We have now reached the half way point of the 2021 Formula 2 Season. As we wait for the racing to get underway again in Monza, now seemed to be an appropriate time to examine how some of the teams have been doing so far this year. First up, GP Grandstand takes a look at HWA Racelab.
HWA Racelab have had three drivers so far this year. Matteo Nannini drove for the team in the opening round of the 2021 season in Bahrain. The Italian driver had a decent showing for that round, finishing fourteenth and ninth in the opening two races. However, Alessandro Nannini’s nephew went one step further in the Feature Race to collect HWA Racelab’s sole championship point so far this year.
He departed from the team following Bahrain due to the financial costs that come with running a dual campaign in both Formula 2 and Formula 3. This brings us nicely onto his replacement.
Following a decent 2020 campaign that saw him on the podium twice, Jack Aitken found himself without a seat in 2021. This came on top of the fact that he made his Formula 1 debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix for Williams where he finished in sixteenth place. But when Nannini left the team, Aitken got the call back to F2 and has joined HWA Racelab since Monaco.
“They are a new team to F2, but a team with a lot of history in other series, and they have a huge desire to be at the front of F2, not anywhere else.” – Jack Aitken
Since then, he hasn’t scored any points for the team but has been relatively consistent for them and dragged the car to higher positions than the team could arguably be expecting. With a highest finishing position of ninth so far in the second Monaco Sprint Race, it seems to a case of close but no cigar for the British-Korean driver. It is unknown for how much of the remainder – if any – of the season Aitken will race for the team. But an experienced driver like himself seems the most likely way the team will score more much needed points.
This brings us onto the third and final HWA driver. It is perhaps here that we find the reason for why HWA are having a tough season. Alessio Deladda had two relatively uninspiring seasons in Formula 3 – with the highest finishing position in that time of 16th place in 2019. He then entered Formula 2 in 2021.
So far, his best finish for the team has been a 12th place in the second Monaco Sprint Race. His promotion led many to scratch their heads and his off track speeding antics didn’t help him either. But they did provide an amusing comment from former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde.
“It’s also the first time Deladda is actually overtaking any cars.” – Giedo van der Garde
Whilst perseverance is always key when the chips don’t fall your way, improvement has to accompany it. So far in his racing career, there’s very little evidence to show this is the case. If HWA want to improve for the rest of 2021 and maximise their chances of getting points, it might be a better idea to look on the driver market. The likes of Callum Ilott are between racing gigs and if anyone could help HWA improve, surely it would be drivers of his calibre.
There is no doubting that it will be a tough year for HWA Racelab. But anything can happen in Formula 2 so never say never. Trident are their nearest rivals with nine points so it’s possible to catch them. They beat them last year and history has been known to repeat itself. Aitken has been their closest chance of achieving that so far. Plus with past experiences of scoring points at both Monza and Sochi, he would seem to be their best bet moving forwards and should retain him. However, if things remain as they are on the other side of the garage, perhaps time would be better spent focusing on preparing for the 2022 season.