Campos Racing endures hard-fought, unrewarding weekend of FIA F2 at Red Bull Ring

After a promising qualifying session, Campos Racing couldn’t convert it into points. Maini saw his chances dashed due to incidents and Boschung’s late charges in both races weren’t enough to finish in the top-ten

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Campos Racing struggled during the seventh round of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship season in Spielberg. The circuit in the heart of the Styrian Mountains didn’t bring the expected results to the stable of the Spanish-based racing team. Ralph Boschung and Kush Maini pushed as hard as always but, ultimately, they couldn’t make it into the points-paying positions.

On Friday, Maini and Boschung made a positive start to the Austrian weekend. Indian Maini clocked a lap time of 1m15.785s in the free practice session held in the morning and finished 6th in the timesheets. Boschung posted a best lap time of 1m15.906s. On the whole, good prospects for the qualifying session in the afternoon, which took place with a potential risk of rain that never happened. On his first attempt, Maini set a lap of 1m15.334s, which further lowered to a later 1m15.293s. The then seventh-fastest Maini still found more pace in his pocket and finally put together a lap of 1m14.858s to qualify in fourth. Boschung couldn’t improve his best effort of 1m15.828s and was forced to start from the back of the grid in both races.

Saturday’s sprint race was pure gamble with drops of rain during the formation lap. As a result, some drivers chose the slick tire to start, which was the case of Maini. Others mounted the wet tire, in the case of Boschung. At the start, Maini and Boschung avoided mistakes in an incident-marred first lap. In fact, the safety was deployed as Jehan Daruvala spun out. When the safety car headed into the pit lane, Maini moved up to sixth as Richard Verschoor also spun at T1. The safety car came out again and Boschung pitted for slick tires as the rain definitely stopped. Indian Maini had moved up to fourth but, at the restart, Enzo Fittipaldi hit the back of his Campos Racing car and dropped three places. From the onwards, nothing else worked out for both drivers of Campos Racing as they also handed two time penalties afterwards and finished 16th and 17th in the classification.

On Sunday, Maini was expecting a strong run for podium from fourth on the starting grid. The Indian racer and his teammate Boschung made the first stint on the super-soft tire. Maini fended off his rivals in the first lap and soon he put Victor Martins under pressure. Finally, he dived to the inside of Martins and moved past the Frenchman. Gradually, his tires started to lose pace and he made his mandatory pit stop in lap 8. Boschung pitted three laps later for a set of soft tires. Maini was running virtually in the points-paying positions when the safety car came out on lap 24. Maini pitted for a second time to finish the race with another set of super-soft tires. Boschung was another driver making a second pit stop. Unfortunately, Maini could never take advantage of the gamble as at the restart another driver made contact with him and damaged his front left tire. The Indian was forced to retire. Boschung’s late charge couldn’t go further than a 14th place at the checkered flag.

Silverstone will bring a new chance for redemption next weekend.