Kush Maini, Invicta, Formula 2, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Maini stripped of F2 pole position, rookie Bortoleto inherits first on grid

Formula 2

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Kush Maini has been stripped of his pole position for the opening feature race of 2024 after his car failed a technical check.

His team mate, rookie Gabriel Bortoleto, will therefore start Saturday’s main race from pole position.

Maini had taken pole position by 0.219 seconds over his team mate. However the stewards found the first-placed Invicta-run car did not comply with the technical regulations. They ruled the front external left undertray strake was lower than the permitted minimum height.

Invicta said the part which failed inspection had been damaged on a kerb. “This did not improve the performance of the car,” they asserted in a statement.

Formula 2 is using a new chassis, the Dallara F2 2024, for the first time this weekend.

As Maini has been disqualified for a technical infringement, all his times from the qualifying session have been deleted. He is expected to be granted permission to start both races from the back of the grid.

Bortoleto will therefore be joined on the front row of the grid for Saturday’s feature race by Isack Hadjar. Zane Maloney and Dennis Hauger will share the second row of the grid. Rookies Ritomo Miyata and Zak O’Sullivan will occupy the third row.

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The sprint race pole position will also change hands due to the change in the results of qualifying. Jak Crawford moves up to 10th, giving him pole position for the partially-reversed-grid race. The original pole winner Taylor Barnard will start second.

Speaking before the change was announced, Bortoleto said he was pleased just to qualify on the front row.

“I think that’s a very positive first quali for me in F2, finishing P2,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine this, to be honest. I’m happy that Kush’s P1 shows that the car there is, it shows the pace of the team.”

The reigning Formula 3 champion, who is a junior driver for McLaren, said he is targeting a podium finish in his first weekend in F2. “I think we have the pace,” he said. “In the test we were looking strong.

“So I’m going to do my best tomorrow. If it’s possible to get a podium I will be happy, and on Sunday, the same thing. I will do everything I can to be there to try for the win or to get as much points as I can.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Maini stripped of F2 pole position, rookie Bortoleto inherits first on grid”

  1. A real shame for Maini, that was such a lovely lap. Starting from the back will be a nightmare, with his pace they will probably try something radical strategy-wise.

    Invicta seems on it though, that’s great ! I’m very happy for Bortoletto who begins formula 2 with a pole, no less.

  2. I hope Bortoleto does all right, it’s been 3 years since the last rookie champion.

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