F2 set to test fixes for "unacceptable" clutch problem

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F2 set to test fixes for
By: Jack Benyon
Co-author: Valentin Khorounzhiy
May 1, 2018, 9:51 AM

Formula 2 is set to use its test car this week in a bid to improve the troublesome clutch aboard its new 2018 car, after 14 stalls in four races.

Roberto Merhi, MP Motorsport
Start action, Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, leads Ralph Boschung, MP Motorsport
Lando Norris, Carlin
George Russell, ART Grand Prix
Lando Norris, Carlin, at the start
Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate in a Press Conference
Arjun Maini, Trident

After stalls have blighted the first two rounds of the season, drivers have called for the clutch to be improved on the grounds of safety, due to cars having to avoid stalled machines on the grid.

The difficulty comes in engaging the clutch, with drivers labelling starts a 'gamble' after the Bahrain season opener and becoming increasingly vocal about the issue after last weekend's Baku round.

Baku sprint race winner and Mercedes F1 reserve driver George Russell added his voice to the growing chorus of disaffected drivers.

“This is the highest level below F1 and to have 14 cars stall in four races is just unheard of and unacceptable really for a championship of this standard," he told Motorsport.com.

“Nobody can afford to lose this championship based on starts or stalling. It’s only when you have a new car this would happen, but they are doing something about it and that’s the main thing.”

Campos driver Luca Ghiotto, who stalled on the grid in Sunday's race, also agreed that the change was urgently needed.

"[A fix] is necessary because you can't just hope that you will start," Ghiotto told Motorsport.com. "Normally you should just think about how good to start, not if you will start or not.

"You just need to hope to start. That's it. It's bad to say that, because we are here for racing, it's a high-level championship and everyone wants to win."

F2 organisers refused to comment on any impending changes to the clutch, but race director Charlie Whiting confirmed a change to the mapping was being investigated. 

“The problem as I’ve had it explained to me, they can improve the mapping of the clutch paddle, and they can improve the way the clutch itself works," he said.

“There is a problem there, they understand that, and they are going to run the F2 test car this coming week in order to try and find some things that they think can improve and have it ready for Spain. 

“It’s a wholly unsatisfactory situation. In Monaco it will be a whole different story.”

Motorsport.com understands that F2 could have made the mapping change before Baku, but it wanted to test the update before it was implemented for a race weekend.

It is also believed to be evaluating parts in the clutch for any changes.

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About this article

Series FIA F2
Author Jack Benyon
Article type Breaking news