Nicholas Latifi Says Barcelona Weekend Was ‘Ruined’ By New Clutch Software

by Aaron Gillard
Nicholas Latifi - DAMS - Spanish GP

DAMSNicholas Latifi says his stall from the FIA Formula 2 feature race, caused by the new clutch software introduced ruined his weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Canadian’s weekend ended poorly with only grabbing one point from the weekend, courtesy of a eighth place finish in the sprint race. But the DAMS’ driver’s chance of a strong result was lost from the feature race. After qualifying sixth, he dropped down at the start after stalling his car on the grid.

The series introduced a new clutch software in a bid to stop the new Dallara F2/18 car from stalling after multiple drivers stalled in the opening two rounds. Latifi fell victim to the clutch and said that his weekend was over by that point.

“The start of the Feature Race pretty much ruined the whole weekend,” said Latifi.

“It’s a big missed opportunity because it put me way out of position for the second race too – and Barcelona is a very difficult track to make up positions.

“F2 introduced new software to try and improve the clutch action. But in combination with the mapping adjustments we had made already, based on how the clutch was behaving on previous rounds, it ended up doing the opposite.

“The car just didn’t react as it should have. I was releasing the clutch very slowly, almost all the way to the end of the paddle, and the car still wasn’t moving. Then, right at the end, in the last millimetre, it came in at once. There was nothing I could have done to avoid that.”

Latifi ended the feature race down in fourteenth place, miles behind his team-mate Alexander Albon in fifth. In the sprint race however, the Canadian was able to recover his feature race woes and salvage a point with eighth place, ending a disappointing weekend for the DAMS driver.

Reflecting over the weekend, Latifi highlighted the moment with ten laps to and running with no tyres left, calling that moment the hardest point of his career.

“There was a difficult mix of damp and dry conditions at the beginning, so I made quite a conservative start to be safe,” Nicholas explained.

“The pace was okay, I kept out of trouble and got up to P8. But the track dried more quickly that I had expected and with 10 laps to go I had no tyres left. I did all I could to keep the position – it’s probably the hardest point I’ve had to work for in my driving career.”

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