FIA Formula 2 Sakhir Preview: Lights out in 2023

FIA Formula 2 Sakhir Preview: Lights out in 2023

02.03.2023: It has been little under two weeks since the teams got their first bit of on-track action during pre-season testing, but who has benefited most going into the first race weekend of 2023? Plenty of contenders will want to stake their claim for the 2


It has been little under two weeks since the teams got their first bit of on-track action during pre-season testing, but who has benefited most going into the first race weekend of 2023?



Plenty of contenders will want to stake their claim for the 2023 Formula 2 Drivers’ Championship at the first opportunity, but they aren’t alone. There are more than a few rookies wanting to make a name for themselves after stepping up from F3.



What does Round 1 of the F2 season have in store for us then?



WE GO AGAIN




Nine rookies join the F2 ranks for the 2023 season, with reigning F3 Champion Victor Martins joined by all six of his title rivals from last season.



Martins partners Théo Pourchaire at ART Grand Prix to make it an all French line-up. Elsewhere, there’s been a little movement on the driver market. Enzo Fittipaldi has moved to Rodin Carlin and is partnered by 2022 F3 Vice Champion Zane Maloney. Frederik Vesti has moved to PREMA Racing and he is joined by Oliver Bearman after his top three finish in F3 last year.



Reigning Teams’ Champions MP Motorsport have a brand new line-up, with Dennis Hauger and Jehan Daruvala swapping red for orange. Clément Novalak moves back to Trident for his second F2 campaign, joined by rookie Roman Stanek who also drove for the Italian team in F3.



Hitech Pulse-Eight will have two rookies in their cars this year, with the double Red Bull Junior Team act of Isack Hadjar and Jak Crawford. Arthur Leclerc moves up to partner Ayumu Iwasa at DAMS, while Benavides joins Roy Nissany at newcomers PHM Racing by Charouz.



Ralph Boschung returns with Campos Racing, and he is partnered by Indian driver Kush Maini at the Spanish outfit. Invicta Virtuosi Racing retains Jack Doohan for his second full F2 campaign alongside new arrival Amaury Cordeel. Last but not least, Juan Manuel Correa makes his Formula 2 return with Van Amersfoort Racing alongside Richard Verschoor.



Formula 2 is also breaking new ground this season from a technical standpoint. 2023 will be the first season in which Advanced Sustainable Fuels are used in all cars, in collaboration with Formula 1 Global Partner Aramco. Over the next four years, Formula 2 will gradually increase the sustainable elements year-on-year from the 55% in 2023  and eventually introducing a 100% sustainable fuel for the 2027 season.





RACE STRATEGY


The majority of drivers opted to start on the hard compound tyres last year, but it was those on the softs that had the early advantage. An early Safety Car allowed Marcus Armstrong, who was the highest-placed driver on the softs at the start, to extend his first stint and make several overtakes on those fitted with the hards.


That advantage was erased in the second half of the race, and those on the conventional strategy benefitted from the swap to soft tyres. In the end, it was Théo Pourchaire who took victory, running the hard-to-soft strategy for ART Grand Prix.



With the Bahrain International Circuit featuring one of the most abrasive track surfaces on the calendar, there’s no shortage of strategic options available to teams and drivers.





Pirelli Motorsport Director, Mario Isola


“For the first round of the Formula 2 season in Bahrain we have nominated the P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft compounds: the same tyres that we supplied last year. Although it’s a track the teams and drivers know quite well from testing, the characteristics of the Sakhir circuit always seem to make for an exciting start to the season in F2.


"In particular, we have seen a wide variety of strategies deployed there over the years: we all remember Charles Leclerc winning the sprint race in 2017 after an optional pitstop to change tyres, and this unconventional strategy has been relatively common since.


The large gap between the hard and soft tyres certainly encourages some out-of-the-box thinking, on a circuit where the very abrasive surface contributes to high degradation. An added complication is that the F2 sessions will take place in different temperatures at day and night, although the pre-season test allowed the teams and drivers to experience running in all conditions.”



- Alexa Quintin, photo Formula Motorsport Limited

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fia-formula-2-sakhir-preview-lights-out-2023---248096.html

02.03.2023 / MaP

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