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Silly Season | F2 drivers open hunt at key stage of the season

Silly Season | F2 drivers open hunt at key stage of the season

18-07-2022 09:14 Last update: 09:29


The Formula 2 championship is entering an exciting period. Just before the summer break, this is a good opportunity for drivers to give themselves a chance of a seat in F1, but are there any drivers who could be considered for a step up? GPblog analyses the various options.

Talents of the future

Formula 2 is the last class before F1, so people are looking to the talents of the future. Good performances in this class give you a chance of a place in F1, but it is not a given, as Nyck de Vries and Oscar Piastri have shown. They missed out on an F1 seat after their F2 title.

Just like Formula 1, F2 races in France and Hungary, so in a fortnight's time an important battle can be fought in the championship. After the summer break, there are only four race weekends left in F2. Most F1 seats are filled around the summer, so for that long break, you want to be in the best possible shape.

The surprising frontrunner

The one who has done that best so far is Felipe Drugovich. GPblog spoke to the Brazilian earlier this season, who is hoping for a place in F1. He has a 39-point lead over the number two and has been the most consistent factor this season, but he does not have a place in F1.

It is therefore likely that Drugovich will follow the same path as Piastri and De Vries, especially as Drugovich is not the youngest at 22 and is already in his third F2 season. De Vries's third year was also marked by a lack of appreciation from F1 teams.

However, if Drugovich continues on his current course, there are bound to be some teams knocking on the door. Williams may have a seat vacant, Aston Martin may need to find a replacement for Sebastian Vettel and Guanyu Zhou and Mick Schumacher are not sure of their seats at Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively.

American F1 driver

The number two in the championship is Logan Sargeant. He has climbed up the rankings in the last few races, winning the main races in Austria and Great Britain. Now in his second year in F2, the American has taken to the track and as a junior at Williams, there is a real chance of an F1 seat.

F1 has been chasing an American F1 driver for some time now, so Williams will certainly get support from there. It already seemed to be in an advanced stage with Oscar Piastri, but if it could bring in a talent of its own that would only be better. So for the 21-year-old driver, it is now an important stage to show Williams that they do not need to look outside their own training.

Is Zhou under pressure?

The big favourite to win an F1 seat was Theo Pourchaire prior to the season. The Frenchman is predicted to have a great future and at eighteen he is one of the youngest in the class. Pourchaire, however, alternates victories and podiums too often with crashes and results outside the top ten. The gap with Drugovich is already 40 points, but that is not unbridgeable.

Pourchaire will be hoping to increase the pressure on Guanyu Zhou before the summer break. As a junior at the Sauber Academy, the Frenchman was already in the picture as Valtteri Bottas' teammate for 2022, but then Frederic Vasseur thought it was too early. The Chinese driver has yet to make a splash in F1, so that is a door that may open for Pourchaire.

After these top three there is a big gap behind a whole group of drivers. Each driver has his own story this year. Each of these drivers will be hoping to catch up with the top three in the coming races to prove that an F1 seat for 2023 should be an option.

The unlikely candidates

Jehan Daruvala and Enzo Fittipaldi are on P4 and P5, but are unlikely to be among the contenders for an F1 seat. Daruvala belongs to Red Bull, but as a 23-year-old driver, the man from India is unlikely to be in the training programme just because of his talent. Fittipaldi has his family name, but has yet to really impress in any class since his F4 title in 2018. It has to be said, though, that the 20-year-old Brazilian is doing a handsome job for Charouz's small team.

Marcus Armstrong is another driver who seems to have lost his chance. The 21-year-old New Zealander was part of the Ferrari academy but lost that spot at the beginning of the year. A sixth place in his third F2 season is not a sign that Ferrari have got it wrong.

Red Bull's disappointing talents

The most disappointing drivers are those from Red Bull's programme. Daruvala may have been the oldest and most experienced of the bunch, but prior to the season Liam Lawson, Juri Vips and Dennis Hauger were thought to have great chances. However, they are more than eighty points behind the leader in the standings and so far cannot really put pressure on Yuki Tsunoda. Helmut Marko will keep a close eye on the Japanese driver in the next two races to see if he should not extend his contract for another year. Vips also smashed his own windscreen by using the N-word and thus forfeiting his role as Red Bull test driver.

The outsiders

A notable name in the top ten is Jack Doohan. The son of motorsport legend Mick Doohan is in his first full season in the class and has already taken three podiums, including a sprint race win. At 19, the Australian still has time to learn and find an academy that will give him a place.

The last name that is still interesting is that of Frederik Vesti. The Dane has shown here and there that his place in Mercedes' training programme is not something he was given lightly, but the number eleven in the championship rarely manages to string together whole weekends. The question is to what extent Mercedes will have a place for him should the 20-year-old come through.


Looking at the driver's market in F1 for 2023, you know there are very few opportunities for young talents. The best seat available is that of Zhou at Alfa Romeo. Pourchaire seems to be the best candidate for that as a product of their training, but with the choice for Zhou Alfa also showed that they do not always choose the best driver.

At Haas Mick Schumacher's contract is coming to an end, but with the performances of the last few weeks, it is not likely that the two parties will part. There are still rumours about a possible move to Aston Martin, but would that help the German? As a small team, Haas seems the place for a driver like Felipe Drugovich, but he will have to put a lot of money on the table. Logan Sargeant is also interesting as an American, although Guenther Steiner has often said that an American driver is not a must for him.

The Red Bull talents usually have the best chance of winning an F1 seat, and with Yuki Tsunoda's contract expiring and his performance mediocre, a top talent could also force a promotion. Daruvala, however, is not a serious option and the other Red Bull talents have been disappointing. Hauger and Lawson are the biggest contenders, but they will have to show something different before the summer.

At Aston Martin, too, a place seems to be vacant. Sebastian Vettel will not be very happy with the performance of his car and rumours about a retirement are persistent. Schumacher is being linked with this seat and that would provide an opportunity for talents at Haas. No other talents are currently linked to Aston Martin, but as the ninth-ranked team the British team does not necessarily have a luxury position should Vettel leave.

The biggest opportunity for talent remains at Williams, where both drivers' contracts expire. Williams will be keen to keep Alexander Albon as the team's leader given his performance, but the Thai could be brought back by Red Bull at the end of the season. However, since Pierre Gasly has extended his contract it is doubtful if the Thai will be needed at Red Bull.

Albon is likely to stay, but Nicholas Latifi's departure has been rumoured for a long time, which is not surprising given his performance. Oscar Piastri is said to be in the process of finalising a deal with Williams in what is expected to be a rental deal with Alpine. However, with the ever-improving Sargeant, Williams also has its pupil in training who is performing superbly and may well deserve that seat. As an American he also has an edge with the F1 management, so two good results in the coming weeks could do the American a lot of good.

The best chances, then, are for the numbers two and three of the current F2 championship. They have a connection with an F1 team where a spot becomes available and also delivers the desired performance. Drugovich, as number one, is also a logical candidate, but without a link to an F1 team, the switch seems very difficult. The Red Bull talents have a unique opportunity for an F1 seat, but it will require a much better finish to the first half of the season.

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