Maloney aiming to carry test form into first weekend with Rodin Motorsport looking strong – Formula 2

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The team topped two of the three days of the pre-season outing around the Bahrain International Circuit, and while testing might not be wholly conclusive, Zane Maloney and Rodin Motorsport are feeling good.
Ahead of the first race weekend of the season and the first in the new generation of car, the Bajan driver says that his preparation could hardly have gone better.
“I’m feeling pretty great. Testing is just testing but the first three days in the new car alongside the shakedown went very well and we learned a lot. We did lots of race and quali runs and the pace looks quite good.
“I always want to do well but you never want to be overconfident before the race weekend. But I’m feeling very good going into this one and my expectation is to be on pole and go for the win, and the team is the same.
“For them, it doesn’t really matter which car out of the two of us it is, but I’ll be going for it, I just need to be focused on how to get there. Testing was a very good result, but it doesn’t mean I’ll be on the podium or get a win.
“That will come from being at the front in every session, so we’ll see what happens this weekend. But I’ll be giving it my all and the team will be doing the same. Hopefully it’s a good year ahead.”
The 2024 car looks very different from the outside but from inside the cockpit, drivers have now had plenty of time to acclimatise to the changes at the wheel.
Rodin Motorsport were one of a few teams that looked to have gotten their heads around the ’24 machine relatively quickly, and that translated into strong one lap and race pace during the three days of testing.
“From the driver’s side of things, the new car feels quite similar,” Maloney explained. “From an engineering side, it’s a bit different for the teams to understand and to make as fast as possible.
“In terms of pure pace, I’m not really sure yet if it’s faster or slower than the old car, but with the feeling we’ve found a very good balance and that was straight away from the beginning of the test. So that was a great job done by the team. We need to continue to improve throughout going forward now.
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“I’m hoping that testing can be fully read into, and I hope it’s exactly what we see. I think that we can take some things away from it, that’s true whenever we’re on track as drivers. We’re trying to go as fast as we possibly can, no matter what, race run or quali run.
“I think everyone up and down the grid can go faster, we’ll see that in Qualifying for sure. But again, you could do the laptime 150 times over but on that 151st time you don’t do it, it’ll mean nothing. Qualifying is what matters.”
12 months ago, in what was his first race weekend of his rookie campaign, Maloney recovered from a difficult Qualifying result to rise from P18 on the grid to finish third and on the podium.
Returning to the same venue he achieved one of his best F2 results to date, he is full of confidence that things can be even better this time around.
Taking into account what he learned last year and combining that with a positive approach, expectations are high ahead of the opening weekend of the season.
“Last year was a bit crazy. I made a mistake in Qualifying which put is so far back, but the pace was there all weekend and we showed that in the race. Like I said, Bahrain is a specific track compared to the rest of the season, but we’re confident going into this weekend.
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“The main thing is just to be on it with every run I do and every time I go out on track. That’s more of a mindset thing because I know I can do it. I can be one of the fastest on the track, but being on the limit and risking it from the beginning of the weekend is a mindset thing.
“I’m a different driver today to the one I was back then. A year in motorsport goes by quickly and I have learned a lot. I know the reasons for every single thing that happened which is great. I didn’t perform to my maximum capacity last year and I could look back after a weekend and there’d be 100 things I could have done better.
“Now I’m eating better, training harder and working better within the team and I’m just in a better mindset than I was last year, that’s for sure. I’m just going to continue to try and improve every day, but I feel like I’ve taken a big step forward from last year.”
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