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2021 Spanish Grand Prix Weekend Preview

Featured Image by Mutari on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The Portuguese Grand Prix, held a week ago, saw Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes emerge victorious once more, extending their leads in the Drivers’ & Constructors’ championship. Max Verstappen finished 2nd, with Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas rounding out the podium.

This weekend, we find ourselves at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya. Coming into Spain, the top 3 in the Drivers’ Standings are: Lewis Hamilton (69 Points), Max Verstappen (61 Points) and Lando Norris (37 Points). The top 3 in the Constructors’ are Mercedes (101 Points), Red Bull (83 Points) and McLaren (53 Points).

Ahead of the first on-track action later today, we have compiled a list of things to look out for, as the weekend unfolds.

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Preview

Featured Image by Klugschnacker on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

After a 2 week break, Formula One returns for the 3rd round of the season in Portugal. Ahead of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, here’s a compilation of what to expect for today’s race.

For today’s race, Valtteri Bottas starts on pole, with Lewis Hamilton alongside him, making a front-row lockout for Mercedes. Behind the Mercedes duo sit the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen in 3rd, with Sergio Perez in 4th.

Coming into Portimao, the top 3 in the Drivers’ Standings are: Lewis Hamilton (44 Points), Max Verstappen (43 Points) and Lando Norris (27 Points). The top 3 in the Constructors’ are Mercedes (60 Points), Red Bull (53 Points) and McLaren (41 Points).

Continue reading “2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Preview”

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Weekend Preview

Featured Image by Klugschnacker on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

After a 2 week break, Formula One returns for the 3rd round of the season in Portugal. Ahead of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix weekend, here’s a compilation of what to expect this weekend at Portimao.

Coming into Portimao, the top 3 in the Drivers’ Standings are: Lewis Hamilton (44 Points), Max Verstappen (43 Points) and Lando Norris (27 Points). The top 3 in the Constructors’ are Mercedes (60 Points), Red Bull (53 Points) and McLaren (41 Points).

Continue reading “2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Weekend Preview”

2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Preview

Image by LucaZac on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

After a 3 week hiatus, Formula One returns for the 2nd round of the season in Italy. Following yesterday’s qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton will start the race on pole, with Sergio Perez alongside him.

Ahead of the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, here’s a compilation of what to expect for today’s race.

The Circuit

The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, also simply known as Imola, is a permanent motorsports complex located outside the town of Imola. The track was named after the late Enzo Ferrari and his son, Alfredo Ferrari. 

The track features a total of 2 configurations, a Grand Prix circuit, and a Motorcycle circuit. Formula One will use the 4.909 km Grand Prix circuit without the Variante Bassa Chicane. Throughout the years, the circuit has undergone several layout changes, with the last change occurring in 2008. The 2008 track changes saw the elimination of the Variante Bassa Chicane on the Start/Finish straight, alongside a new pit complex with a longer pitlane.

Today, Imola features a mix of medium to high-speed corners, alongside a series of elevation changes in the second sector. Lewis Hamilton holds the official lap record, with a laptime of 1:15.484.

As was in 2020, the track will only have a single DRS Zone, located on the start/finish straight. Compared to 2020, the DRS Zone has been extended, with the activation point now situated 60 metres ahead of the Turn 19 Kink.

Things to watch:

Mercedes v Red Bull

Barring any exceptional circumstances, no other team apart from Mercedes & Red Bull appear likely to win at Imola. While Mercedes appeared to have the weaker car between the 2 in Bahrain, Bottas setting the fastest lap showed that the W12 was still no slouch against the RB16B. But we left Bahrain knowing one thing: Red Bull has indicated its intent to fight Mercedes for the title this year, and for the first time in years, they may have the tools to successfully pull it off.

Red Bull had a slow start to the weekend, with both cars missing parts of FP1 and FP2. But despite the slow start, Red Bull pulled off a swift recovery, with Verstappen taking 1st in FP3. In Qualifying, Red Bull continued to demonstrate a strong form, with Perez topping Q2, coming tantalisingly close to taking pole in Q3.

Imola is a track where overtaking is difficult. With Perez crucially on the front-row of the grid, Red Bull have a realistic chance of robbing Hamilton of the lead on the run-down to Tamburello in the opening stages of the race. Bottas being down the order also provides Red Bull with the opportunity to mount a dual-pronged assault on Hamilton, who is left without cover from Bottas.

The Battle for Third in the Constructors & Surprise Podium Contenders?

The season opener saw Mercedes and Red Bull battle it out for the top 2 places in the constructors, taking home 41 & 28 points respectively. Further behind the 2 teams were McLaren and Ferrari, who took home 18 & 12 points respectively, while AlphaTauri lurked further in the distance, with 2 points.

Based on performances in testing, and Bahrain, 3 teams look to be contenders for the “best of the rest”. McLaren’s strong Bahrain form showed that the car had seemingly lost no pace despite the numerous changes necessitated by switching to Mercedes power. McLaren have had a roller-coaster weekend so far, with the car’s form varying from session to session. For today’s race, Ricciardo starts on the 6th row, in 6th while Norris starts 7th on the 4th row. While a podium appears unlikely, given the difficulties involved in overtaking in Imola, should any carnage break out in front, both drivers could seek to profit….

At Ferrari, the engine team appears to have successfully clawed back the power losses that led to the 2020 struggles at power tracks. On the chassis side, the SF21 also appears to a step forward compared to it’s predecessor, the ill-fated SF1000. Unlike McLaren, both Ferraris have had consistent form this weekend, and appear to be the 3rd fastest. For today’s race, Leclerc starts on the second row in 4th, while Sainz sits further behind on row 6 in 11th. A podium is unlikely for Sainz, but Leclerc could certainly be a surprise contender for the podium.

