The Exciting World of Formula 2: A Gateway to Formula 1

Formula 2 is a racing series that serves as a direct feeder to Formula 1, and is considered as the final step before entering the pinnacle of motorsport.

The Exciting World of Formula 2: A Gateway to Formula 1

I. Introduction

Formula 2 is a racing series that serves as a direct feeder to Formula 1, and is considered as the final step before entering the pinnacle of motorsport. Formula 2 provides young drivers with a platform to showcase their skills, and for many, it is a stepping stone to the biggest stage of them all. In this article, we will explore the exciting world of Formula 2, and delve into the importance and significance of this series in the world of motorsport.

II. History and Origins of Formula 2

Formula 2 was established in 1948 as a category of open-wheel racing vehicles used for single-seat racing. It was initially considered as the second-highest class of racing cars below the Formula 1, but the regulations and specifications have undergone various changes over the years. In 1960, Formula Two was recognized as an official FIA-sanctioned international series. The series was created to serve as a pathway to Formula 1, with the top two finishers of the season qualifying for F1 racing.

In the early years, Formula 2 cars were smaller than their Formula 1 counterparts, with engines limited to 1.5 liters. However, as the sport progressed, so did the cars, with the F2 cars becoming more powerful, faster, and closer in design to Formula 1 cars. In 1985, Formula 2 was replaced by Formula 3000, which was designed to cut the cost of the competition. The initial regulations joined the F2 style chassis with the naturally aspirated 3000 cc Cosworth DFV V8 engines, that were by then obsolete in the all-turbocharged Formula 1.

In 2005, the GP2 Series was established as the new feeder series to Formula 1. It was renamed the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017 and included also the revived European Formula 3 and the newly introduced Formula 4 category. The series' current cars are designed with a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, a 3.4-liter V6 engine, and Pirelli tires. The cars produce around 620 horsepower and can reach speeds of up to 340 kilometers per hour. In parallel there are also the Japanese, Australian, Mexican and British Formula 2.

III. Features and Characteristics of Formula 2

Formula 2 is a one-make championship consisting of 22 identical cars. The chassis are designed by Dallara Automobili, and since 2018 has run the F2 2018 chassis. The power base is a Mecachrome-assembled 3.4L turbocharged V6.

The cars in Formula 2 are constructed to high technical specifications and safety standards. They are equipped with a halo, a protective device that circles around the cockpit and protects the driver's head from debris and impacts. In addition, the cars have advanced safety features like a fire extinguisher system, roll cage, and impact-absorbing structure.

Compared to Formula 1, Formula 2 provides a more level playing field for young drivers to showcase their skills and talent. The cars are less technologically advanced, which puts more emphasis on driver ability. In addition, the cost of competing in Formula 2 is significantly lower than Formula 1, making it a more accessible pathway to the pinnacle of motorsport.

Other motorsport series that are similar to Formula 2 include Formula 3, Indy Lights, and Super Formula. Formula 3 is considered a stepping stone to Formula 2, and features cars with lower power and less downforce. Indy Lights is a feeder series for the IndyCar championship in the United States, while Super Formula is a Japanese racing series that features cars with more power than Formula 2.

IV. The rules and regulations

The 2023 FIA Formula 2 season started in Bahrain in March. The campaign comprises a bumper 14 rounds, all support events of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Weekend format

On a Friday, there is one Free Practice session of 45 minutes and one Qualifying session of 30 minutes. One Sprint Race will take place on Saturday and will consist of 120 kilometers or 45 minutes, whichever comes first. The Feature Race takes place on Sunday morning ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and will consist of 170 kilometers or 60 minutes, whichever comes first.

The Feature Race includes a compulsory pitstop in which all four tires must be changed. Unless the driver has used wet-weather tires during the Feature Race, they must use at least one set of each specification of dry-weather tires during the Feature Race. A schedule will be issued in the leadup to every round to determine timings of each session.

Starting grids

The results of the final classification of Friday’s Qualifying session will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s Feature Race. The starting grid of Saturday’s Sprint Race will be determined by reversing the top 10 finishers of Friday’s Qualifying session results.

Points attribution

The driver who takes pole position following the final classification of Friday’s Qualifying session will be awarded with two points. For the Sprint Race, the top eight classified drivers will be awarded 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points respectively. For the Feature Race, the top 10 finishers will score 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points respectively. In each race, one point will be awarded to the driver who achieves the fastest lap time, providing he was in the top 10 positions of the final race classification.

Tire allocation

The sporting regulations state that each driver will be allocated five sets of dry-weather tires per weekend. They will have three “prime” specification sets and two of the “option” specification. Each driver will also be provided with three sets of wet-weather tires.

V. Notable Drivers and Teams in Formula 2

Formula 2 has produced many successful drivers who have gone on to compete in Formula 1. One of the most notable success stories is that of Charles Leclerc, who won the championship in 2017 before moving up to Sauber (now Alfa Romeo) in Formula 1. Leclerc's performance in Formula 2 caught the attention of Ferrari, who signed him as a test driver for the 2017 season before promoting him to a race seat in 2018.

Other drivers who have graduated from Formula 2 to Formula 1 include Pierre Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell, Lando Norris, Alex Albon or Oscar Piastri. Gasly won the championship in 2016 and made his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2017, before moving to Red Bull Racing in 2019. Norris finished runner-up in the championship in 2018 and made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren the following year. Russell won the championship in 2018 and moved after to Williams, while Albon finished third in the championship in 2018 and made his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in the same year.

Formula 2 also features several notable teams, including Prema Racing, ART Grand Prix, or Carlin. Prema Racing has won the championship for in 2017 and 2020, with Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher. ART Grand Prix has also been successful in Formula 2, winning the championship with George Russel and Nyck de Vries in 2018 and 2019. Carlin has also had success in Formula 2, with drivers such as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo or Roberto Kubica.

There are also several up-and-coming drivers to watch in Formula 2: Felipe Drugovich, the 2022 champion, Theo Pourchaire, Robert Shwartzman, Dan Ticktum, Dennis Hauger, Jack Doohan, Liam Lawson, Oliver Bearman or Arthur Leclerc, just to name a few.

Overall, Formula 2 is an exciting and competitive series that has produced many successful drivers who have gone on to compete in Formula 1. With its unique characteristics and talented drivers and teams, Formula 2 provides a glimpse into the future of motorsport and the next generation of Formula 1 stars.

VI. Conclusion

In recent years, Formula 2 has become an increasingly important feeder series for young drivers aspiring to reach the top echelon of motorsport in Formula 1. The series has undergone several updates and changes in recent times, including the introduction of a new car and technical regulations, as well as a revamped race weekend format.

Formula 2 plays a crucial role in the development of young drivers, providing them with valuable experience and exposure to high-level competition. Looking to the future, Formula 2 is poised to continue playing a key role in the world of motorsport, both as a training ground for young talent and as a source of excitement and entertainment for racing fans around the world.