Both Anthoine and Tatiana hit the track for the first time at the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan on Friday morning, setting the 16th and 18th fastest times respectively as they both had their quick runs disrupted by yellow flags and stoppages due to driver’s running wide on the unique street circuit.
Qualifying saw Anthoine set the 9th fastest time to put him in a promising position for the Feature Race. There was potential for even more for the reigning GP3 Championship, who had a close call with the barrier on the exit of Turn 16 on his final flying lap of the session.
Tatiana improved on each of her runs in the disrupted qualifying session to set the 18th fastest time.
The Feature Race saw Anthoine make a good start and took avoiding action from a lunge at Turn 1 by Mick Schumacher. Tatiana unfortunately stalled on the formation lap, meaning she would start from the pitlane, but began to make up ground immediately from the start – moving into 17th by the end of Lap 1, running on the alternate strategy to the rest of the grid.
Anthoine was battling hard with Schumacher and Sergio Sette Camara, following Nobuharu Matshushita slowing in the final sector of the lap due to an electrical issue.
Anthoine pitted on Lap 7 for the Medium compound tyres, emerging in 8th position. Schumacher span on the exit of Turn 16 a lap later, moving him into 7th position before the Virtual Safety Car was deployed.At this point, Tatiana was up into 3rd position running on the Medium tyres in a long opening stint.
Anthoine began to move back through the field, after being jumped in the pits by a couple of drivers making use of the Virtual Safety Car period to lose less time in making their pitstops.
The Safety Car was deployed on Lap 18 following an incident on track, Tatiana was in prime position to capitalise as she made her way to pits. Agonisingly however, an alternator issue left her stranded on the way into the pits – forcing her out of the race and robbed her a chance of scoring points.
On the restart, a bizarre collision that saw three drivers collide and drop out of contention elevated Anthoine further up the order, as the Safety Car period was then extended.
When the race resumed, Anthoine challenged Dorian Boccolacci for 5th position into Turn 1, in doing so locked his front brake and had to take to the escape road – emerging at the rear of the field.
The Frenchman battled back in the closing stages, stealing 10th position with a lap to go to bag a point for BWT Arden.
Sunday saw even more drama in the Sprint Race. Both drivers made strong starts, however with cold brakes and tyres, Tatiana locked a brake into Turn 2 – forcing her wide and stranded on the outside of the track, triggering a Safety Car and her retirement from a luckless round in Baku.
Anthoine was shuffled back to 12th position on the chaotic start, but was in the contention for points as the pack remained in a train of cars using DRS. The Safety Car was triggered following Guiliano Alesi crashing into the barriers on the exit of Turn 3 – bunching the field back up.
The restart proved to be just as chaotic as before, as Luca Ghiotto and Nikita Mazepin blocked the track at Turn 2, leaving Anthoine no where to go apart from down the escape road – where he turned around and re-joined the field as the Safety Car was redeployed.
Following a lengthy delay, the race would then run to a time limit. When the race was resumed, there was 90 seconds of racing left, plus one lap.
Anthoine managed to salvage 11th position at the chequered flag, rounding out an eventful weekend for both drivers in Azerbaijan.
The team now look ahead to the next round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, for the third round of the championship on the 10-12 May.