Red Bull's Daruvala, Vips & Lawson to race in F2; Edgar, Crawford & Iwasa in F3
The 2021 junior line-up of Red Bull seems complete now.
Red Bull juniors Juri Vips and Liam Lawson will race for Hitech GP in 2021 F2 season, while Jak Crawford and Ayumu Iwasa in F3, whereas Jehan Daruvala sticks with Carlin in the former and Jonny Edgar steps up in the latter.
After spending much of 2020 in multiple championships - including F2 - due to COVID-19 restrictions, Vips has earned a full-time in the series alongside fellow Red Bull junior Lawson at Hitech GP. The British team goes for an all-new line-up in 2021.
Both Vips and Lawson tested for Hitech GP after the 2020 F2 season, as they replace F1-mover Nikita Mazepin and veteran Luca Ghiotto. For the Kiwi, this will be his second championship, after he was announced to take part in DTM alongside Alexander Albopn.
Lawson is graduating to F2 after spending two years in F3, while Vips will look to use his last year's selected rounds experience to push himself in the title picture. The third Red Bull junior to join them on the grid will be Daruvala, who sticks with Carlin for his second year.
"I’m really looking forward to working with Hitech again," said Vips. "We had a good year in F3 back in 2019, but we have some unfinished business together. They had a great season in their first year in F2 and I’m confident we will be able to fight for the title this season."
“I’m excited to be racing in F2 with Hitech this year," said Lawson. "Following two years of Formula 3, I feel prepared to be in this championship and do a good job for the team. I learnt a lot in the F2 test in Bahrain with Hitech and got a good feeling with the car.
"This being said, there’s definitely still a lot more to learn so I am looking forward to the challenge ahead." Meanwhile, unlike Vips and Lawson, Daruvala will be racing for Mumbai Falcons in 2021 F3 Asia in coming weeks, to prepare for his second F2 season.
"I’m extremely excited to be staying in F2 and with Carlin for 2021," said Daruvala. "We made a lot of progress last year and overcame some issues to put together a really strong package. It was great to end the season on such a high with my first F2 win and then to back that up with front running pace in post-season testing.
"We have a lot of momentum behind us and although we know that other drivers and teams will have made steps forward over the winter, we will be aiming for the top step in every race. Consistency will be the key to a successful championship campaign, so we need to be on the pace from the start.
"I’m extremely proud to be carrying Red Bull colours again this season and I thank Dr Marko and my sponsors for their continued support and belief in me which I will be looking to repay from the very first race."
Team boss Trevor Carlin added: "We’re extremely pleased that we have the opportunity to carry on the great progress we have been making with Jehan and have another attack on the FIA F2 Championship. Thank you to Red Bull and Jehan’s sponsors for entrusting us with this important year in his career.
"Jehan did a great job last season as an F2 rookie, he kept his head and kept pushing through to really show his true potential by the second half of the season. To finish the year off with a third place and then a win really confirms what we knew from the start. I expect Jehan to continue where he left off – challenging for wins from the outset in the new season."
Outside the three F2 drivers, the F3 side will see two Red Bull juniors - Crawford and Iwasa - racing for Hitech GP in 2021, whereas Edgar will race for Carlin. The former graduates to F3 after finishing second to eventual champion Edgar in 2020 ADAC F4 season.
Honda-backed Iwasa comes in after winning the 2020 French F4 title, as the trio join the already confirmed Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger at Prema. "I am very happy to spend the 2021 FIA F3 season with Hitech GP," said Crawford. "I am excited to make a step up from F4 to compete in the competitive field of drivers.
"With the success the team has had in previous years, I hope I can achieve the same results and fight at the front of the field." Iwasa, meanwhile, will also race for Hitech GP in F3 Asia. "I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead," he said. "Joining Hitech in both FIA F3 and Asian F3 will be exciting, and I will be able to learn a lot with the success the team have had over the years. I'll do my best to continuously achieve a good result."
"I’m thrilled to be joining Carlin and stepping up to the FIA F3 Championship this season,” said Edgar. "I know there will be a lot of hard work ahead but it’s such a prestigious series and on the F1 support calendar, it’s where every driver aims to be. I’m hugely grateful for the continued support of Dr Helmut Marko and the Red Bull Junior team, who make this possible.
"I experienced the FIA F3 car in the post-season tests at the end of last year and really enjoyed the increase in power and technicality of the car which is a real step up from what I’m used to. Since then, I’ve also enjoyed my time at the Carlin workshop and feel like we’ve already started to work well together. I can’t wait to get back in the car again when pre-season testing starts in February."
From team side, Carlin, added: "Jonny is a really exciting young talent and we’re very proud to have him join us and continue our relationship with the Red Bull Junior Team. The FIA F3 Championship is one of the most competitive in the world and in a series where consistency is key, the pressure on rookies in a 30-car field is immense.
"However, Jonny has shown he has great talent and we have been working incredibly hard over the winter to deliver a competitive package to help him achieve his potential. He’s been a delight to work with in the factory and I look forward to seeing what he can achieve this season."
And Hitech GP's Oliver Oakes added: "We are proud to continue our relationship with Red Bull for a third season. It will see us bring two new exciting talents (Jak and Ayumu) into the FIA F3 grid, who have proven themselves with strong results in Formula 4.
“Alongside seeing Liam step up to F2 with us after a strong performance in the Bahrain F2 Test and Juri coming back home to Hitech who we know well from 2019 in FIA F3. It’s an exciting pool of drivers and we look forward to fighting for victories on track across F2, F3 and the Asian F3 Championship."
Jack Doohan is the only other Red Bull driver whose team in F3 is yet to be confirmed, whereas Igor Fraga has been dropped. A new name joining them is Swedish-British karter Arvid Lindbald, who had a solid 2020 season, having won the WSK Super Master Series in OK Junior. It is worth to note that Doohan, Hauger and Lindbald fall under 'Red Bull supported category', whose definition is not clear.
Elsewhere, Prema became the first F3 team to complete its 2021 line-up after confirming Olli Caldwell alongside the already named Hauger and Arthur Leclerc. The British racer will start his second season after completing his rookie year with Trident.
2021 F2 line-up so far:
Prema: Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri
Hitech GP: Juri Vips, Liam Lawson
UNI-Virtuosi Racing: Felipe Drugovich
Carlin: Jehan Daruvala
MP Motorsport: Lirim Zendeli
Campos Racing: Ralph Boschung
2021 F3 line-up so far:
Prema: Arthur Leclerc, Dennis Hauger, Olli Caldwell
Hitech GP: Jak Crawford, Ayumu Iwasa
HWA Racelab: Matteo Nannini
Carlin: Jonny Edgar
Jenzer: Calan Williams
Here's a new rating system of the performances of F2 and F3 drivers.
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]