FIA F2: 5,5 Things We Can’t Unlearn from 2021 Monaco Grand Prix


Header image/photos by Tony Hall; interviews by Sergio Álvarez

If you keep a chainsaw at home, you’d be forgiven for wanting to use it on your uber mega expensive Samsung TV during F1’s Sunday, well, lack of spectacle. For sure, Bottas machining his nuts and LEC not even starting the race looked somewhat dramatic, and HAM’s team radio was F1 gold. But poor F1, they only had one go at it, while their little sister, F2, she staged THREE races in the principality and, given their anorexic size compared to F1’s Big Mac supersized machinery, we saw a few overtaking moves, geez.

So here are Iberian’s 5,5 things you won’t be able to unlearn from the past weekend. And yeah, I’m mocking Zak-sport because I can.

1. Going mental.

The only way you can maintain some kind of interest in Monaco tedium is if you think about it as a mental challenge. For lower categories it’s even more important since drivers are younger, far less experienced and tend to make mistakes, that’s the whole point: they make mistakes everywhere since karting days so they don’t have to when they reach WEC, Indy or DTM (Dynamite Teutonic Monsters). It’s not even like riding a bicycle in your kitchen any more, I’d estimate it’s more comparable to squeezing a full-on Harley into your loo and then trying to race it at terrifying speeds!

2. Robert Shwartzman enjoys crosstown traffic. Sergio asked the question.

Said Robert: “Wow, it’s an interesting question. Generally, I think traffic is always an issue, but especially in the city tracks. Unfortunately, from what I know, in qualifying we didn’t have the GPS so for the engineers it was really, really difficult to give us any information whatsoever where the cars were placed, therefore it was mostly up to us and our mirrors but when you know, basically, that all the other cars are in the same sort of sequence you can find a good space, good position and then nobody is bothering anyone.”

Unfortunately, from what I know, in qualifying we didn’t have the GPS so for the engineers it was really, really difficult to give us any information whatsoever where the cars were placed.

Robert Shwartzman, PREMA RACING

“The issue starts when it starts being, like, one (driver) is pushing, one is cooling and then we block each other, it starts to be messy and there’s the whole pack coming into Sector 3 and that’s where the high chance of traffic is. Obviously, the respect to other drivers is very important, I mean I always try to respect everybody, so if I have a cool-down lap I try to go out of the way and to not bother anybody. Sometimes I get the same sort of behaviour, sometimes not. Somebody just doesn’t let you pass. Like Théo said, it’s a part of the game and if somebody (decides to) make it very dangerous, they’re gonna get a penalty, but if somebody did it because of a mistake, it can happen. So it’s very, very difficult, especially in that sort of tight track where you need to look forward where you’re going to not hit the wall, but at the same time control what is happening behind you.”

3. Théo Pourchaire is aiming high. #F1

TP: “Um, well, yeah. You need to believe in yourself, you need to work hard because elite sports is not easy. I sacrifice a bit my classic life, y’know, of a teenager by not going to a normal school, by not going out in night clubs or doing a normal stuff of a 17-year-old teenager but you need to be really, really concentrated on your goals. And I started at 3 years old in go-karts and since then I just worked really hard and today I won Monaco in Formula 2, but I know it’s not finished, my dream is to be in Formula 1 to be an F1 world champion so I need to work hard all my life, just keep pushing.”

4. Drugovich has a soft spot for Pirellis in Monaco in the Feature Race, P3 for the Brazilian (who must be related to Akrapovic).

“Well, I think, as we came up the grid we had the choice to start on (either of) both (tyre compounds) when we both (with team-mate Guanyu Zhou) were going to the grid. When I got up there, everyone in front was basically on prime tyres and everybody knows here it’s difficult to overtake so we tried to do something different and it worked very well. Starting P9, of course it’s a position we can take a gamble, except this morning it didn’t work for sure (FD finished in a very lowly P14 in the Sprint Race 2), but this evening it worked very well. Basically, it’s like that.”

5. There’s no 5. It’s Iberianmph, get used to it.

5,5. Piastri is cool. With traffic or anybody, for that matter. So long as you don’t block him.

“Um, yeah. I mean, there’s obviously rules in place to prevent traffic as much as possible, especially around Monaco. In qualifying with eleven cars in each group it wasn’t too bad – from my personal experience anyway. Practice was a completely different story, that was very messy and I think on a street circuit it’s just so different, everyone’s just trying to find their feet and everyone’s outta sequence, and pushing while some are cooling. In street circuits it’s just a part of the game and something you have to live with. On other big circuits, more traditional circuits, like I said, the rules are in place: if people are going to be doing it on purpose they’re gonna get a penalty and there’s almost sort of ‘what goes around comes around’. It’s almost instant karma sometimes. I personally try not to get involved in that but it’s something we have to deal with, especially on street circuits like here. It’s just a part of the weekend and you just have to try and sort it yourself.”

Give us a thumbs and two big toes up. Come back for more excellent Formula 2 stuff in a couple of days’ time and all that jazz. ‘Cause we’re jamming.

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