• P16 and P8 for Artem Markelov, P18 and P14 for Giuliano Alesi 
  • Artem Markelov: “We have finally been rewarded for our efforts.”
  • Giuliano Alesi: “We have gained more valuable experience.”
  • Thomas Strick: “The point is a reward for the entire team.”
Spa-Francorchamps, 30th August 2020 – During qualifying on the roller-coaster circuit in the Belgian Ardennes, it did not look like BWT HWA RACELAB would make the breakthrough on this race weekend. Artem Markelov (Russia) was 1.6 seconds off the lead as he qualified in 19th place.
Artem did not make a good start to Saturday’s race as he was passed by a group of drivers including his team-mate Giuliano Alesi (France) who had started the race behind him. However, Artem reclaimed the lost places on lap one and moved up to 18th position. He produced an error-free race up until the pit stop. BWT HWA RACELAB chose a slightly different strategy this time and Artem came in for a tyre change a little earlier – on the 13th of 25 laps. That looked to be paying off. Artem was able to use the fresh tyres to go on the attack and start some overtaking manoeuvres. Lap 19 saw him up in 13th place but race control then imposed a drive-through penalty. Artem had left the track when taking evasive action in Eau Rouge. The stewards were of the opinion that he had gained an advantage with this manoeuvre. The penalty saw Artem drop back to 18th place but he continued to put on a fighting display during the final three laps of the race. He overtook his team-mate and another car to move up to 16th.  
On Sunday, Artem once again did not make an ideal start as Giuliano moved past him but Artem was able to counter during two safety car phases. In 14th place, he found his rhythm and attacked the two drivers ahead of him. He claimed 13th place on lap seven and moved up to 12th on lap nine. The former Formula 2 runner-up brought all his experience to bear and continued to apply pressure. After 14 laps he had reached tenth place and was within touching distance of the top eight and a points finish. Artem displayed lightning-fast reactions after a virtual safety car phase, using the restart for an overtaking manoeuvre that put him in ninth place. A momentary lapse of concentration saw him slip back but Artem stayed in touch with the cars in front of him. On the final lap, he moved up to ninth and was classified in eighth place after a time penalty was imposed on a competitor. This meant that the 25-year-old scored his first point in the drivers’ standings. 
Giuliano Alesi (France) endured an unlucky start to the weekend. He slid off and collided with a track barrier while attempting to warm up his tyres at the start of free practice. That marked the end of the session for the 20-year-old, costing him the chance to complete valuable kilometres of testing. He was still dealing with the consequences of this incident in qualifying and was not able to improve on 20th position.
Giuliano made a good start to Saturday’s race. He improved by two places to claim 18th position. However, it swiftly became clear that he was struggling with the pace. He was not able to make any great leaps forward. Once the standings had been adjusted to take all the pit stops into account, he was back in 18th place. The drive-through penalty imposed on Artem saw him briefly move ahead of his team-mate but he did slip back to finish the race in 18th place.
Giuliano made another good start on Sunday as he moved up to 15th place during the opening laps. Compared to the previous day, Giuliano produced consistent lap times this time around. He maintained his position in midfield and crossed the finishing line in 14th place after 19 laps.
Before Saturday’s race, drivers and teams from Formula 2 joined in a minute's silence to honour the memory of Anthoine Hubert, who tragically passed away after an accident at Spa last year. 
The FIA Formula 2 Championship will continue on 5th and 6th September with two races in Monza.
Reactions to the race weekend 
Artem Markelov (25, Russia, #16), P16 and P8
We are all delighted to have scored a point. We have really struggled in the recent races, but we have finally been rewarded for our efforts. We already had a good pace on Saturday. Unfortunately, I then got a drive-through penalty that knocked me back. I had to avoid a slower car in Eau Rouge and briefly left the track, which was classified as gaining an illicit advantage. The stewards later confirmed that the decision was incorrect but that didn’t change anything. It just makes all the sweeter to have scored a point on Sunday. We had a good racing pace and I was able to produce some overtaking manoeuvres. I hope this will continue in Monza.” 
Giuliano Alesi (20, France, #17), P18 and P14
“We made some progress this weekend and gained some more valuable experience. However, these still are not the results we were hoping for. In Monza, we want to be competing with a better overall package. My motivation remains high and I am looking forward to the next challenge.”  
Thomas Strick (Team Principal BWT HWA RACELAB)
“The point for Artem is a reward for the entire team. Everyone has worked really hard over the past weeks. This time, we benefited from the experience gained from previous races and we were able to compete with a functioning setup. Artem put that into action really well on both days. He would probably have finished even higher, had it not been for the drive-through penalty. Now we must make sure that we stay focused and make more progress as a team in Monza.”
Result of race one, Saturday 29 August:
1. Y. Tsunoda          Carlin            53:42.538
16. Artem Markelov BWT HWA RACELAB 54:26.796
18. Giuliano Alesi    BWT HWA RACELAB 54:29.583               
Result of race two, Sunday 30 August:
1. R. Shwartzman PREMA Racing 42:44.391
8. Artem Markelov BWT HWA RACELAB     43:14.883
14. Giuliano Alesi BWT HWA RACELAB   43:17.839