After finishing runner-up in last year’s FIA Formula 3 Championship, Jack Doohan is close to hitting the sweet spot in this year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship.
It’s been a difficult maiden campaign for the Queenslander so far, who has had a mixed run of results during the season’s six rounds – a highlight being a podium in Barcelona, the lowlight being scoreless weekends in Monza and Baku.
The pace is certainly there for the Alpine Academy Driver though with two pole positions and the fastest lap bonus point in three races part of his season’s tally.
However, a victim of multiple mechanical dramas, the teenager has been unlucky on a few occasions and currently sits ninth on the standings.
Although not representative of his talent, Doohan remains confident the results will come soon and the team can get back on track for a top three finish.
“It's been good a year despite things not going exactly to plan at times, but our pace is really strong, and I think we have a really good package,” Doohan said.
“We’re just needing to string a few good weeks together and with a little luck where things go our way, we could be in a really good position. If we can get into a good rhythm with good momentum, we can be very hard to beat as I think that we have one of the strongest packages on the grid.
“We knew Baku would be our weakest and that we would struggled as a team, so we aimed to salvage points, but we just fell short even if the pace was there.
“I am not worried about weekends like that because we don’t need to prove anything, nor try and redeem ourselves as we know the pace is there. We just need to keep doing what we're doing and get into that good rhythm, which we should put us on target to do good things.
“I'm quite happy with where we are speed-wise, and I know that we have the capability to move forward, so P2 isn’t out of reach as we are only halfway into the season.”
Outside of the F2 season itself, things are moving along very nicely for Doohan.
From joining Oscar Piastri, who is likely to be in Formula 1 next year, at Alpine to getting his first taste of driving a Formula 1 car recently – the rewards for his efforts are coming thick and fast.
No doubt the biggest highlight of his year were test sessions in the team’s Formula 1 car, which would have given Doohan even more inspiration to keep pursuing his dream and the belief that he is closing in on that F1 seat.
However despite being so close to the pinnacle of motor racing around the world, Doohan is fully aware that is still has a mountain of work ahead of him.
“I know I’m close but it's just crazy, especially in this sport, how quickly things change,” Doohan explained.
“A good weekend and you're on top of the world, but a bad weekend and everything has flipped upside down and that’s just how cut-throat motorsport is unfortunately.
“I think it's just important not to think about it too much and let the results and performances do the talking because it can obviously go from really good to really bad really quickly due to the slightest of misjudgments or mistakes.
“It's important to just focus on the current objective, which is Formula 1, and in order to do that, I need to perform well in Formula 2 which will give me the best possible chance to do that.
“As for driving the F1 car, it had been something I had been preparing for ever since I can remember and it was everything I could've dreamed of - it was just surreal.
“Obviously we had prepared for it, but some things you can't prepare for – like what the car can do and the sensations from driving it, which are just out of this world. It catches you by surprise massively even though you're so prepared for it.
“I was just so amazed by the entry mid cornering speed and how much you can combine the down force, the acceleration. Honestly, it's an unbelievable car to drive.”
Doohan and the rest of the FIA Formula 2 Championship return to action this weekend as part of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 1-3 July.