Further behind McLaren and Ferrari, AlphaTauri look to be contenders as well. In Bahrain, AlphaTauri demonstrated strong pace in both the race, and in Qualifying, even if it did not ultimately translate to results, due to Gasly’s incident. At Imola, Gasly has shown good form throughout the weekend, and is set to start from 5th, while Tsunoda starts 20th. As is the case in Ferrari, a podium is unlikely for Tsunoda. But Gasly could certainly be a surprise contender.

Overtaking

Last year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw the lowest number of overtakes for the 2020 season. With a total of just 6. To combat the lack of overtakes, the sole DRS zone on the start/finish straight was extended for the 2021 race. With dirty air continuing to be a problem for 2021 cars, the number of overtakes may not improve.

Max Verstappen voiced this out to the media, stating that he expects overtaking to be “super hard” even with an extended DRS Zone. Responding to a question posed by RaceFans, Verstappen felt the track could have a second zone, placed after the Variante Alta chicane.

Tsunoda’s fightback

Three weeks ago, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda’s star shone brightly on track. A poor start saw the young Japanese driver fall down the order, falling to 16th within the first 5 laps. But Tsunoda skillfully cut his way through the field to climb into the points, finishing in 9th.

For the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda looks to have to cut his way through the field once more. The AlphaTauri driver crashed hard in Q1, at the exit of Variante Alta, the resulting impact splitting his gearbox in half. Prior to the crash, Tsunoda was on his first “push” lap. As a result, he failed to set a time in qualifying, and will start the race from the back of the grid.

Unlike Bahrain, Imola is a much narrower circuit, with few passing opportunities. For Tsunoda, the lack of overtaking spots, will mean a long, arduous fight for points. But with his Bahrain performance, many eyes will be on him, and his fightback to the points.

Can Williams break it’s points drought?

For the Williams team, points are a distant memory. The last time the Grove-based squad scored points was at the 2019 German Grand Prix, where Robert Kubica finished 12th, before being promoted to 10th post-race. Had it not been for the penalty for the 2 Alfa Romeos, the drought would have started at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

At the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, George Russell looked set to take William’s first points for 2020, and his first points, until he crashed out under the safety car. This came after Russell showed pace in qualifying, reaching Q2 to start 13th. For 2021, both Williams cars have shown pace throughout the weekend, with both reaching Q2. Russell starts in 12th, while Latifi starts in 14th.

With Russell effectively starting just outside the top 10, and Latifi close behind, Williams appear to have a good chance at points for this race. Ending the points drought, which has stretched for over a year.

2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Weekend Preview

Image by DiLeoTommasoFabio on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

After a 3 week hiatus, Formula One returns for the 2nd round of the season in Italy. Ahead of the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, here’s a compilation of what to expect this weekend at Imola.

Bahrain Recap

The Bahrain Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton claim the chequered flag ahead of Max Verstappen, with teammate Valterri Bottas rounding out the top 3. Hamilton’s victory came after a hard-fought, but highly controversial race, marred by inconsistency from stewards regarding track limits.

In the closing stages of the race, it had seemed all but certain that Verstappen was poised to take the win from Hamilton. With 4 laps to go, Verstappen took the lead from Hamilton, only to give up the position later in the lap. This was due to Verstappen running wide and going off track at Turn 10 while overtaking Hamilton. The instruction to give up the position came from Race Control, who issued the order to Verstappen’s Red Bull team.

After giving up the position to Hamilton, Verstappen attempted to mount a second challenge on Hamilton. Unfortunately, Verstappen was hit by the dirty air coming off the back of Hamilton’s W12, ultimately losing time to the Brit, failing to overtake him again.

Outside the podium, the top 10 were: Norris, Perez, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Sainz, Tsunoda and Stroll.

Finishing outside the points were: Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Ocon, Russell, Vettel and Schumacher.

The Circuit

The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, also simply known as Imola, is a permanent motorsports complex located outside the town of Imola. The track was named after the late Enzo Ferrari and his son, Alfredo Ferrari. 

The track features a total of 2 configurations, a Grand Prix circuit, and a Motorcycle circuit. Formula One will use the 4.909 km Grand Prix circuit without the Variante Bassa Chicane. Throughout the years, the circuit has undergone several layout changes, with the last change occurring in 2008. The 2008 track changes saw the elimination of the Variante Bassa Chicane on the Start/Finish straight, alongside a new pit complex with a longer pitlane.

Today, Imola features a mix of medium to high-speed corners, alongside a series of elevation changes in the second sector. Lewis Hamilton holds the official lap record, with a laptime of 1:15.484.

As was in 2020, the track will only have a single DRS Zone, located on the start/finish straight. Compared to 2020, the DRS Zone has been extended, with the activation point now situated 60 metres ahead of the Turn 19 Kink.

Things to watch:

Mercedes v Red Bull

Barring any exceptional circumstances, no other team apart from Mercedes & Red Bull appear likely to win at Imola. While Mercedes appeared to have the weaker car between the 2 in Bahrain, Bottas setting the fastest lap showed that the W12 was still no slouch against the RB16B. But we left Bahrain knowing one thing: Red Bull has indicated its intent to fight Mercedes for the title this year, and for the first time in years, they may have the tools to successfully pull it off.

If Red Bull can pull off a 1-2, or a 1-3, this weekend, it will prove that it’s Bahrain form was no fluke….

Overtaking

Last year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw the lowest number of overtakes for the 2020 season, coming in at just 6. To combat the lack of overtakes, the sole DRS zone on the start/finish straight was extended for the 2021 race. With dirty air continuing to be a problem for the 2021 cars, it stands that the number of overtakes may not improve, even with this change applied.

