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.

Preview: 2020 Russian Grand Prix Weekend – Formula 1 & 2

Featured Image by Arne Müseler on Wikimedia Commons

The Tuscany Grand Prix, held a fortnight ago, saw Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes emerge victorious, with teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2nd, to make a 1-2 finish. This marked the 3rd 1-2 finish by the Brackley-based Mercedes factory team for the 2020 season.

In Formula 2, Nikita Mazepin scored victory on Saturday’s Feature Race, with the young Russian earning his second Feature Race victory, while Sunday saw Christian Lundgaard win the Sprint Race. The race win was the Danish rookie’s second Sprint Race victory in Formula 2.

This weekend, we find ourselves in the Sochi Autodrom, located in Western Russia, a 3,222km journey by road from Mugello in Italy. Ahead of any on-track action in Formula 1 & 2, we have compiled a list of things to look out for, as the weekend unfolds ahead, and on-track action begins!

Continue reading “Preview: 2020 Russian Grand Prix Weekend – Formula 1 & 2”

Preview: 2020 Italian Grand Prix Weekend

Featured Image by Takayuki Suzuki on Flickr

Formula 1 & Formula 2 returns to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza this week, with this weekend serving as the 8th round of both championships. Ahead of the race action on Saturday & Sunday, we have compiled a list of things to watch out for in both categories.

Continue reading “Preview: 2020 Italian Grand Prix Weekend”

Teams & Drivers of Formula 2 2020 Part 3: DAMS, UNI-Virtuosi & ART Grand Prix

Image by Jen_ross83 on Flickr

Ahead of the resumption of the 2020 Formula 2 season, we’ve decided to start a 3 part mini-series covering the drivers & teams of the 2020 Formula 2 GridPart 3 covers ART Grand Prix,

If you are new to Formula 2, do check out this article to learn more about it!
An Introduction to Motorsport: Formula 2.

Continue reading “Teams & Drivers of Formula 2 2020 Part 3: DAMS, UNI-Virtuosi & ART Grand Prix”