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F2 Novalak

F2: Clément Novalak reflects on his maiden win and struggles of F2

Clément Novalak became the 13th different race winner of the 2023 season of the FIA Formula 2 Championship over the Zandvoort weekend

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Formula 2 raced in Zandvoort last weekend and Trident driver Clément Novalak took his maiden victory in the F2 Championship in a rather chaotic Feature Race. As a result, Novalak is now the 13th different race winner of the season and bumped himself up to 17th in the Standings. 

Novalak F2
Clément Novalak of Trident on track over F2’s weekend at Zandvoort (Credit: Twitter @FFSportAuto)

In 2021, Clément Novalak was competing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. However, the Frenchman did compete in six Formula 2 races, finishing 28th. Novalak’s first full-time season in F2 was in 2022 and it saw him partner the 2022 F2 Champion, Felipe Drugovich.

Now for 2023, Novalak swapped teams, moving back to Trident – a team he previously raced for in Formula 3. Moving back to Trident had seen Novalak score two points over the Baku weekend.

But after Round 12 in Zandvoort, Novalak and Trident achieved 26 points after he took the race win during the Feature Race. This marks Novalak’s first win in the F2 championship.

FormulaNerds, and other selected media, spoke to Novalak after his maiden victory to discuss the race but also his time in Formula 2.

Novalak reflects on his victory

Speaking to FormulaNerds, Novalak admitted that the Feature Race at Zandvoort was a tough one. He said that it was “extremely physical” and it’s definitely a race that puts drivers “through [their] paces.”

But despite it being a challenging race, Novalak did say the result was “very sweet” and confessed he has struggled this year. Novalak told media:

“Obviously, very sweet. We’ve struggled this year and to be honest myself, I’ve not really adapted well to Formula 2, especially coming from Formula 3 where we had really strong results a couple of years ago.

“It’s a very good feeling. It’s been a long time and chuffed to bits to come away with the win.”

Last weekend was Novalak’s only second point-scoring weekend of the season. Touching on this and whether or not it’ll change things, Novalak said:

“I mean obviously it’s great to get such a good result going into Monza. It’s a challenging racetrack but Trident were quick there last year, so hopefully we can carry the momentum forward.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to replicate exactly this result, but hope for the best and give it our best.”

Elaborating on his struggles

During the post-race press conference, Novalak told accredited media about his struggles in Formula 2. The Trident driver explained:

“To be honest, I think last year obviously, I was paired up with a pretty incredible teammate in Felipe [Drugovich]. He’s probably arguably the fastest guy I’ve ever raced against, so it wasn’t an easy task. But it was definitely a strong car.

“This year, I guess I’ve made progress. Well, the team made progress on the car and myself, [we’ve been] ticking away at it step by step.

“I think where we’ve lacked the most is trying to really get that quali lap and nailing the quali lap, which we’ve never actually done in the past two years.”

So far this season, Novalak’s highest qualifying position was P11 in Jeddah. He said to media how the qualifying issue has been a “headscratcher.” Novalak elaborated saying:

“It’s been a bit of a headscratcher, let’s say, because it wasn’t necessarily an issue in F3 and something we’ve not really figured out in F2, I don’t know whether it’s the step in compounds or necessarily extracting the performance in the car hasn’t been that easy.

“But today obviously shows that we can still score good points from a difficult position but I’d much rather start in the top five so that’s what we’ve got to work on in the future.”

This coming weekend is Round 13 of the F2 Championship in 2023. All 22 drivers will take to the Autódromo Nazionale di Monza.

Novalak is now P17 in the standings. After his victory in Zandvoort, will he be able to replicate a successful result at Monza?

Headline Image: Twitter @trident_team

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