Max Verstappen voiced this out to the media, stating that he expects overtaking to continue to be “super hard” even with an extended DRS Zone. Responding to a question posed by RaceFans, Verstappen felt the track could have a second zone, placed after the Variante Alta chicane.

The Battle for Third in the Constructors

The season opener saw Mercedes and Red Bull battle it out for the top 2 places in the constructors, taking home 41 & 28 points respectively. Further behind the 2 teams were McLaren and Ferrari, who took home 18 & 12 points respectively, while AlphaTauri lurked further in the distance, with 2 points.

Based on performances shown in testing, and at the season-opener, these 4 teams look to be contenders for the “best of the rest”. McLaren’s strong Bahrain form showed that the car had seemingly lost no pace despite the numerous changes necessitated by switching to Mercedes power. At Ferrari, the engine team appears to have successfully clawed back the power losses that led to the 2020 struggles at power tracks. On the chassis side, the SF21 also appears to a step forward compared to it’s predecessor, the ill-fated SF1000.

Further behind McLaren and Ferrari, AlphaTauri look to be contenders as well. In Bahrain, AlphaTauri demonstrated strong pace in both the race, and in Qualifying. Pierre Gasly took 5th on the grid, while Tsunoda set the second-fastest time on Softs in Q1. In the race, if not for the contact with Daniel Ricciardo early on, Gasly should have brought home a 7th-placed finish at the very least. This is supported by Tsunoda’s performance, with the Japanese driver clawing his way up the order into 9th, from 13th on the grid.

An Introduction to Motorsport 2021: Formula 2

Photo by Paul Cuad on Unsplash

Are you new to Motorsport? Curious about the differences between Racing Series? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Ahead of the new racing season, we’ve decided to produce articles introducing the various aspects of Motorsport to our readers, with our series, An Introduction to Motorsport & An Introduction to Sports Car Racing. This Article covers the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Formula 2 is the top step of FIA’s European Single-Seater Racing Ladder, the FIA Global Pathway. Most casual viewers of the Championship may think that the Championship started in either 2017 or 2005 which was the first year of the GP2 series. (In 2017, the GP2 Series was rebranded as the Formula 2 Championship) However, the FIA Formula 2 Championship has its origins dating back to the late 1960s…

A Brief History of Formula 2

European Formula 2 (1967-1984)

The championship has its roots in the European Formula 2 Trophy which began in 1967, with Jacky Ickx as its inaugural champion. An interesting thing to note however, is that while Ickx won the championship, he wasn’t the most successful driver that season. This title goes to Jochen Rindt, who won 5 races, to Ickx’s 2, but he was not eligible to score any points, as he was a graded driver. On the subject of driver grading, previously, it was common for F1 drivers to cross over to race in Formula 2, and as such, the FIA had introduced a grading scheme to allow for young up-and-coming drivers to compete in the championship, while still allowing for F1 drivers to cross over.

In 1973, the F2 Trophy was rebranded as the European Formula 2 Championship. Towards the end of the championship’s life, in 1983-84 it became dominated by the works Ralt-Honda team, who won the final 2 drivers’ and teams championships.

International F3000 (1985-2004)

1985 saw the introduction of the FIA European F3000 Championship, replacing the former European Formula 2 Championship. The name “F3000” came from regulations, which stated the engines used were limited to a Maximum Capacity of 3000cc (or 3 Litres). Christian Danner would take the title in the inaugural season, while in 1986, the championship became the FIA International F3000 Championship.

Unknown to many at the time, Danner would be the first in a long line of drivers to win the International F3000 Championship, that would fail to make an impact on Formula 1. Danner would only score 4 points in his F1 career, scoring no points in his 2 races with Zakspeed in 1985, 1 point from his second stint in 1986-1987 with Zakspeed, Osella and Arrows, and 3 points from his 1989 return with Rial, departing the team midway after failing to qualify for a number of races. Following that, he would then turn to Touring Cars, drawing the curtain on his short-lived Formula One career.

1996 marked the first year the championship would become a full-on spec series, with all teams running a Lola T96/50, paired with a detuned and reengineered Judd V8, by Zytek, and the cars would run with Avon Tyres. This was done to curb the rising costs of competition in the category.

1999 would also mark the start of the championships’ shift towards a support series for Formula One, as the championship cut the Pau Grand Prix, and the Mediterranean Grand Prix from the calendar. However, this would prove insufficient, and as car grids plummeted to just 10 full season drivers in 2003, the championship ran its final season in 2004.

GP2 Series (2005-2016)

In January 2004, Renault announced it would run a Formula 3000-level series to be called GP2 at every Grand Prix in 2005. The FIA has responded by saying that the Renault GP2 cars can run during FIA Formula 1 World Championship weekends, subject to making the necessary commercial arrangements with Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder of Formula 1 but adding that the FIA has not yet received any proposed technical or sporting regulations for the planned series.

In 2005, the GP2 Series began, as a support series for Formula 1, with 12 teams, and a 12 round calendar, with all races run in support of F1, with the exception of the final round at Bahrain. All teams would run the same car, the Dallara GP2/05, paired with a 4.0 Liter Renault Badged Mecachrome V8 and Bridgestone grooved tires.

Each round, except for Monaco, would consist of 2 races, a Feature Race, held on Saturday, with a mandatory pitstop and a shorter Sprint Race held on Sunday. The Sprint Race would have optional pitstops, and a reverse grid for the top 8 finishers of the feature race. Nico Rosberg would be the inaugural champion for the series. In 2006, the championship would switch to slick tyres, making 2005 the only year in which it would use grooved tyres.

