Super Formula is way better than you think
Super Formula and Formula 2 have plenty in common. Both utilize Dallara-supplied spec chassis', uniform aerodynamics, and more than that, Super Formula and Formula 2 cars both have roughly equivalent power output.
However, the all-too-common assumption that Super Formula is merely Japan's variation of Formula 2 is misguided at best. The Japan-based series (which was once called 'Formula Nippon'), is far, far better than that.
For starters, Super Formula's cars are much faster than F2's. At Suzuka last year, Alex Palou's Super Formula pole lap of a 1:35.9 was just 8.9 seconds off of Sebastian Vettel's time of 1:27.0 (making it equal in pace to a 2014 F1 car). Meanwhile, the average pace deficit between a Formula 2 pole lap and an F1 pole lap in 2019 was 13.87 seconds.*
However, the list of impressive things in Super Formula goes far beyond just the capability of the cars. The drivers in this series are also incredibly talented - and more so than in Formula 2. Last year, athletes like Naoki Yamamoto, Artem Markelov, Dan Ticktum, Patricio O'ward, Nick Cassidy, Alex Palou, and Kamui Kobayashi - a driver that was class of the field this year's Daytona 24 hour race - all lined up on the Super Formula grid. Granted, Formula 2's lineup was not without skill, but it was not quite to the same extent.
The competition between these drivers is also better than in Formula 2. In 2019, three drivers were in with a shot at the Super Formula title heading into the final round in Suzuka. Meanwhile, Formula 2's driver's championship was decided at the penultimate round in Sochi. And on the team front, the story is much the same. Super Formula's top two teams finished within two points of each other (despite being powered by separate engine suppliers), while F2's finished 71 points apart, and even though the constructor's fight only ended at the final round, the title was decided at the feature race that weekend, rather than at the sprint race which came a day later.
Credit: Super Formula
The biggest differentiator between F2 and Super Formula, though, is yet another dissimilarity which display's the Japanese championship's superiority: Formula 2 is a halfway house on the road to F1. Super Formula is a final destination.
*This time was calculated by averaging the deficit between F2's pole lap and F1's pole lap at each circuit both series' race on.