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Formula 2

Formula 2 heads to Jeddah: Can Bahrain’s toppers adapt or fall behind?

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Formula 2 heads to the fastest street circuit on the calendar for round 2 of the championship. Zane Maloney and Rodin secured victories in both races in Round 1, can they continue their form? Or will someone else join the winners’ circle?
Here’s Desi Racing Co’s guide ahead of the Round 2 of the 2024 Formula 2 season.

Round 1 Preview – Back to Bahrain

Before we begin to walk through the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, here’s a quick recap of how Round 1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix went:

  • The 20-year-old young man from Barbados, Zane Maloney of Rodin Motorsports drove away as a winner of both the Sprint and the Feature race
  • The highly anticipated duo of Oliver Bearman and Andrea Kimi Antonelli only took away 1 point from the entire weekend for PREMA Racing
  • Kush Maini, the Indian driver from Invicta Racing, jumped from a P22 to P7 in the feature race after being disqualified from the Qualifying session due to a technical infringement
  • The rookie from Campos Racing Josep María Martí, scored a double podium and started his debut season the right way

Jeddah Corniche Circuit: A Daunting Challenge

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is a temporary street circuit and also the second longest Formula 1 circuit on the calendar, being 6.174 kilometres in length. It has 27 corners and is also one of the fastest street circuits in the world with speeds going up to 334.6km/h.

The circuit is long, has multiple corners, and is an exciting street circuit. But there are many things the teams and drivers will need to look out for:

Teams will need to balance – high downforce for slow corners vs. speed for straights

  • Warmer temperatures & high grip will demand careful tyre management by the drivers
  • Heavy fuel usage will occur due to the track layout
  • Hard braking zones – Turns 1, 2 & final corner will test the drivers

Tyre Strategy: Balancing Speed and Endurance

Pirelli has allocated Mediums (yellow) & Supersofts (purple) – the same as in 2023

  • Potential Risk/Reward: Starting on Supersofts

– Pros: Quicker warmup, better initial grip for early gains

– Example: 2023 winner Frederic Vesti (started P6, finished P4)

  • Alternative Strategy: Starting on Mediums

– Slower warmup but better tyre life for late-race battles. It will also be suited for hot Jeddah temperatures.

Drivers to Watch: Championship Contenders and Rising Stars

  • Zane Maloney, the championship leader after Round 1 is heading to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as a favourite. Rodin Motorsports and Maloney dominated in Bahrain, but it wasn’t a surprise since pre-season testing was held there too. The real test: replicating that win on a new track with a different car setup. Can they translate their Bahrain form and prove their car works across circuits? That’s crucial for title hopes.
  • The Invicta Racing drivers Kush Maini and Gabriel Bortoletto showed might pace during the Bahrain Grand Prix. They qualified P1 and P2 and secured a P7 and P5 in the feature race respectively. 
  • Rookies ruled Bahrain! 4 of the top 5 point-scorers were newcomers, with Martí and Aron leading the pack on the podium. But can they adapt? Unlike Bahrain (where many raced F3 previously and tested in F2 machinery), Jeddah is a whole new challenge. The tight, fast street circuit will be their first big test, showing if they can adjust and push their limits in qualifying.
  • Rough weekend for PREMA racing. Both drivers missed the top 10 in qualifying, though Andrea Kimi Antonelli salvaged a P10 in the Feature Race. They’ve struggled in Bahrain before, so Jeddah will be a big test: are they adapting poorly to the new car, or are these Bahrain-specific issues?
  • Isack Hadjar impressed with a P4 in the Sprint Race and front-row in qualifying, but a first-lap crash in the Feature Race halted his momentum. The team hopes his pace translates to future races for a shot at the title.

Fun Fact: Anybody’s Game

None of the drivers on the current grid in Formula 2 has won in Jeddah before. Victor Martins, however, has secured a pole in qualifying in 2023.

Prediction Time: Who Will Conquer the Corniche?

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit being a fast-paced street circuit also means there might be higher chances of Turn 1 chaos, DNFs, and Safety Cars. Who do you think will come out on top?

Schedule and where to watch:

The F2 weekend starts on Thursday 7th March with free practice at 3:25 PM IST. A detailed schedule is given below.
You can watch all the sessions live on F1TV or Fancode in India.

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Formula 2

Formula 2 Round 9 Preview: Top 5 storylines heading into Hungary

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Budapest hosts Formula 2 for Round 9 of the championship. The Hungaroring will be first stop of the double header before we head to the summer break. Here are DRC’s top 5 storylines heading into Budapest.
Read the Round 8 review here.

Hadjar will look to maintain his championship lead.

Hadjar has finally regained the championship lead that he lost to Paul Aron earlier in the season. In the last 6 Feature Races, Hadjar has 3 wins and 2 more podiums to his name. His worst result in those feature races was a fifth place finish in Barcelona.

(Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Hadjar is currently 16 points ahead of second placed Paul Aron in the championship. The campos driver will be looking to extend this lead over the double header.

