Penalty takes away podium finish for Jehan Daruvala in Round 8 of F2 at Austria
Round 8 of the FIA Formula 2 championship in Austria held bittersweet results for Red Bull-backed Jehan Daruvala, with a 20-second time penalty negating his brilliant performance at Round 8 of the FIA Formula 2 World Championship in Austria. Jehan finished in 11th place in the Sprint race, but his heroic drive in the Feature race was hampered by the aforementioned time penalty that took away his sixth podium finish of the season.
In qualifying, Frederik Vesti driving for the ART Grand Prix team posted the fastest time, with Jehan qualifying on the grid in 11th place, four places ahead of his Prema Racing teammate Dennis Hauger. Over the course of the race weekend, it was Marcus Armstrong who led the Sprint race from start to finish with an impressive drive, while Daruvala finished in eleventh place, finishing two places behind Hauger.
Jehan clawed back lost ground in the Feature race however, moving up the grid from eleventh place to second, with a provisional finish in second place behind Richard Verschoor from the Trident team, thanks to the strategy of starting on slick tyres on a damp track. Jehan’s pace in the tricky conditions saw him make rapid progress up the grid and Daruvala had a shot at winning the race too, after Verschoor was disqualified due to a fuelling irregularity. However, that was not to be, as a 20-second time penalty was handed post-race with the stewards deeming that the Prema Racing team had attempted to dry the track surface at Jehan’s grid spot.
“I’m absolutely gutted. All season luck has been against us and just when I thought things were finally going our way we get hit with a penalty.” said the 23-year old racer backed by Red Bull. “We did everything right today. I was expecting a tough race from 11th on the grid and, while it was tricky, we read the conditions perfectly today. The team made the right strategy call on the tyres and I was able to maximise it with my pace in the wet. It’s difficult to find the positives after having a result we fought hard for taken away from us in this fashion. We could have taken big points off our rivals today but I can still take encouragement from my pace today,” Daruvala adds.
The penalty in Austria was the latest in a series of Sunday misfortunes that have cost Jehan a strong result in feature races this season. After Round 8 in Austria, Jehan stands fourth in the overall driver’s championship, and only time will tell if the Indian’s luck changes in the upcoming rounds at Paul Ricard and Budapest.