Louis Delétraz is keen to maintain his strong start to the FIA Formula 2 Championship season when he returns to the track in Baku, Azerbaijan this weekend (26-28 April).
The 22-year-old lies fourth in the F2 points standings after performing well during the opening pair of races at round one in Bahrain last month.
This weekend’s races at the Baku City Circuit will provide a completely different test to the one Louis faced at the Sakhir International Circuit last time out where high temperatures and extreme tyre degradation were the primary challenges.
As a tricky street circuit, the 6.003km Baku track is renowned for its unique layout that includes a number of medium-speed corners, a tight and twisty section through the old city and a two kilometre, high-speed straight that passes beside the Caspian Sea.
“Baku is a track that’s very different to what you get anywhere else on the F2 calendar,” Louis explained. “It’s a hugely intense street circuit that’s exciting to drive because you have so many different challenges and the walls are often close. I’m looking forward to going there and working to repeat the strong weekend I had in Bahrain.”
The Swiss driver is confident his Carlin team will give him an on-track package that will enable him to maximise his results across both the 29-lap Feature Race and the 21-lap Sprint Race in Baku – but he realises there will be a big emphasis on him to establish a fast and accurate rhythm when the competitive action gets underway.
“I’ve felt comfortable from day one in my Carlin car and that’s good because you need to have confidence to push and be strong in the braking zones at Baku,” Louis said. “The key to success this weekend is being quick and trying not to do any mistakes. If you are smart and sensible, Baku is a track that will reward you.
“It’s very easy to lose points during the early F2 races because the tracks are a little bit more specialist and require a certain approach. There have been some crazy races at Baku in the past and I expect that to be the same this year. But my aim is to bring all of the vital elements together so I can be fast, clever and successful this weekend.”
With air and track temperatures expected to be much cooler than they were in Bahrain last month, Louis is looking forward to having more freedom on the track and not having to focus too much on the performance of the Pirelli tyres he’ll be running.
“There will definitely be much less tyre degradation than we saw in Bahrain so I will be much more on the limit of the car in the races this weekend,” the ADSS-supported driver explained. “I’ll be able to drive how I want – which is flat out!”
Louis’ Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend will get underway on Friday with free practice at 11.00 and qualifying at 15.00. Saturday’s Feature Race will go green at 12.00, while Sunday’s Sprint Race is scheduled to start at 13.10. Times quoted are local – GMT+4.