On the 10th of March 2017, it was announced that the GP2 series would become branded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

The FIA Formula 2 Championship:

What’s new for 2021?

The 2021 season sees several changes to Formula 2, as part of cost-saving measures introduced in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. These come in the form of a heavily revised calendar, alongside a new weekend format.

The new weekend format consists of 3 races, comprising of 2 sprint races alongside a single feature race. To keep the calendar at 24 races, the calendar only features 8 rounds, as opposed to 12 in previous years. Teams will also receive an extra set of tyres.

To allow for a 3 race weekend for Formula 2, Formula 3 will also not be holding races on the same weekends as Formula 2.

2021 Calendar

Round

Circuit

Sprint Races

Feature Races

1

Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir

27 March

28 March

2

Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo

22 May

23 May

3

Baku City Circuit, Baku

5 June

6 June

4

Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone

17 July

18 July

5

Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza

11 September

12 September

6

Sochi Autodrom, Sochi

25 September

26 September

7

Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah

4 December

5 December

8

Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

11 December

12 December

2021 Teams & Drivers

Team

No

Driver

F1 Affiliation

Prema Racing
1
Robert Shwartzman
Ferrari Driver Academy
Prema Racing
2

Oscar Piastri

Alpine Academy
UNI-Virtuosi


3

Guan Yu Zhou

Alpine Academy

UNI-Virtuosi


4
Felipe Drugovich
None
Carlin
5
Dan Ticktum

Williams Driver Academy

Carlin
6
Jehan Daruvala
Red Bull Junior Team
Hitech Grand Prix
7
Liam Lawson

Red Bull Junior Team

Hitech Grand Prix

8

Jüri Vips

Red Bull Junior Team

ART Grand Prix
9

Christian Lundgaard

Alpine Academy

ART Grand Prix

10

Théo Pourchaire

Sauber Junior Team

MP Motorsport
11

MP Motorsport

12
Lirim Zendeli
None

Charouz Racing System

14

David Beckmann

None

Charouz Racing System

15

Guilherme Samaia

None

DAMS

16

Roy Nissany

Williams Driver Academy

DAMS

17

Marcus Armstrong

Ferrari Driver Academy

Campos Racing

20
Gianluca Petecof
None


Campos Racing

21

Ralph Boschung

None

HWA Racelab

22

Matteo Nannini

None

HWA Racelab

23

Alessio Deledda

None

Trident

24

Bent Viscaal

None

Trident

25

Marino Sato

None

Car – Dallara F2 2018

#2 Russian Time Dallara F2 2018 – Image by Takayuki Suzuki on Flickr

For 2021, Formula 2 retains the Dallara F2 2018. A new car was planned to be introduced, but it was cancelled as part of cost-cutting measures in the wake of COVID-19.

As in 2020, the F2 2018 uses 18-inch Pirelli P Zero Dry & Cintaurato Wet tyres. Previously, the cars used 13-inch tyres.

Tyre Allocations

F2 uses 4 dry tyre compounds, namely: supersoft, soft, medium and hard. Before each race weekend, 2 of compounds are picked as the “prime” and “option” compounds. Each car receives 2 sets of Option and 4 Sets of Prime tyres, alongside 3 sets of wet tyres. Formula 2 does not use intermediate tyres.

Weekend Structure

For the 2021 season, Formula 2 sees the introduction of a new weekend structure. 3 races will be held per weekend, comprising of 2 Sprint Races & 1 Feature Race.

Friday: 1 Practice session (45 minutes for all drivers) & Qualifying (30 minutes, for all drivers to determine the grid for Feature Race & Sprint Race 1)

Saturday: 2 Sprint Races. For Sprint Race 1, the starting grid is set by reversing the top 10 finishers of Qualifying. For Sprint Race 2, the grid is set by reversing the top 10 finishers of Sprint Race 1. Both races will consist of 120 kilometres or 45 minutes, whichever comes first. Pitstops are not required in the Sprint Race

Sunday: 1 Feature race, with the grid determined by Qualifying and any penalties issued prior to the race of 170km, with a 1-hour limit. The exception is at Monaco and Hungaroring, where the distance is 140km and 160km respectively.

For the Feature Race, a mandatory pit stop must be carried out, and both the Prime and Option compound is to be utilised in the race. During the pitstop, at least two wheels must be changed on the car; at least one wheel on each side of the car must always be on the car, and excluding the lollipop man, only six people may work on the car.

The mandatory pit stop is only considered fulfilled if the driver pits after completing 6 laps, or if the driver is already in the pit entry or pit lane at the time when the VSC is deployed. If the driver requires a stop-go penalty, this will not count as a mandatory pitstop.

In addition, the mandatory pitstop cannot be carried out on the last lap of the race, unless the race is suspended. If a suspended race is not restarted, drivers who have not stopped will have 30 seconds added to their finishing time.

Points System

Sprint Race One & Two

Position

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

FL*

Points

15

12

10

8

6

4

2

1

2

Feature Race

Position

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

FL

Pole

Points

25

18
15
12
10
8
6
4
2
1
2
4

* Fastest Lap Points are only for drivers finishing in the top 10. If the Fastest Lap is set by someone outside the top 10, the point will be awarded to the next driver within the top 10 with the fastest lap.

