The FIA F2 Championship headed to the streets of Monte-Carlo for Round 4 and Races 7-8 of the season.
Neither of the two BWT Arden drivers had experienced the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ event before, so they both had to learn the circuit in the sole Practice session on Thursday morning at Monaco, before heading into Qualifying.
Qualifying was split into two groups, in order to reduce the risk of traffic around the short 3.337km street circuit. Maximilian Günther set the 4th fastest time in Group A with a strong showing, despite being blocked later in the session. Sadly, he was later excluded from the session, after failing to report to the weighbridge on his return to the pits – meaning he would start the Feature Race from the pitlane.
Fukuzumi set the 7th fastest time in his Qualifying Group B, meaning he would start the first race of the weekend from 15th on the grid.
The Feature Race saw Fukuzumi move himself up into 12th position early on, before a Safety Car was deployed to recover a start-line accident. Racing resumed for a few laps before a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed due to an accident at Rascasse. A Safety Car was deployed soon after following a crash at the final corner. This was then followed up by an incredibly bizarre accident between the two leaders in the pitlane – which further promoted both drivers up three positions, as the race entered the pitstop windows.
Fukuzumi and Günther pitted to change from their ‘Soft’ tyres and onto the ‘Supersoft’ tyres to finish the 42 lap Feature Race. The two BWT Arden teammates finished close to each other in 10th and 11th respectively, with Fukuzumi picking up a championship point and Günther making a good recovery from his pitlane start.
Both drivers made a good start to the Sprint Race, with Günther moving himself up and into 9th position and Fukuzumi slotted in just behind him in 10th.
A safety car was deployed on Lap 5 following a crash at the ‘Swimming Pool Chicane’, with both drivers just avoiding the stricken car. The race restarted five laps later, due to the barrier’s being repaired.
The race order remained consistent as the race wore on, with driver’s looking after their tyre wear for the 30 lap Sprint Race. A VSC was deployed following a crash on the exit of the ‘Swimming Pool Section’ on lap 2, restarting a lap later.
An accident at the ‘Nouvelle Chicane’ on Lap 27 brought out the second Safety Car of the race, finishing with two laps to go and setting up a two-lap shootout for positions.
On the restart however, Fukuzumi went deep into the Rascasse corner along with Santino Ferrucci behind him – causing him to retire from 9th position. The race finished under the Safety Car, with Günther classified in 6th position at the end of the race, taking home 4 championship points for himself and BWT Arden.
FIA Formula 2 next heads to the Circuit Paul Ricard on the 22-24 June for Round 5, Races 9-10 of the 2018 Championship in four weeks’ time.
Photographs © Dutch Photo Agency