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Maloney Formula 2 Bahrain
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Race winner Zane Maloney of Barbados and Rodin Motorsport (5) celebrates in parc ferme during the Round 1 Sakhir Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

F2: the mindset switch behind Maloney’s double win weekend

Despite the insistence that he hasn't become a better driver since last season, Maloney explains how his mindset influences his performance

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Zane Maloney started the Formula 2 season off in style, winning both races to take the lead of the championship.

Maloney Formula 2 Bahrain
Zane Maloney (center), Pepe Marti (left) and Paul Aron (right) celebrate after finishing on the podium in the Formula 2 Feature Race in Bahrain (Image Credit: @Formula2 on X)
Sprint Race win

Maloney started off the weekend by qualifying fourth, behind both Invicta Racing drivers and Isack Hadjar. But when polesitter Kush Maini was disqualified for a technical infringement, Maloney was bumped up to third.

That put him eighth on the grid at the start of the Sprint Race. With the pace he had, it only took him 11 laps to fight his way up into the lead of the race, passing Jak Crawford to control the second half and take his maiden Formula 2 win.

It was an amazing race,” Maloney said afterwards. “Of course, it started with a great start and then a good first two laps. I always put my car in the right place which was good. After that to be honest I was happy to settle in my position and try to save the tyres a bit.

“While saving the tyres I was still keeping up so then I decided to just go for it, get in the lead and think about the tyres after that which I did. It worked out very well. The team gave me a great car so that is the reason.”

Mindset change

Starting third on Saturday morning made for a much easier race for the boy from Barbados. Maloney jumped both Hadjar and polesitter Gabriel Bortoleto to take the lead by the first corner.

Two Safety Cars and 32 laps later, Maloney had won the second race of the weekend.

Speaking to FormulaNerds and other media after the race, the 20-year-old driver talked about what he learned during his rookie season of Formula 2 that has helped him so far this year.

Maloney Formula 2 Bahrain
Zane Maloney (center), Pepe Marti (left), and Paul Aron (right) in the press conference after the Bahrain Feature Race (Image Credit: FIA Formula 2)

“I mean I’m driving better, that’s plain and simple,” he commented. “Like I said, I don’t think I’ve become a better driver from last year to this year, I think as a driver, in terms of pure pace throughout your career, you don’t gain a crazy amount. It’s more mindset-wise.

“In F3, I went into the race weekend almost in my mind knowing that I’m going to be in the top three in qualifying and then in the races, just because I knew I was driving well. And then of course all the mistakes in F3, your confidence drops a bit.

“And then going into F2 last year, of course I had a great first round, but as soon as I had a bad second round the confidence starts going down, and I just trusted in myself a bit less. My braking wasn’t amazing, because I didn’t want to ruin a set of tyres in practice going into qualifying.

“This year all that’s gone. I’m here to prove that I am good enough for the next level, and I’m just going to continue to hit practice from the first lap as hard as I can, and then the weekends start to go smoother from there. Rodin have properly been teaching me mindset more than driving to be honest, and it’s really worked out.”

Looking ahead

Maloney currently leads the championship by twelve points. After just one round, it’s still too early for him to talk about winning the title.

“In terms of the Championship, I don’t think anyone could look at that right now,” he said.

“I am just focused on going to Jeddah and having the same experience in terms of pace. Of course, I know every weekend you’re not going to win two races, that is not how F2 works but we need to take this pace over to Jeddah. Once we do that, I can speak to you more about that because I will know that the pace is genuine throughout the whole season.

“For now, I just need to buckle down with the team. Jeddah almost is the most opposite track you can get to this, so I just need to get mentally ready to send it on the streets.”

Formula 2 is back this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images

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