Titles & Previous Title Holders

Drivers’ Championship

Season

Driver

Team

Points

Wins

Podiums

Poles
Fastest Laps


2017


Charles Leclerc

Prema Racing

282

7
10
8
4
2018


George Russell

ART Grand Prix

287

7
11


5

6

2019

Nyck de Vries

ART Grand Prix

266
4
12
5
3
2020

Mick Schumacher

Prema Racing

215

2
10
0

2

Anthoine Hubert Award

Season

Driver

Team

Points

Pos

Wins

Podiums

Poles
Fastest Laps


2019


Guan Yu Zhou

UNI-Virtuosi Racing

140


7th

0
5
1
2
2020


Yuki Tsunoda

Carlin

200

3rd

3
7
4

1

Teams’ Championship

Season

Team

Points

Drivers

Wins

Podiums

Poles


Fastest Laps


2017

Prema Racing

395


Artem Markelov
Luca Ghiotto
6

14


1


6
2018


Carlin Racing


383


Lando Norris 
Sergio Sette Camara

1


17

2


2


2019

DAMS

418


Nicholas Latifi
Sergio Sette Camara
6


16


2

7

2020


Prema Racing

392


Mick Schumacher
Robert Shwartzman

6


15

0


3


Driver Regulations

Across a single season, each team may use up to four drivers. Changes must be notified to the Promoter no later than two days prior to the event at which the new driver wishes to compete. Any new driver may score points in the Championship. This, however, comes with some caveats, listed in the sporting regulations.

First, all drivers must hold a Grade A or Grade B International FIA Licence. Secondly, no winner of a FIA Formula 2 Championship may participate in the two successive Championships. This is a change from the previous regulation; prior to 2019, the Sporting Regulations explicitly banned the return of former F2/GP2 Champions.

Third, Drivers may only change from one team to another if:
a) Their original team has released them from their contract.
b) Their original team nominates another driver.

Lastly, drivers nominated to race by a team participating in the FIA Formula One World Championship are barred from participating in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in the same event. This prevents Buschwacking by Formula One drivers hoping to gain additional track time.

Superlicense Points

Finishing Position (Drivers’ Championship1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th
Super License Points awarded4040403020108643

A single-use Free-Practice only super license is also available to those competing in F2, after the completion of either six races in Formula 2, or 25 Super Licence points in eligible championships during the previous three years.

How to Watch

The FIA Formula 2 Championship is available worldwide on selected broadcasters worldwide, alongside F1TV. To find broadcasts details for your region, visit this link

Expect to see some thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action as the leading lights in the junior ranks of single seater racing duke it out on track to prove they are the best of the rising stars and prove that they can be the future champions of Formula One.

An Introduction to Sports Car Racing 2021: The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship

Featured Image by Osajus Photography on Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)

Are you new to Sports Cars Racing? Curious about the differences between DPi & LMP2? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Ahead of the 2021 Season, we’ve decided to produce articles introducing Sports Car Racing to our readers. This is an in-depth introduction to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, discussing it’s history & the categories.

The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a sports car racing championship based in the United States & Canada, organized by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)

The championship had its inaugural season in 2014, consisting of 13 races, with 9 Sprint races & 4 Endurance Races. The inaugural championship in 2014 marked the reunification of Sports Car Racing in America, following 16 years of division between the IMSA GT Championship/American Le Mans Series and the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC)/Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (RSCS).

It is unique in that it features a “championship within a championship”, the Michelin Endurance Cup (MEC), formerly known as the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC), which is available in all classes. The GTD class also features a similar competition, the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, for the class at the sprint events of the calendar.

Continue reading “An Introduction to Sports Car Racing 2021: The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship”

2020 F1 Season Review Part 5: Red Bull & Mercedes

Featured Image by Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0) on Wikimedia Commons

Following the conclusion of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, we review the performances of each team that participated in the Championship. This is Part 5 of a 5 Part series. For Part 5, we focus on the 2 teams who finished at the top of the standings – Red Bull & Mercedes.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Christian Horner
Race Drivers: Alexander Albon (#23, All Rounds), Max Verstappen (#33, All Rounds)

Car: Red Bull RB16
Designers: Adrian Newey (Chief Technical Officer), Pierre Wache (Technical Director), Rob Marshall (Chief Engineering Officer), Dan Fallows (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Honda RA620H
Gearbox: Red Bull Technology 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P1
Best race: P1 (x2)
Constructors’ Championship position: P2 (2019 position: P3)
Constructors’ Championship points: 319 (2019 points: 417)
Points per driver: Max Verstappen (214), Alex Albon (105)

Season in a nutshell: Realistically, the best the team could have done in the standings. Points wise could have certainly been better for the second car…

Truthfully speaking, this was the really the only place that anyone expected Red Bull to be at the end of the Season. 2nd. But points-wise, Red Bull could, and should have done better. The points distribution was split 214/105. 214 for Verstappen, including 1 pole, 2 wins & 9 podiums. 105 for Albon, including 2 podiums.

From pre-season testing, it was clear that Red Bull would be finishing a clear second. Mercedes was outpacing every team, including Red Bull by a huge margin. Ferrari had effectively eliminated themselves with a weak Power Unit. However, it was clear that as usual, Red Bull was holding their cards close to their chest, and “sandbagging”.

Unlike most teams who set their fastest times on the softest tyre, the C5 Compound, Red Bull had not done so. Both drivers set their fastest laps on the C4 compound.

Max Verstappen was the standout driver for Red Bull this season, and the consistency he exhibited each weekend really showed how refined the Dutchman had become. He finished on the podium at nearly every race he finished, bar Turkey. A mix of 2nd and 3rds. Had it not been for 5 retirements, the Dutchman would have looked to set a new points record for himself. It should also be noted that only 1 of his 5 retirements were caused by an action of himself, in Sakhir, where he ran into a barrier trying to avoid a collision.

On the other side of the garage with Albon, it was generally a frustrating season, which held some promise in the first few rounds, before his form plummeted. 2 podiums were the only takeaway for the British-Thai driver, who will be sitting out the 2021 season, having been replaced by Sergio Perez for 2021.

