FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

F2: PREMA duo share reasons for surprisingly ‘difficult’ Bahrain qualifying

PREMA drivers Ollie Bearman and Andrea Kimi Antonelli did their best to provide explanations for a disappointing opening day to the 2024 F2 season

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Ollie Bearman and Andrea Kimi Antonelli struggled to get on top of the new F2 car as PREMA underwhelmed during qualifying in Bahrain.

PREMA F2 Bearman Antonelli Bahrain
Andrea Kimi Antonelli has been linked to Lewis Hamilton’s soon-to-be vacant seat at Mercedes, despite having yet to complete a race in F2 and skipping FIA F3 altogether. (Image Credit: @PREMA_Team on X)

If you watched F2 free practice for the season-opening round, the off-the-pace performance of the PREMA pair in qualifying wouldn’t have come as a huge shock.

Highly touted rookie and Mercedes junior Antonelli was only P15, with his championship-hopeful teammate down in P19.

However, within the context of expectations for the season ahead and PREMA’s record in F2, it is uncharacteristic: PREMA were well off their usual pace – even if the new F2 car provided an element of the unknown.

After both drivers struggled during free practice, the team weren’t able to improve things before the grid-setting session later in the day.

Bearman – who ran Victor Martins close for F2 rookie of the year in 2023 – said that despite qualifying a lowly P19, the car “didn’t feel that bad,” with Antonelli adding that it’s “obviously not what we expected,” after he set a time good enough for P18.

Although disappointing for both, less than a second separated the top 18 drivers in what was a fiercely competitive session. The PREMA duo themselves were just 0.017 seconds apart.

(Polesitter Kush Maini was later disqualified, thus elevating both PREMA drivers by one position. The top 18 remain separated by less than a second.)

Work to do

Bearman revealed that a “lack of confidence” prevented him from being able to remain consistently on the limit.

“Difficult first qualifying of the year here in Bahrain. It’s tough because it didn’t feel that bad, we have some work to do for the rest of the weekend,” the Ferrari Driver Academy member began.

“We lacked a bit of confidence to lean on the car and it really shows in these qualifying sessions where you have to be right on the limit consistently. That explains the gap and it’s where we need to focus to improve our performance.”

Meanwhile, Antonelli highlighted that evolving levels of grip caught them out, adding:

“First qualifying session for the year and obviously not what we expected, we didn’t perform really well especially with the second set of tyres as we didn’t expect such a change in grip.

“Not where we want to be, but we are working hard to get there and we’ll continue pushing for the races.”

Starting alongside each other in P17 and P18 respectively – for both the sprint and feature races – Antonelli and Bearman face an uphill battle to score points on the opening weekend of the season.

However, it’s worth remembering that neither Bearman nor 2023 F2 runner-up Frederik Vesti scored points for the team in Bahrain a year ago – so it would be prudent not to count PREMA out this season just yet.

Featured Image Credit: @PREMA_Team on X

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top