Spa-Francorchamps greeted back the FIA Formula 2 Championship after the summer break, for the ninth round of the 2018 championship.
Fukuzumi headed the BWT Arden charge in Qualifying, by setting the 8th fastest time of the session. Teammate Günther was hampered in his run, which resulted in a 14th fastest lap in the half-an-hour session.
The Feature Race started with tricky conditions, following a rain shower in the Formula 1 Qualifying session that preceded the F2 race start.
Fukuzumi got a good start to maintain position despite the slipstreaming battle down the Kemmel Straight, with teammate Günther making a good start to gain positions early on to move into 12th.
Fukuzumi moved ahead of Alexander Albon on to move himself into 7th position, with Günther up and into the points in 11th position. The Honda Junior pitted for a change of tyres on Lap 9 of the race,moving onto the Medium compound Pirelli tyres for the rest of the race. Günther was running on the alternate strategy starting on the Medium’s and would switch to the Soft’s at the end of the race.
Fukuzumi’s promising run was sadly ended on Lap 15, after an engine failure caused a fire at the back of his car – triggering the Safety Car to be deployed.
After the restart and the two strategies playing out,Günther was in the battle for Reverse-Grid Pole Position – challenging Nicholas Latifi for 8th position in the closing stages of the race, after the BWT Arden team performed the fastest pitstop of the Feature Race. Günther narrowly missed out on 8th at the chequered flag, still coming home in a strong 9th position to bank championship points for the team.
The F2 Sprint race started on Sunday morning with Günther making a decent start from his 9th position grid slot, however as they reached the ‘pinch-point’ of La Source, he dropped a position to 10th as they headed down the hill and into Eau Rouge.
Fukuzumi made a safe start from the rear of the field, following hisunfortunate engine failure yesterday – surviving the opening lap shenanigans tomove up three positions and into 16th.
Günther was defending from Sergio Sette Camara early on, but was powerless to prevent an overtake once DRS was enabled on Lap 3. Fukuzumi was up to 15th and making progress, before both drivers began to turn to tyre management, in order to make their tyres last the complete 18 laps around the 7.004km circuit.
Tyre degradation began to play a major factor in the race,as Günther defended his Top 10 position hard for as long as he could, until his tyre grip completely gave up with a few laps to go – forcing him to pit for a change of tyres, rolling the dice and hoping for a Safety Car to bring him back into play.
Unfortunately, the Safety Car never came, so Günther and Fukuzumi came home 16th and 17th respectively in a difficult Sprint Race to round out the Spa-Francorchamps weekend.
BWT Arden won’t have to wait long to get back into action,as FIA Formula 2 is back next weekend at Monza, Italy - for the tenth round of the 2018 Championship and Races 19-20 of the season.