All in all, Red Bull may come away from the 2020 Season being somewhat disappointed. 2 wins were all that the team received, but this was really the best that the team could expect. Especially given the sheer size of the gap between themselves and Mercedes then..

For 2021, Red Bull will be looking to balance it’s efforts between 2021 and 2022, with a greater emphasis on the latter, with the aim of putting up a fight against Mercedes for the long-term.

Season Score: 8/10

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

Renault R.S.20 / Daniel Ricciardo / AUS / Renault F1 Team
Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Zak Brown (Chief Executive Officer), Andreas Seidl (Team Principal)
Race Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (#44, R1-R15, R17), Valtteri Bottas (#77, All rounds), George Russell (#63, R16)

Car: Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance
Designers: James Allison (Technical Director), Mike Elliott (Technology Director), John Owen (Chief Designer), Kevin Taylor (Head of Engineering), Jarrod Murphy (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Mercedes-AMG F1 M11 EQ Performance
Gearbox: Mercedes 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P1
Best race: P1
Constructors’ Championship position: P1 (2019 position: P1)
Constructors’ Championship points: 573 (2019 points: 739)
Points per driver: Lewis Hamilton (347), Valtteri Bottas (223), George Russell (3)

Season in a nutshell: Yet another year of domination for Mercedes.

For Mercedes, 2020 was a re-definition of the word “dominant”. The team won 13 of the 17 races, scored 15 of the 17 pole positions, while having at least one driver finishing on the podium at almost every race. On the technical side of things, Mercedes had effectively outdone, and one may even say, crushed any potential opposition right from the get-go.

From pre-season testing, it was already clear to everyone that Mercedes were almost certain to dominate the season. Across the 6 days of testing, Mercedes had managed to complete a whopping 903 laps, far ahead of any other team, with the nearest being Ferrari at 844 laps. Not only that, Mercedes had even managed to beat the whole field by a huge margin. 0.6 seconds on long-run pace, and over a second faster on one-lap pace. Then there was the DAS debacle, which saw the device banned for 2021, but still allowed for 2020, which was part of the reason for the W11’s sheer pace over the competition.

However, it should be said, that even without DAS, it was still clear how much faster the W11 was over it’s “competitors” on track. At the Portuguese Grand Prix, Mercedes removed the DAS system from both cars. Removing the DAS system really just showed how far ahead Mercedes were, over the competition on the Technical front. Lewis Hamilton took pole, with a 1:16.652. The fastest non-Mercedes was the RB16 of Max Verstappen. Verstappen was almost 4 tenths down on Hamilton. By the time the chequered flag flew, Hamilton had won the race with a lead of over 30 seconds on Verstappen.

In the world of Formula One, where time is measured in milliseconds, it may as well have been an eternity. Hamilton’s teammate Bottas finished 25 seconds behind him. How far behind was Verstappen? Another 9 seconds. Granted, the race was chaotic. But there was absolutely no denial that Mercedes was far ahead of the competition on the technical side of things.

So what happened in the other 4 races that Mercedes “lost”? Well, at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the W11 struggled with it’s tyres. When it came to the Italian Grand Prix, the team made the mistake of sending Hamilton into the pits when it was closed. At the Sakhir Grand Prix, a messy double stack pit stop ruined what could have been a surefire 1-2, and the maiden win for Hamilton’s stand-in, George Russell. At Abu Dhabi, the team turned down the engines on both cars for “reliability reasons”.

All in all, Mercedes simply had a great season. Sure. On the Race Operations side of things, several major blunders. But these blunders were simply insignificant when it came to the big picture, courtesy of the Technical department. While Mercedes should work on preventing the blunders from reoccurring next season in the Race Operations department, the Technical Department, and the team as a whole, is fully deserving of the praise it is receiving.

Season Score: 9/10

2020 F1 Season Review Part 4: Racing Point & McLaren

Featured Image by Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0) on Wikimedia Commons

Following the conclusion of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, we review the performances of each team that participated in the Championship. This is Part 4 of a 5 Part series. For Part 4, we focus on the 2 teams who finished 4th & 3rd – Racing Point & McLaren

BWT Racing Point F1 Team

Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Otmar Szafnauer (CEO & Team Principal)
Race Drivers: Sergio Perez (#11, R1-3, R6-17), Lance Stroll (#18, R1-10, R12 to 17), Nico Hülkenberg (#27, R4-5, R11)

Car: Racing Point RP20
Designers: Andrew Green (Technical Director), Akio Haga (Design Director)
Ian Hall (Chief Designer), Simon Phillips (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: BWT Mercedes (Rebadged Mercedes M11 EQ Performance)
Gearbox: Mercedes 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P1
Best race: P1 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P4 (2019 position: P7)
Constructors’ Championship points: 195 (2019 points: 73)
Points per driver: Sergio Perez (125), Lance Stroll (75), Nico Hulkenberg (10)

Season in a nutshell:

When looking at the season for the team once-known as Force India, there are 2 ways to describe it. A “disappointment”, or a “Season to Celebrate”.

The team scored it’s first win since 2004, and it’s first pole since 2009. Shouldn’t that be something to celebrate? Well, for 2020, Racing Point took a radical approach to it’s car. Past years saw the team utilise a high-rake concept, which was paired to a customer Mercedes gearbox designed around a low-rake car. I chose to adopt a variation of the “semi-customer car” model adopted by the Haas F1 team since it’s debut, purchasing selected “non-listed parts” from another team. In the case of Haas, it has been Ferrari. In the case of Racing Point, it has been Mercedes. Following the purchase of “non-listed” components from Mercedes, as well as extensive analysis derived from photographs of the Mercedes W10, the team arrived at a car that, to many observers, seemed like a total copy of the W10.

