The 2021 Formula 2 season is less than a week away and it is already shaping up to be an absolute vintage season. If you’re an F1 fan and you’ve not got into the junior categories before, here are five reasons F2 is a must in 2021.
Let’s start with the obvious one, a dull F2 race is pretty hard to find. The cars are affected by dirty air but they can race close together. The drivers are incentivised to make the overtakes happen. If you think tyre degradation is savage in F1, it’s nothing compared to what we see regularly in F2. Feature race strategy, DRS, tyre conservation skill and differing car performance from the setups means you will see passing. Oh and it quite often is pretty spectacular stuff!
To add to the mixture for 2021 is a new hard tyre compound, too, which has caused headaches for the drivers in testing. Unpredictability is the name of the game in any F2 season. Adding another unknown for the only part of the car that touches the ground will make for fascinating viewing.
Three Races Per Weekend for Formula 2 in 2021!
As much as we mourn the loss of the old Formula 2 weekend format as we enter 2021, there is much to look forward to with the new one. For one thing, there are three races per weekend. This means three opening laps per weekend! There are also two reverse grid races in the two Sprint races on a Saturday. Did we mention lots of overtaking? Yeah we did!
So yes, it will be a little strange that we only see F2 race on eight weekends this year. But on those weekends you can trust that you are going to see some superb action.
Thanks to a certain German manufacturer, F1 has been a bit starved of late in terms of championship battles. Formula 2 has normally more than made up for it and 2021 is looking to be an absolute belter. Robert Shwartzman in the Prema is arguably the favourite for the title. Guanyu Zhou and Felipe Drugovich in the UNI-Virtuosi cars are also very strong contenders.
Then you’ve got the Carlin duo of Jehan Daruvala and Dan Ticktum. ART’s Christian Lundgaard and DAM’s Marcus Armstrong. That’s seven drivers who could win it this year. Not forgetting reigning F3 champion Oscar Piastri in the second Prema or the supremely talented Theo Pourchaire in the second ART. If either of them hit the ground running then we are going to see some fireworks!
I’ve not even mentioned Liam Lawson and Juri Vips in the Hitech cars either. If I do, we are up to a full half of the Formula 2 field who could win the championship.
So if you like the idea of a potential 10-way scrap for a championship, set your eyeballs to watch!
The Stars of Tomorrow….Today!
F2 official opening credits includes the line “The Stars of Tomorrow”. I actually think this does the drivers a disservice as they are unquestionably stars right now. Sure, they’re not F1 driver level stars but many of them are on their way to that level.
F2 is not the perfect barometer of who will be a top tier F1 champion. Sure Rosberg, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Gasly, Leclerc, Russell and Schumacher all became GP2/F2 champion. But so too did Giorgio Pantano, Fabio Leimer, Jolyon Palmer and the world’s most disappointing Belgian; Stoffel Vandoorne.
To watch Vandoorne’s junior career was to witness sheer brilliance. To see his F1 career, hampered though he was by awful McLarens, was to watch abject nothingness. It was all rather sad after the excitement of his feeder years.
Anyway, the point is that watching FIA F3 and F2 are a good way to catch F1’s hottest drivers on their way to to the Grand Prix grid. Remember when you hear of the hottest new driver entering the F1 world? Watching Formula 2 is where people begin getting excited.
The 2021 Formula 2 Commentary team
Viewers of F1 on Channel 4 in the UK are about to be introduced to the vocal brilliance of Alex Jacques. F2 and F3 viewers on Sky will have become used to his fantastic commentary several years ago when he took over from Will Buxton. Jacques pairing with 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi is genuinely my favourite commentary duo of all time.
Jacques is supremely knowledgeable, passionate and funny. He also sometimes sounds a little like UK comedy genius Richard Ayoade. Which, of course, just makes his commentary even more enjoyable. Valsecchi would shout excitedly at the action but end his thoughts on a whisper. Always hilarious but completely endearing.
Nowadays Jacques is mostly joined in the commentary box by Alex Brundle. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, yes, he is related to Martin Brundle. And he’s a chip off the old block, so is as you’d expect, very good. Meanwhile in the pitlane is the always-excellent Rosanna Tennant. A familiar figure for those of you who watch on F1TV or F1’s YouTube channel.
So there you go, five reasons why you should be watching Formula 2 in 2021. If you’ve not seen it before, do tune in. I promise you will not regret it!