F2 start issues now "history", claims Whiting

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting says the Formula 2 start issues which have plagued the series' new car as "history", after no stalls in two races in Hungary last weekend. 

F2 start issues now "history", claims Whiting

F2's new-for-2018 car has suffered clutch problems since the start of the year, as well as reliability issues relating to the turbocharged Mecachrome engine.

The number of drivers stalling on the grid in the early rounds prompted the FIA to introduce rolling starts on safety grounds for the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone races.

But last weekend in Budapest, where standing starts were used again following clutch and engine fixes, the series had two trouble-free getaways, despite stalls in practice and qualifying. 

“I think we’ve overcome that problem now,” said Whiting after Sunday’s sprint race. “I was completely confident we can do a standing start, whether drivers make mistakes, we can’t prevent that. 

“We saw two clean starts, I don’t think we need to discuss that more. It’s history. I think the changes that have been made to the engines, clutch control and the clutch itself appear to have worked.”

F2 was hamstrung by poor weather at the beginning of the year, affecting its ability to test, and series boss Bruno Michel says the start fixes are the result of continued work done across the season. 

“It’s a result of a lot of hard work,” Michel told Motorsport.com. “There’s been massive improvement, we’ve noticed it and the teams have noticed it. When it’s a new car sometimes it takes a little bit of time. 

“Our car is very complex and what you have to keep in mind all the time is we are supplying a car that is almost performing like Formula 1 but with one hundredth of what F1 costs. 

“It’s getting more complex, there’s more electronics, the turbo, the technology is evolving a lot. 

“This car is much more evolved than the previous one, it’s a massive change. Dallara, Mecachrome and [gearbox supplier] Hewland have all had to work together to make it work."

The series has made software changes throughout the season in a bid to combat some of its issues, but Budapest was the first venue at which new parts were introduced.

“We did a physical change on the clutch, we have a new clutch basket with a new diaphragm, which means less friction,” said F2 technical boss Didier Perrin. “That’s better for the clutch control. 

“The second change we’ve made is to the engine mapping, the engine delivers more torque at the precise bite point. 

“On top of that we have provided to the team a new clutch control setting which is precisely set to match the new clutch basket. 

“The improvement is clear and the feedback from the teams is positive.”

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