Throughout pre-season testing, Racing Point stayed near the top of the timesheets in the “Pink Mercedes”, and needless to say, expectations were high. However, when the season started, things were far from smooth for the British squad.

The opening 2 rounds in Austria saw a pair of 6-placed finishes for Sergio Perez, and 7th in the Styrian GP for Lance Stroll. Meanwhile, midfield rivals McLaren scooped up 3rd & 5th in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, and snatched 5th & 9th in the Styrian Grand Prix. Hungary then saw the team make up ground relative to McLaren in the Constructors, with a 4th-placed finish by Stroll, and Perez in 7th. However, the 2 rounds held at Silverstone, the British Grand Prix, and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix saw mixed fortunes for the team.

COVID-19 saw Perez sit out both races due to him testing positive. Nico Hulkenberg deputised for him for both races. For the British Grand Prix, it was a disaster. Hulkenberg failed to start the race from 13th, while Stroll finished 9th from 6th on the grid. However, for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, things were much better. In fact, one could go as far as saying that the 70th Anniversary GP was the turning point of the team’s campaign. Hulkenberg qualified 3rd, and wound up 7th, while Stroll finished 6th.

The next race in Spain saw Perez return, with Stroll leading Perez home in a 4-5 finish. On his return, Perez would go on a 9 race streak of points finishes, topping it off with a 2nd placed finish in Turkey. Perez had been seemingly set to finish 3rd in Bahrain, until his power unit failed. However, when it came to the Sakhir Grand Prix, Perez made a strong comeback, to take his maiden win, and the team’s first win. Ultimately Perez would retire from his last race with Racing Point, suffering from a Power Unit issue…

On the other side of the garage, post-Silverstone, things weren’t so smooth… After leading Perez home for the Spanish, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, topping it off with a Podium in Italy. After this however, Stroll had 2 consecutive retirements. In Tuscany, Stroll had a suspension failure, that saw him retire. In Russia, Stroll then had an accident with Charles Leclerc, putting him out of the race on Lap 1. Stroll then was diagnosed with COVID ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix, and was replaced by Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg managed to finish 8th, rising up the order from 20th on the grid. Upon his return at Portugal, Stroll retired once more, following collision damage, after a clumsy overtake on Lando Norris. He then followed it up with a no-points finish at Imola, before scoring Pole in Turkey, where he struggled with his tyres and fell back to 9th by the chequered flag. Stroll was then eliminated on lap 2 of the restarted Bahrain Grand Prix. The subsequent race, the Sakhir Grand Prix saw Stroll join Perez on the podium in 3rd, before Stroll ended the season with 10 in Abu Dhabi.

On paper, the team had actually finished 3rd in the Constructors with 210 points. However, the team were subjected to a 15 point deduction by the FIA, following an FIA investigation into the team’s brake ducts. The 15 point deduction left them with 195 points, allowing McLaren to seize 3rd.

All in all, Racing Point had a decent season. Should the team have done better? Absolutely. The slow start to the year was what ultimately cost them in the Constructors. However, this should not detract from their achievements in 2020, namely a win, and a pole. Looking ahead to 2021, Racing Point have established a strong foundation for the year, and will be looking to make progress.

Season Score: 6/10

McLaren F1 Team

Renault R.S.20 / Daniel Ricciardo / AUS / Renault F1 Team
Image by Artes Max (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Zak Brown (Chief Executive Officer), Andreas Seidl (Team Principal)
Race Drivers: Lando Norris (#4, All Rounds), Carlos Sainz Jr (#55, All Rounds)

Car: McLaren MCL35
Designers: James Key (Technical Director), Peter Prodromou (Chief Engineer), Mark Ingham (Head of Chassis Design), Guillaume Cattelani (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Renault E-Tech 20
Gearbox: McLaren 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P3
Best race: P2
Constructors’ Championship position: P3 (2019 position: P4)
Constructors’ Championship points: 202 (2019 points: 145)
Points per driver: Carlos Sainz 105, Lando Norris 97

Season in a nutshell: A breakthrough year for the resurgent McLaren team

For McLaren, 2020 was the most successful year the Woking-based squad had seen since 2012. For the first time since 2012, the team made it to the podium on multiple occasions and managed to score over 200 points across a season. McLaren didn’t always have the fastest pace in the midfield, as evidenced by their points record. But what helped them beat Racing Point at the end of the day (points deduction aside), was the sheer consistency of the team, with numerous 4th, 5th & 6th placed finishes being logged.

Had it not been for Russia, McLaren would have been the only team besides Mercedes to score points at every race.

In addition to the consistency of the team, the team also made the best of it’s opportunities to rack up points. Almost all of the team’s best results came in chaotic races. 3rd for Lando Norris came at the retirement-hit Austrian Grand Prix, where Sainz finished 5th. 2nd for Carlos Sainz came at the dramatic Italian Grand Prix, while Lando Norris came 4th in the race.

Cruelly, Sainz suffered from a puncture at the British Grand Prix, with 2 laps to go while in 4th, which promoted Norris up the standings. At the Eifel & Turkish Grand Prix, Sainz again finished 5th amid the chaos of both races, before claiming 4th in the Sakhir Grand Prix. The season finale saw both drivers coming home 5-6, with Norris leading, allowing them to overhaul Racing Point in the season standings.

All in all, McLaren should be proud of the results achieved this season. It has been a long climb for the Woking-based squad, from finishing almost at the back of the pack in 2015 & 2017, to 3rd in 2020. Granted, the team did not entirely finish 3rd on merit, having benefited from the penalty incurred by Racing Point, which saw them lose 15 points. However, regulations must be followed to the word, and Racing Point had not done so, which led to their penalty.

