Crazy retirements and F2 seem to go hand in hand. Gianluca Petecof was forced into retirement during the 2021 F2 Bahrain Feature race when his fire extinguisher activated. The unlucky Brazilian was forced to pull off the track wiping foam from his visor. F2 regulations dictate that the car cannot continue racing once the fire extinguisher has gone off.
It’s an amusing watch for the viewers seeing the car fill with foam. But it must be hugely frustrating for the drivers themselves. GP2 and F2 in the last few years have had no shortage of unusual incidents we’ve seen. And here they are for your reading pleasure.
2020 – Mick Schumacher Styrian GP Sprint Race
In only the second race weekend of 2020, the fire extinguisher decided to dampen the spirits of Mick Schumacher. The young German was on course for only his second F2 podium at the time. Later investigations pointed to tyre debris striking the extinguisher and causing the trigger.
2020 – Theo Pourchaire Sakhir GP Sprint Race
Theo Pourchaire wowed the Grand Prix world on his way to 2nd in the 2020 F3 championship. Hopping into an HWA Racelab F2 car for the final two rounds at Bahrain seemed like the perfect end to his season. Which it would have been if it hadn’t blown up in his face. The “it” in question being his fire extinguisher! Anyone else think they might be a touch too sensitive?!
2016 – German GP Feature Race
A rule defining decision in many ways, this incident explains why Petecof pulled off the track the moment he got foamed. Pierre Gasly had driven a combative race to finish 3rd in his Prema for the Feature race at Hockenheim. But he was disqualified when it was discovered that his extinguisher had gone off during the race. The stewards determined that he had been driving without a critical piece of safety equipment intact in his car.
2016 – Monaco GP Sprint race
Sergey Sirotkin was yet another driver to have a fire extinguisher go off in his face. Again it was tyre debris hitting the extinguisher as he topped the hill at Massenet. He was able to pull off at the Casino Square escape road. Perhaps his extinguisher wanted to….put it all on red?!
2008 – Bruno Senna Turkish GP Sprint Race
One of the sadder retirements to recall as a pet owner. During the Sunday morning GP2 Sprint race two stray dogs appeared on the track. The marshals managed to catch one but the other was hit by Bruno Senna’s iSport International car and was killed instantly. Thankfully, the Brazilian driver was unhurt in the incident but his car suffered suspension damage and he was forced to retire.
2018 – George Russell – Barcelona GP Feature Race
In 2018, GP2 turned into F2 but the crazy retirements remained. This one didn’t end in retirement but was one of the more unusual scenes during the superb inaugral season. George Russell and his ART team had fitted a water bottle in his car as he appeared to be underweight before the race. The bottle came loose and Russell tucked it under his legs to stop it rolling around in the cockpit. Three laps later a Virtual Safety Car gave him an early opportunity to get rid of the bottle and he lobbed it out of the cockpit.
You’d think the FIA would approve of a driver ensuring a loose object was not in his cockpit. They did not and the now-Williams driver was hit with a 3,000 Euro fine for his troubles.
2013 – Monaco GP Feature Race
This one is worth going and watching for yourself on YouTube. Nine cars either up the back of each other or actually on top of each other into Sainte Devote on lap one. It’s one of those brilliantly bad bits of GP2 history.
2014 – Monaco GP Feature Race
Not to be outdone by the race from the previous year, the 2014 GP2 roadblock occurred at the Fairmont hairpin. In the middle of the hairpin, Rene Binder was battling his Arden teammate Andre Negreo and pitched him into a spin. This blocked the track for the cars on the outside of the stricken car who couldn’t get round along with the ones behind him. Moments later most of the field arrived behind and were forced to a stop. The race was swiftly red-flagged!
2016 – Azerbaijan GP2 Feature and Sprint Races
You should try and find these two races in their entirety if you’ve not seen them. They are spectacular and left everyone in a fever pitch for the F1 Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. Sadly that was a damp squib but GP2 was utterly madcap and amazing.
There you go, guys. And this isn’t an exhaustive list of the madcap brilliance by any stretch of the imagination. But certainly some of the more crazy F2 and GP2 retirements that stuck in my mind from the last few years. Thank you GP2 and F2, don’t ever change!