MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Race winner Ayumu Iwasa of Japan and DAMS (11) celebrates on the podium during the Round 3:Melbourne Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on April 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F2: Ayumu Iwasa, the next star of F1?
This F2 star has become a hot topic in recent weeks
Winning his first feature race of the season in a chaotic race in Melbourne, Iwasa now leads the championship by 8 points.
The 21-year-old joined the Red Bull academy in early 2021. A year later he entered as a rookie in F2, finishing 5th overall in the standings and having one win under his belt.
Now three races into his second campaign in F2 he has an eight-point advantage ahead of the rest of the grid. The youngster has been consistent throughout the Melbourne weekend. After scoring pole position on Friday, he held off a hungry Theo Pourchaire and kept his calm during the 33 laps around Albert Park and claimed his well-deserved victory.
We immediately felt his potential and knew very early in the season how much talent he had. – Charles Pic, DAMs team owner.
Racing was in Iwasa’s blood growing up, with his parents racing the Suzuka circuit and other Japanese race tracks. By the age of just four years old, he was already in his first kart but it wasn’t competitive. When he reached the age of 14, his ambition was to become an F1 World Champion one day and he started making progress to work his way there. In 2014 he won the Suzuka Karting Championship Yamaha-SS Class and also the Suzuka Karting Championship x-30 class title.
He made his single-seater debut during the 2017 F4 campaign in Japan, however, his first full season came two years later. He won the overall title that year proving that he is certainly a talent that could win the championship one day.
His 2019 season made an impression on teams, and he became a Honda Junior driver in 2020 and competed with them during the 2020 French F4 Championship. The star kept showing off to the motorsport world what kind of talent he possesses as he dominated that season. He won the French F4 by over 81 points. Red Bull was keeping tabs on this youngster and decided to sign him onto their Junior team in January 2021.
He achieved his first victory in F3 during the Hungary Grand Prix and scored a podium in Zandvoort.
After a solid season, he was invited for some post-season testing with the French F2 team, DAMs. The team were impressed with how Iwasa was performing in the car and also how he did in other feeder series categories. He was then announced as the 2022 driver for them.
He made sure to make an impression on viewers and teams during the first Feature race of the year in Bahrain. He started in last place; however, he pushed and fought his way up to finish in 8th. The performance was a huge highlight of the weekend and Iwasa made sure people would remember his name.
The season ended with an entertaining scrap between himself and the 2022 champion, Felipe Drugovich. During the last lap, Iwasa overtook the champion blocking him from achieving a final victory in F2.
Iwasa was on the podium 4 times and achieved a win during the French Feature Race. He finished 5th overall in the standings.
The current season
The Red Bull Junior has already made his mark on the season by winning a sprint race in Jeddah after overcoming a 3-car battle for a victory. He then cruised along in Albert Park to become the first-ever F2 winner after racing through a tough circuit.
He has already started to show the world what kind of talent he can bring to F1 in the future and with the performances he’s putting in every race weekend there is no doubt he will be a tough driver to contend with. As we are only 3 races into the season, we have not seen the last of Iwasa. It’s going to be exciting to see what he can do in other tracks during the rest of the season.
There is now a 3-week break between now and the next race, will Iwasa shine again on the streets of Baku and increase his lead in pursuit of the championship?
Featured image credits: Joe Portlock, Getty Images
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