Regardless if whether McLaren finished 3rd or 4th in 2020, the team still has plenty of reason to celebrate. 2020 showed a marked improvement in the team’s consistency and speed. If McLaren can continue on this upward trajectory, it will not be long before we could see a McLaren driver standing on the top step of the podium once more.

Season Score: 7/10

2020 F1 Season Review Part 3: Ferrari & Renault

Featured Image by Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0) on Wikimedia Commons

Following the conclusion of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, we review the performances of each team that participated in the Championship. This is Part 3 of a 5 Part series. For Part 3, we focus on the 2 teams who finished 6th & 5th – Ferrari & Renault

Scuderia Ferrari

Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Mattia Binotto
Race Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (#5, All Rounds), Charles Leclec (#16, All Rounds)

Car: Ferrari SF1000
Designers: Simone Resta (Head of Chassis Engineering), Enrico Cardile (Head of Chassis Design), David Sanchez (Chief Aerodynamicist)
Engine: Ferrari 065
Gearbox: Ferrari 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P4
Best race: P2 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P6 (2019 position: P2)
Constructors’ Championship points: 131 (2019 points: 504)
Points per driver: Charles Leclerc 98, Sebastian Vettel (33)

Season in a nutshell: A truly awful season for the Scuderia.

The 2020 season should have been a year of celebration for the Scuderia, except it wasn’t to be. For the Scuderia, the 2020 season was effectively a disaster on all fronts. 2020 saw the team fall. And fall hard it did.

In 2019, Ferrari didn’t have the best chassis. But it was still a chassis that was able to fight Mercedes on certain tracks. However, when it came to 2020, the car was a step backward, and for the first few races at least, it was entirely undeveloped. But this wasn’t the real kicker that ruined the season for Ferrari. On the engine front, it was a total bloodbath. The Scuderia had been the leading PU Supplier in 2019. But after a series of clampdowns by the FIA, the engine lost a significant amount of power for 2020. The effects of this were significant. At qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, 2019 pole-sitter Leclerc was over 9 tenths slower than his pole-time for 2019…

The weaknesses of the car meant that the drivers suffered. 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who was unceremoniously announced to be replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr for 2021, was effectively a lower-midfield runner. Vettel failed to score points for almost 2 thirds of the season, and nearly failed to reach the podium; had it not been for a late race-mistake in Turkey for Leclerc, he would have been 4th. Charles Leclerc had a much greater season, hugely outscoring Vettel, while earning himself 2 podiums, and finishing 4th thrice. He was able to wrest the car to places it didn’t deserve to be in many instances on Saturday & Sunday, but when it came to power-sensitive tracks like Spa & Monza, he was no different from Vettel.

All in all, Ferrari’s poor 2020 season boils down to the following: A very weak engine, and a subpar chassis. For the 2021 season, Ferrari will be introducing a brand new power unit, in a bid to claw back the lost power. Given that Ferrari’s main weakness lay within the engine, as opposed to the chassis, it is safe to say that if Ferrari can claw back the lost horsepower, the 2021 season could certainly be much improved….

Season Score: 5/10

DP World Renault F1 Team

Renault R.S.20 / Daniel Ricciardo / AUS / Renault F1 Team
Image by Artes Max (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Cyril Abiteboul (managing director). Marcin Budkowski
(executive director)
Race Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo (#3, All Rounds), Esteban Ocon (#31, All Rounds)

Car: Renault R.S.20
Designers: Marcin Budkowski (Executive Director), Nick Chester (Chassis Technical Director), Simon Virrill (Chief Designer), Matthew Harman (Engineering Director), Dirk de Beer (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Renault E-Tech 20
Gearbox: Renault 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P4
Best race: P2 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P5 (2019 position: P5)
Constructors’ Championship points: 181 (2019 points: 91)
Points per driver: Daniel Ricciardo (119), Esteban Ocon (62)

Season in a nutshell: A breakthrough year, and a fitting finale for the revived Renault factory squad

Compared to the complete disappointment of 2019, which saw the team’s upward momentum halted, 2020 was certainly a huge leap forward. In the Coronavirus-hit season, which saw just 17 races compared to the 21 races in 2019, Renault not only outscored it’s tally from the previous season. The team actually managed to double it’s points tally.

2 droughts were also brought to an end for the team, and they certainly serve as indicators of progress the team has made since the days when it was owned by GENII Capital. For the first time since 2015, the team managed to reach the podium, with a single appearance for each driver, after a near-miss at Italy in 2019 for Ricciardo. In addition, the team managed to score it’s first Fastest Lap since 2013, when it was known as “Lotus”.

However it should be stated, that the final result of 5th in the constructors was something that really could have been better. Think 4th, or even 3rd in the constructors. It was a slow start to the season, which saw spotty performances prior to Spa, with the sole exception being at Silverstone, where both drivers got into the points.

Given the results produced by the team across the season, it should also be said that in a “normal” Formula One season, Renault could have realistically fared much worse… As was the case in 2019, Renault excelled at lower-downforce tracks, while struggling at times on higher-downforce tracks. The return to a “standard” calendar for 2021 could see Renault slip back once more…

All in all, 2020 was a fitting finale for “Team Enstone” under the guise of “Renault”, ahead of yet another rebranding in 2021. The key takeaway for “Team Enstone” in 2020, is it’s improved pace, which was a significant factor in the improved result compared to 2019’s disappointment.

With the return of Fernando Alonso to the team for a third spell for 2021, expectations are high. If “Team Enstone” can carry forward the momentum of 2020, while addressing its weakness at High-downforce circuits into the 2021 season & beyond, we could well see the Alpine F1 Team challenge for glory at the front of the pack in the near future…

Season Score: 7/10