The two Ferrari Driver Academy members are ready to take to the track for the very first time at the Baku circuit. On the Azerbaijan track, one of the most unusual on the calendar, Robert and Marcus have their sights set on the first podium finish of the season.
The third round of the Formula 2 season is about to get underway in Azerbaijan, with competitors having to contend with one of the most interesting tracks of the season, 6.003 kilometres long, with 20 corners, the majority being 90 degree turns, set in the capital city of Baku.
Record. One of the tracks stand-out features is the 2,200 metre long straight, from the exit of turn 16 to the entry to turn 1, down which the Formula 2 cars accelerate reaching a speed of over 330 km/h. The F2 track record was set by Charles Leclerc in 2017, when he took pole in 1’52”129 and the race fastest lap in 1’53”635, as well as winning the Feature Race.
Debut. Neither Robert Shwartzman nor Marcus Armstrong has ever raced here before. Shwartzman scored points in the previous round and is currently sixth in the championship. Armstrong is keen to forget the Monaco weekend, as he came away without points, even though he started the second race from pole position. Baku is therefore an opportunity for both to do better and aim for their first podium finish of the season.
Work. “The first challenge facing Marcus and Robert will be to learn the track in free practice”, commented the head of the FDA Marco Matassa. “The second sector is definitely the most technical and has many elements in common with Monaco. However, car set-up will be different because the long straight obliges you to run downforce levels similar to those at Monza. After Monaco we worked a lot with both drivers, analysing the data from that difficult weekend. We have identified areas that need improving and we hope that Baku will deliver the results we are aiming for.”
Weekend. The Baku weekend gets underway with the usual free practice at 10.25 local (8.25 CET) on Friday, followed by qualifying at 14.30 (12.30 CET.) The first Sprint Race takes place on Saturday at 11.25 (9.25 CET) over 21 laps, with the second race at 17.40 (15.40 CET.) Rounding off the weekend is Sunday’s Feature Race over 29 laps, starting at 12.45 (10.45.)