Aron looking to make a comeback after a disappointing Silverstone

Paul Aron went into Silverstone hoping to end his winless streak in Formula 2. Things didn’t go as planned and he failed to score a single point in Silverstone. Having scored a podium in each of the seven opening rounds, not scoring a point in the eighth round was disappointing. This resulted in Aron losing his championship lead to rival Isack Hadjar.

(Photo: Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

The Hitech driver will look to bounce back in Hungary. With just 16 points adrift of the top, a solid weekend can close that gap down. The results in Silverstone being majorly affected by his spin in qualifying. However, he was on provisional pole before the spin and showed good pace in the races as well. Aron will definitely be the one to watch as he now hunts for his first win and also the championship lead.

Zane Maloney looking to build on Silverstone success

Even though Maloney didn’t get a win in Silverstone, but 2 podiums in both races meant he had his second best weekend of the season so far. The Rodin driver won both races in Bahrain, getting a start people could only dream of. But, the form dipped with the Bajan scoring only 1 podium in the next 6 weekends. Silverstone was a turn in form with Maloney scoring two P2 finishes.

(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

The solid weekend in Silverstone has put Maloney P3 in the championship standings. Coming into Budapest, Maloney will look to build on his success from last round.

Maini will look to turn his mixed weekends into solid ones

The Indian driver has scored 2 podiums in the last 3 rounds. But the performance is still far off from what people expected out of him. Having challenged for race wins and pole positions at the start of the year, that form has seen a dip since Imola. It was reported that he had a cracked chassis in Imola and Monaco. In Spain he had a brand new chassis and the form improved. Ever since then it has been a mixed bag of results.

Heading into Hungary, the Indian driver will be looking to put it all together and have a solid weekend. Hungaroring is also the track where Maini scored his first and only Formula 3 podium.

Teams’ title fight heating up

The 2024 Formula 2 teams’ title fight is intensely competitive, with Campos Racing currently leading by 23 points. Rodin Motorsport initially dominated, but their momentum waned, allowing teams like Hitech Pulse-Eight and MP Motorsport to close in. The top five teams are closely matched, with only 51 points separating them. As the season progresses, the standings are expected to remain volatile, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion. With numerous races left, including unpredictable circuits like Baku and Lusail, the title fight is far from over.

(Photo- Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Schedule and Where to Watch.

You can watch Formula 2 live in India on F1TV and Fancode. The full weekend schedule is as follows.

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Formula 2

Isack Hadjar Retakes Championship Lead: Formula 2 Round 8

Isack Hadjar retook the championship lead in Silverstone. The Frenchman scored a pole and the Feature Race win to get back on top.

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Isack Hadjar took pole and a win in Silverstone to retake the Formula 2 championship lead in Silverstone. Here are the storylines from the weekend.

Disaster Weekend for Paul Aron

Paul Aron coming to Silverstone had a podium each round, this streak ended in Silverstone. Not only did he fail to score a podium, but he also didn’t score any points at all. The Estonian driver qualified P12 after making an error and spinning out with 10 minutes left in the session. This left him with major flat spots while everyone else improved their times. In the Sprint Race Aron collided with Martí and it left both out of the race. In the Feature Race, Aron finished outside the points in P12. Having lost his Championship lead, Aron would be looking to take it back in Hungary.

Hadjar gets the Pole and a Win

Isack Hadjar had a mixed weekend but most of it was on the good side. Qualifying on Pole, Hadjar started the Sprint race in P10. The Campos driver beached his car on lap 8 straight into Copse. The next day in the feature race Hadjar had a bad start starting from pole and fell back. Hadjar then drove brilliantly to come back into the race and was running P2 behind Crawford. A 5s time penalty for Crawford meant Hadjar who was only 2.5s behind would take the victory after the penalty was applied.

(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Heading into Budapest as the championship leader, Hadjar would look to extend his lead on top.

“Race winner on Sunday, unfortunately not on track like we wanted. But still, it was a really fun race with lots going on and I managed to bring those points home. Already looking forward to Budapest.”

Isack Hadjar after the feature race

Zane Maloney takes Double Podium

Maloney didn’t get any race wins but scored 2 crucial podium finishes to climb up to 3rd in the championship standings. An uneventful sprint race as Maloney started P2 and finished P2 as well. The Feature Race however was anything but uneventful. The Bajan driver had a great start to move up 3 places. He then went on to manage his tyres and pace well to finish P2 after Crawford’s penalty. After scoring 0 points last weekend, Maloney would be happy to bounce back with two P2s.

(Image: Formula 2 via Getty Images)

Andrea Kimi Antonelli gets his first win.

The Mercedes Junior was having a lackluster season in Formula 2, delivering performances below everyone’s expectations of him. The prime candidate for the Mercedes seat, he had to step up to show everyone that he deserved the seat. Having started from the reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race, Kimi excelled in mixed conditions to finish P1.

“Got my first win, really happy with the result. It was a difficult race in difficult conditions, but we managed pretty well and I’m really happy to bring home the first win of the season.”

Andrea Kimi Antonelly

The feature race ended early for the Italian after being sent into a spin by Kush Maini on the opening lap. An overall decent weekend and the Sprint Race victory will only motivate him to push for being constantly at the front.

