F2 reveals new format for 2021, 11 teams stay on; Formula E Valencia test recap
The F2 and F3 series reveals its new format for 2021 as Formula E's Valencia test is complete.
The FIA Formula 2 (F2) Championship had multiple news regarding 2021 season as Formula E ended its Valencia pre-season test.
The day started with F2 confirming that all of the current 11 teams will remain in the championship for 2021 and until 2023, which is when the current cycle will end. The 2019 season had 10 outfits, who continued in 2020 with Hitech GP joining in.
Also, Arden Motorsport gave full control of its F2 entry to HWA Racelab from this season onward. In addition to the above two, the other nine are Prema, Carlin, Trident, UNI-Virtuosi Racing, ART Grand Prix, MP Motorsport and DAMS.
"For the next three-year cycle, we have decided to renew our trust in the same eleven teams who have been racing with us in 2020," said Bruno Michel. "They have showed immense resilience and professionalism in these trying times.
"They all have done a wonderful job and they also have relied on us to ensure that everything was done to keep racing. Together, we have been through some very challenging times, and together we will keep on working hard to maintain the level of our championship as high as it currently is thus attracting the best and most exciting young drivers."
Moving on from the teams, F2 also revealed its weekend format of three races, which kicks-in from 2021 onward. The new format will stick with the current one 45-minute practice and one 30-minute qualifying session, taking place on Friday.
The major change will happen for the races on Saturday and Sunday, where the former will feature two sprint races, while the latter will see the feature race - opposite of what has been happening until the 2020 F2 season, with feature-to-sprint.
The grid for the feature race of one hour - with a pit stop - will be set as per the normal qualifying on Friday but for the first sprint race on Saturday, it will be a Top 10 reverse of the qualifying for a 45 minutes race. The second will see Top 10 reverse of first race.
The points system will see the usual four given to pole-sitter, whereas two will be for the fastest lap holder from the Top 10. The feature race will continue with F1 system of 25 to 1 for Top 10, while the sprint races will also be like now, 15 to 1 for Top 8.
There will be only one extra set of prime tyre provided for the whole weekend with a total of six dry sets, one more than now, where remaining two is the option tyre. On the wet-weather side, the F2 teams will get three sets of the wet tyres.
"I am pleased to reveal the changes to our sporting regulations which have been approved by the World Motor Sport Council," said Michel. "It’s fantastic to be able to move the Feature Race to Sunday which is the day of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. It will enhance the show for the fans and will make it even more special.
"Having two reverse grids on Saturday will spice up the championship even further. We have seen already how entertaining these races are. It should also allow more drivers to showcase their skills in front of the Formula 1 paddock and the rest of the world."
On F3 side, they will have similar changes with one practice and qualifying like now and for the races, they will have two on Saturday and one Sunday. Like F2, the grid for the latter main event of the weekend, will be based on qualifying finishing order.
The first race on Saturday will be Top 12 reverse of qualifying and the second being Top 12 reverse from the first race. Points for these two races will be 15 to 1 for Top 10, but for the final race on Sunday, it will use the F1 style of 25 to 1 for the Top 10.
Moving back to F2, two of the 2021 seats got filled up with reigning F3 champion and Renault junior, Oscar Piastri, confirming his graduation with Prema, with whom he won the title in 2020. The Australian will have his first run post-season test in Bahrain.
He is set to replace Mick Schumacher, who will move to F1 with Haas, as his teammate is most likely to be Robert Shwartzman. "I'm super excited to be racing with Prema in the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship," said Piastri.
"We had a very successful 2020 season, winning the Formula 3 championship together, and I’m hoping for another successful year with them. Prema has proven to be the team to beat once again in F2 this year, so I’m extremely happy to be moving into the championship with them. I’m very grateful to stay a part of the Prema family, and I’m looking forward to plenty more pizza and pasta!"
Team boss Rene Rosin added: "We are delighted to welcome Oscar to our FIA Formula 2 team. Not only he is a talented racer with outstanding speed skills. He has a clear understanding of the complexities of today's motorsports and he is extremely adaptable.
"Having witnessed his progress and success throughout the 2020 season, taking our relationship to the next step for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship felt like the natural thing to do and we look forward to having him on-track right from Bahrain."
Elsewhere, Ralph Boschung confirmed his return to F2 with Campos Racing in 2021. The Swiss racer has had issues with budget and missed whole of 2020 but was working to secure enough finance to potentially fund a full year in 2021.
Technically it should be his fourth season in F2 but he hasn't fully seen-through the previous three times. He is making a return to Campos, though, with whom he made his debut in the series. It is unclear who is replaces from Jack Aitken and Guilherme Samaia.
“I am proud to make my comeback in F2 with Campos Racing," said Boschung. “I have tremendous respect for this team and I am convinced that with this deal we will have a great season in 2021. I would like to thank Adrian Campos for his trust and I would like to especially thank Raphaelle Lota and my long term sponsors Gotham and MedXcell for the precious support."
"Welcome back home," started Adrian Campos. "I feel convinced that Ralph will make a nice work with us. It is a pleasure to have him back at our team. Campos Racing trusts in his talent and chances to shine. Therefore, we will make our best to meet the expectations."
Formula E Valencia pre-season test recap:
The 24-driver field for 2020/21 Formula E season got together at Valencia for a three-day pre-season test, where each day was topped by three different drivers from three different teams. It was Porsche's Andre Lotterer (1m12.519s) who started Day 1 as the fastest.
The second day saw Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn (1m11.941s), while the final day had BMW Andretti's Maximilian Guenther (1m11.760s) on top. Across the three days of running, there were multiple offs for drivers, prompting extra for mechanics.
The first day saw Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans crash at Turn 6 in the morning session along with Dragon Penske Autosport's Sergio Sette Camara, while Nissan e.dams' Sebastien Buemi had an off at Turn 3. At the same time, Venturi's Norman Nato stopped at Turn 7 which ended the day early.
The second day, meanwhile, saw no incidents where the Formula E teams also ran a race simulation. It was a similar situation in the shortened final day as well, with no crashes but across the three days, there were reprimand for certain offences.
Here's the best times of all the Formula E test days:
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]