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Joshua Dürksen on his maiden F2 podium and expectations for the future

Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit - Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

Jumping from FRECA to Formula 2 is a feat not to be undermined. With the differences in the two cars, few expected Andrea Kimi Antonelli to be on the pace immediately – the Italian finishing fourth in today’s feature race. However, another driver making the same jump finished one spot better than Antonelli: AIX Racing’s Joshua Dürksen. 

After qualifying fifth on Friday, the Paraguayan-German driver wanted to turn it into his first points in the sprint, but a crash in the opening metres meant he walked out with no score. However, it’s been a long time coming for him, speaking on the opportunities he felt he had before today.

“In Jeddah, on-track I finished in the points as well, but sadly, a penalty took me out of the points. Then in Australia, I really had a feeling I would score my first points there, but then I had a crash. And yesterday I also thought I’d get the points, but sadly the big crash in front of me happened, I couldn’t avoid it,” Dürksen said.

“To get my first points and first podium at the same time is a really good feeling. So yeah, this was a great comeback, and I’m just really happy and thankful to the team and my family. These guys [Hadjar and Bortoleto] were just way too quick. I lost my gap to Antonelli, I saw we had the same pace. From there, I was just trying to keep the tyres alive, but yeah, to catch these two guys, it was quite difficult.”

To immediately be on the pace is unforeseen, especially considering the limited testing young drivers are constrained to. What has been the secret to keeping up with the more experienced?

“I think it’s just the hard work we are doing off-season. The team is just really working hard, myself as well, it’s just the hard work they’re putting in. I think that’s the key, just the preparation we’ve done and the work we’ve done, and we want to keep going like this.”

“But the post-season test, pre-season test helped a lot, because doing the race weekends, you don’t get a lot of laps,” he said. “Free practice, if you’re lucky, you get five laps, then you go to quali with supersoft tyres and a track which is much grippier, so of course the jumps are quite big, and the preparation is quite important. I feel comfortable, the team teached me the procedures quite well, and I’ll continue running day by day.”

Adding onto this, the AIX Racing driver also brought up the stark contrasts between FRECA and F2 machinery.

“It was a big jump, but of course the FRECA cars are quite tricky to drive, so it was good preparation for F2. The speeds are a lot more for F2. I mean, we reach 300 km/hr here, in FRECA it was 260 I think, downforce is a lot more.”

With his points and podium today, Dürksen became the first driver from Paraguay to achieve both feats. With this achievement, he displayed the pride he has in the accomplishment by waving the Paraguayan flag on the podium. What does this mean to him?

“It’s just a big honour,” Dürksen said. “From the country I’m coming, I think we have one track in the whole country: 600 metres long, quite short, bumpy as well. It’s just a privilege for me, motorsport. Rally is really strong in Paraguay, but closed circuits aren't quite as popular. And of course, it’s an honour to represent Paraguay, especially in F2. I got to race in F2 and now the first podium.

“It’s just a huge honour to me. Just really happy with the points I’m getting for my country.”

In just one week’s time, Formula 2 will return to the renowned Monte Carlo circuit in Monaco. What does such a strong result mean for the momentum he and his team will carry?

“This was a great start, also for my season after so many tough races. Of course, I’ll take it step-by-step. This was a good race weekend, but in each track it can be different, so my main focus will be just working hard and to maximise everything. So I will just focus on my job and let the victory come.”

“Monaco, let’s see. I’ve had runs in FRECA, but that was a long time ago, so we’ll see it in F2. We’ll take it with the same approach I did for Imola.”

With this result, Dürksen leaps to 13th in the championship.


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