Image credits: Formula 2 via Getty Images

Mixed weekend for Kush Maini

The Indian driver had another mixed weekend in Silverstone, similar to what he had in Austria one week back. The pace was looking strong for Maini in qualifying, but traffic hampered his final push lap resulting in him qualifying P8. On the reverse grid for the Sprint Race, Maini started P3 and finished P3 too, but the race was not as simple as it looks like. The Alpine junior driver was holding position in mixed conditions after being under constant pressure from his teammate. On the last lap, Bortoleto made a move on Maini on the last corner, overtaking him to finish P3. Later on the stewards deemed the move illegal, as Bortoleto overtook outside the track. This resulted in Maini getting back the 3rd place.

In the feature race, Maini tapped Kimi from behind, sending the Prema driver into a spin and giving Maini damage. This forced Maini to make an early pit stop. After that, the race was pretty much uneventful for the Indian who crossed the finish line in P19. Maini also got a 10s time penalty for the opening lap incident, but that didn’t affect his finishing position.

Championship Standings

Isack Hadjar moves to the top of the Championship ahead of Paul Aron, 133 points to 117. Zane Maloney improved his position in third, now on 101 points with Gabriel Bortoleto fourth on 98. Franco Colapinto is P5 on 92 points.

In the Teams’ Standings, Campos Racing lead with 171 points ahead of MP Motorsport in second on 158. Invicta Racing are just two points back in third position, while Hitech Pulse-Eight and Rodin Motorsport round out the top five with 142 and 120 points respectively.

Formula 2 will take a week off and head to Budapest for Round 9 of the championship from July 19-21.

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Formula 2

Formula 2 Round 8: Last Leg of the Triple Header

Formula 2 makes it’s final stop of the triple header in Silverstone. Read Desi Racing Co’s preview for the weekend.

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It’s the final leg of the triple header and Formula 2 will be in town for Round 8 of the championship. Halfway through the season, and it still feels too early to call the championship. Here are the storylines heading into Round 8 of the Formula 2 championship.

Paul Aron is still at the top

The Estonian driver has continued his streak of scoring a podium in every round of the championship. A P3 in the Sprint and a P5 in the Feature Race helped Aron stay at the top of the championship. Still yet to win a race this year, he could be eyeing the top step in Silverstone.

Paul Aron of Hitech Pulse-Eight (17) (Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Bortoleto is fresh off of a win

The reigning F3 champion got his first win in F2 last weekend in Austria. This helped the McLaren junior climb 3 spots from before in the championship standings. Sitting third in the championship, Bortoleto would look to build on his win last weekend and close the gap in the championship. Sitting just 32 points off the lead, the next few rounds could prove pivotal for the Brazilian if he wants to mount a championship challenge.

Gabriel Bortoleto of Invicta Racing (10) (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Win and a Promotion within a week for Bearman

Oliver Bearman had been having a lackluster season in Formula 2 till now. Having impressed in his Rookie season last year, there’s something about the new-gen cars that doesn’t click for Bearman. Coming into Austria the Prema driver had scored just 18 points in 5 rounds (he missed the Saudi round to fill in for Carlos Sainz). However, in Austria, the Ferrari Academy driver got his first win of the season. On the reverse grid, the Brit started on the front row, a good start helped him lead into turn 1 which he converted into a race win. It was announced today that Bearman will drive for Ferrari customer Haas F1 Team in 2025.

Can Kush bounce back from Austria?

Kush Maini had a disappointing time out in Austria. The Indian driver scored only 2 points in the weekend, both of which came in the sprint race. Having started on reverse grid Pole position for the sprint race, Kush failed to convert it into a win. He lost ground at the start and just couldn’t turn things around in the race, losing more positions to eventually finish 7th. In the feature race, he stalled on the grid, forcing him to start from the pitlane. To come back from a pitlane start in the race was a tough ask, especially when there were no safety car interruptions. The Alpine Academy driver finished 17th in the race.

Coming into Silverstone, Kush has said it’s his favourite track on the calendar. The Track has also given at least 1 F2 driver their first win in the championship since 2020. Could this be the fateful weekend that Kush needs?

FP1 outings for Junior Drivers

This weekend in FP1 we have a few of Formula 2 drivers making an appearance in Formula 1’s First Free Practice session.

Isack Hadjar will return to drive for Red Bull Racing, jumping into Sergio Perez’s car. He made two FP1 appearances in 2023 – one for AlphaTauri (now RB) in Mexico, and one for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi. Williams Junior Franco Colapinto will be with the British team. The MP Motorsport driver is 5th in the standings and enjoyed a Feature Race podium last time out in Austria. Oliver Bearman who’s already been confirmed to drive for Haas in 2025 will be making another Practice appearance for the team. Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan will drive Pierre Gasly’s car in FP1 this weekend.

Timings and Where to Watch

You can watch all the sessions live in India on Fancode or F1TV. Full schedule of the weekend in IST is given below:

Follow Desi Racing Co for regular updates from the world of Motorsports.

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