Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix, in second place Robert Shwartzman for PREMA and our pole sitter for the fourth consecutive race, Oscar Piastri, also for PREMA. Well done Oscar, that was a tremendous lap right at the end, talk us through it. How good was it?

Oscar Piastr
i: The last lap I was very happy with. I think up until that point I'd made a few mistakes and the first push on that second set was very poor. But that last lap felt very good, I made a couple of little mistakes but I think at a track like this everyone is going to be making at least a couple of mistakes during a lap. It was a good lap, and I'm very happy to get a fourth pole.

FIA Formula 2: When you say a track like this, what do you mean? How difficult is it to put a lap together here in Jeddah?

: Very, very difficult. Especially in Sector 1, it's very similar to Silverstone, like Maggots and Becketts but with concrete walls on each side, so it's very tricky through there. Even the rest of the corners, I think there are two corners in second gear and the rest are in third or mostly fourth.

For us, that's pretty remarkable. It's a street circuit with unbelievably high speeds, so it definitely gets the adrenaline pumping and it will be interesting to see how the races are. Whether we have any overtaking and whether the tyres hang one, with the soft compounds we've got and the high temperatures tomorrow it's going to be tricky I think.

FIA Formula 2: And what about grip levels during the session, did it ramp up as it went along?

: Yes it did, but I don't think it was much more than a normal circuit, to be honest. I was quite surprised this morning even with how much grip there was.

It was already quite good, and then I think I'd attribute half of it to us learning the track and growing more balls, and the other half to the track getting better. It wasn't a crazy track evolution like we might see at other street circuits.

FIA Formula 2: Oscar you've just added another four points to your tally for the season. How much is the championship on your mind this weekend?

It's on my mind of course, but the easiest way to put myself at ease is to get good results. The goal for this weekend was no different to any other weekend, try and get a pole, score some decent points in the sprint races, and capitalise on the Feature Race and we're off to a good start.

Of course, the four points are very handy as well, but I think there's a lot more than four points to lose throughout the weekend so I need to stay sharp.

FIA Formula 2: Oscar, many congratulations, thank you. Robert coming to you, you've been very fast from the outset this weekend. How tough has it been out there?

Robert Shwartzman:
Well the track is really nice, from Free Practice I really, really liked it. The car balance was really good, and straight away the car felt good. Free Practice was going really well, especially the last lap, I managed to do a pretty decent lap.

So yeah, going into Quali I was pretty satisfied with what we had, so I just tried to make a good Quali and put everything together. It's a bit sad, well, to be honest, it's good and sad at the same time because it's P2. It's still a good result, but I'm quite sad about what happened.

 To be the quickest car for the whole of Quali and then on the last lap doing that tiny mistake in the last corner that paid into P2 instead of a pole. It makes me a bit sad but nonetheless, we still have the races, it's a front row. So my target is just going to do a good start and tomorrow just to get as many positions as possible.

FIA Formula 2: And do you think there will be much overtaking here in Jeddah?

: To be honest, I don't know. It seems pretty difficult. It's quite high-speed corners so it's not the easiest track to follow. I think maybe it's going to be a bit easier in the Feature Race with the different strategies and tyre compounds.

So we see how it's going to go, but my target will be to get through, if its Turn 1 or even during the race, to get as close as possible to the car in front use the DRS advantage and maybe do some moves.

FIA Formula 2: Clearly PREMA has a very good car. Just how good?

Well you can see it in the result, 1-2, what more do I need to tell you.

FIA Formula 2: Well done Robert, many congratulations. Théo, coming to you, a tremendous performance by you as well. How pleased are you with how it's gone so far?

Théo Pourchaire:
I'm really happy about that P3, Free Practice was difficult this morning, only P13. We were struggling a lot. The whole Quali I was fast, I was in the top three, I was almost P1 at one moment but the PREMAs look strong.

I think it's a good result, also my teammate is P4, and our car is good as well. So we can do something this weekend I think, we can have a good Feature Race, but that's Sunday so we have time.

FIA Formula 2: How much are you enjoying the challenge of the track here in Jeddah?

This track is amazing, to be honest. Driving at night, and Quali with the super soft tyres it's amazing. I just loved the Quali, I don't know what to say, you cannot explain it to someone who's never driven a Formula 2 car. It's just amazing.

FIA Formula 2: And has it been quite a shock to the system after ten weeks out to be getting back in a Formula 2 car, here of all places?

: For sure it was a long wait, but I'm really happy to be back. Really happy to be on the pace, to be in the top three, it's amazing. I want to score a lot of points, to win races and to get a lot of podiums! We will see.

FIA Formula 2: Good luck with that, thank you, Théo!


-Alexa Quintin, photo FOrmula Motorsport Ltd


04.12.2021 / MaP

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