While we’ve been getting our fill of W Series and F3 over the past weeks in support of F1, Formula 2’s new shorter season continues to frustrate with its massive gaps between races. When the sessions get underway at Silverstone, it will be six weeks since the last outing at Baku where Juri Vips and Robert Shwartzman entered the title race. Here’s what you need to know ahead of F2’s welcome return at the British Grand Prix.
Is Silverstone Shwartzman’s Kryptonite?
PREMA won the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with Mick Schumacher but it didn’t always look like the German driver would be the one to clinch the title. Robert Shwartzman impressed in his first F2 season and was the championship leader as the series entered the Silverstone double-header.
By the end of the four races, Shwartzman slipped back to P3 in the championship fight and never truly recovered. The Russian managed just four points courtesy of P8 in the first Feature Race. 2021 will be the chance to show it’s not his bogey circuit as some seem to think. He has won there in the past in Formula Renault Eurocup, after all.
Gaining silverware at Silverstone will be essential to keep the momentum up for Shwartzman this year. He’s behind his rookie teammate in Oscar Piastri in the championship currently but took a sizeable chunk out of the Aussies lead in Baku. Three good hauls of points at Silverstone could catapult Robert to the top of the standings with only 12 points separating him from Guanyu Zhou.
2021 wasn’t going to plan for Hitech despite their promising all-Red Bull driver pairing of Juri Vips and Liam Lawson. Investigations, disqualifications, and bad luck have hampered the team’s progress this season after Lawson’s win at Bahrain back in March.
That all changed at Baku with Vips taking two race wins. Lawson also grabbed pole position in qualifying alongside Vips on the front row in P2. The team’s home race comes at a great time to push that advantage further. PREMA may be the powerhouse feeder team, but with three wins, Hitech are the F2 team with the most victories thus far. Even if Vips or Lawson don’t take the crown, Hitech could push for the Teams’ Championship.
Both Dan Ticktum and Jack Aitken will race in front of a home crowd at Silverstone in 2021. The two Brits have good memories of the Northamptonshire track with Ticktum taking the Sprint Race win there last time out. Aitken did the same one year earlier, and scored a double podium finish in 2020, too.
Aitken will need to hope for issues further up the grid or a top ten qualifying performance to benefit from the reverse grid this year. He maintains his unexpected partnership with HWA for a third weekend as the backmarker team still seek a full-time replacement for Matteo Nannini.
For Ticktum, however, winning is a distinct possibility. He has reached the podium at every event this year so far, including inheriting the win at Monaco after Lawson’s disqualification. Should Ticktum make it two wins in a row at Silverstone, it’ll be in front of a capacity crowd with the venue expecting some 140,000 fans on Sunday.
Formula 2 British GP Session Times
Friday, July 16th, 2021
11:30BST – Free Practice
16:50BST – Qualifying
Saturday, July 17th, 2021
08:50BST – Sprint Race 1
14:45BST – Sprint Race 2
Sunday, July 18th, 2021
10:50BST – Feature Race
Featured Image: PREMA