Title-chasing Louis Delétraz is “ready to push” at the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Bahrain this weekend.
The Swiss driver travels to the Bahrain Grand Prix with an outside chance of winning the F2 Drivers’ title and is determined to maximise his points return during the 11th round of the season.
He currently sits P7 in the standings, 69 points off the lead. But with 96 points to play for across two back-to-back rounds in Sakhir, the title fight is mathematically on.
“Going to the last rounds still fighting for the championship is always a good sign,” the Charouz Racing System driver said. “Of course, it’s not going to be easy with the points deficit we have. But I will go all in, try to shine and see where we end up!”
A two-month break between round 10 in Sochi and this weekend’s fixture in Bahrain means some of the drivers on the F2 grid could experience some ‘race rustiness’ having been out of the cockpit for so long.
But Louis kept himself busy during that period after being given the opportunity to re-join the GPX Racing squad for the final two rounds of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. He raced the squad’s Porsche 911 GT3-R at the iconic 24 Hours of Spa and the Paul Ricard 1000km.
“It was really handy to do some endurance racing because it allowed me to keep sharp and drive a different type of car,” he said. “I really felt the benefit of those two races – I was in the car for almost eight hours at Spa.
“I’m completely ready to push in F2 this weekend. These might be some of my last races in the category so I don’t want to have any regrets.”
As well as hosting the penultimate round of the F2 season, the Bahrain International Circuit will also host the final round alongside the Sakhir Grand Prix on 4-6 December.
But, in a fresh twist, Louis and his F2 rivals will lock horns on a new circuit for the first time: the ultra-quick, 3.54km ‘Outer Track’.
Its unusual configuration takes in Turns 1, 2 and 3 of the standard Grand Prix track, before breaking away at Turn 4 to tackle a series of quick, sweeping corners and re-joining the familiar layout at Turn 13.
Twenty three-year-old Louis said: “The oval will be fun and extremely close in terms of the lap time. It’s basically only 4 corners!
“I don’t know how the tyre degradation will be but it’s an unknown factor for everyone. Qualifying might be hectic, as well. I’m expecting it to be hard to find some space on the track.”
Louis’ Bahrain Grand Prix weekend will kick off with Qualifying at 16.15 on Friday, before the 32-lap Feature Race starts at 12.10 on Saturday and the 23-lap Sprint Race goes green at 13.00 on Sunday (times are CET+2).