Jack Doohan has admitted that 2023 was a year that got away, after finishing third in the F2 Championship.
The Australian won the season-ending Feature race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday in what was his final start in the F1 feeder category.
It was his third Feature success of the year and marked a strong reversal of fortunes following a dismal opening to the campaign.
Doohan's hopes were blighted by an underlying car issue that went unresolved for the opening four rounds of the year.
Once fixed, his performance immediately improved, though a mistake in Monaco didn't help matters.
From Spain, however, the 20-year-old was back on song before delivering back-to-back Feature wins in Hungary and Belgium.
“I guess so,” he conceded when asked by Speedcafe if 2023 was the year that got away.
“For sure, we had the potential to win. It's difficult looking back on what could have been.
“The same, similar thing to the end of the season last year happened at the start of this year.
“But this year there was no fault, apart from my crash in Monaco, no fault of my own or the team's.
“That's motorsport sometimes. But to fight back and what we've managed to accomplish, we have to be very happy with that.”
Doohan was third in the F2 championship, 35 points down on title winner Theo Pourchaire, who was 11 points clear of Frederik Vesti.
It's a significant turnaround given the Australian was outside the top 10 in the standings after Monaco, more than 60 points adrift of then-leader Vesti.
“It's been a bit of a roller coaster,” Doohan said of his 2023.
“This year, coming in, I wanted to make it my title fight year but the first five rounds, not scoring any points made it a little difficult.
“I think round five, after Monaco, I was a good 79 points away from Theo and Fred, so to come back now with only a 40-point deficit is good.
“We've been the highest scored by over 30 points, so when it's been in our control, we've done the most we could.
“But unfortunately, we just lost too much. You've got to be happy with what you can do and I'm stoked to go out like this.”
After two years in F2, Doohan has confirmed he will not return to the championship next season.
Details of his 2024 programme have not been released, with sources suggesting to Speedcafe they're still to be finalised.