Next week, it's that time again and Formula 2 will start its new season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Once again, we can look forward to an action-packed season with several title contenders. In this preview I will introduce you to all the teams and their drivers, the race calendar, weekend format and points system. After a little insight into pre-season testing, you'll find my championship predictions again at the end of the article.


In Formula 2, eleven teams with two cars each are on the grid again this season. Charouz Racing System has handed over its grid position in both F2 and FIA F3 to the German team PHM Racing. Hitech has a new title sponsor from this season with Pulse-Eight, while Carlin will compete under new ownership. Rodin Cars became majority shareholder of the team and therefore will now be called Rodin Carlin. Last year, MP Motorsport won both the drivers' championship with Felipe Drugovich, as well as the team championship for the first time.


MP Motorsport

Dennis Hauger, Jehan Daruvala


Two new drivers will be competing for the Dutch MP Motorsport team this year, but they already know each other as teammates. Last season, they were still racing together for Prema. Dennis Hauger is entering his second Formula 2 season. The Red Bull Junior & 2021 FIA F3 Champion has won two races in the series so far and has been on the podium four times. Jehan Daruvala is already entering his fourth year in Formula 2. The Indian has won four races so far and has been on the podium 15 times. This season he is also a reserve driver for Mahindra in Formula E.



Rodin Carlin

Enzo Fittipaldi, Zane Maloney


The British Carlin team has also signed two new drivers this year. As in previous years, these are again two Red Bull juniors. Both Fittipaldi and Maloney are new to the program. For Enzo Fittipaldi it will be the second full year in F2. Most recently he was racing with Charouz. Last season, the Brazilian finished on the podium six times and ended the championship in a strong eighth place. His teammate was runner-up in FIA Formula 3 last season, and in his first year in Formula 3, Zane Maloney immediately took three race wins, as well as four podiums. The driver from Barbados also won British Formula 4 in 2019.



ART Grand Prix

Théo Pourchaire, Victor Martins


At ART Grand Prix, two familiar faces are at the start. Théo Pourchaire enters his third Formula 2 season. After last year's runner-up title, the goal for the Frenchman can only be the championship title this year. The Sauber Academy Junior and Alfa Romeo reserve driver has won five races in the series so far and has been on the podium ten times. In 2020, he was runner-up in the FIA F3 and won the ADAC F4 Championship in 2019. His compatriot and teammate for this season is Victor Martins. The Alpine Academy Junior won the FIA F3 Championship with ART Grand Prix last year. In 2020, he already won the Formula Renault Eurocup with the team, as today's Formula Regional EU by Alpine was called back then.


Prema Racing

Frederik Vesti, Oliver Bearman


The Italian team of Prema Racing has two drivers in its lineup who have already celebrated successes with the team. Frederik Vesti won the European Formula Regional Championship with the team in 2019 and finished fourth in FIA F3 with the Italians in 2020. After contesting the last two years with ART Grand Prix, the Dane now rejoins Team Prema for his second F2 season. The Mercedes Junior won the sprint race in Baku last season and was on the podium a further four times. His teammate for this year comes from Formula 3 and is contesting his rookie year in Formula 2. Oliver Bearman won one race last year and was on the podium eight times with Prema in FIA F3. In 2021, the Ferrari Junior was double champion in the German ADAC and Italian Formula 4.


Hitech Pulse-Eight

Jak Crawford, Isack Hadjar


The British Hitech team is entering two Formula 2 rookies this year. The Red Bull Juniors have both already competed in FIA Formula 3 with Hitech GP. Jak Crawford joined the British team in FIA F3 for the 2021 season after finishing runner-up in ADAC F4. With Prema, he won the F3 sprint race at the Red Bull Ring last year and finished seventh in the championship. His teammate Isack Hadjar won two races last year and finished on the podium twice more with Hitech. He finished the championship in fourth place in his rookie season. In 2022, he finished third in the Formula Regional Asia and in 2020 he also finished third in the French F4 Championship.



Ayumu Iwasa, Arthur Leclerc


Ayumu Iwasa is entering his second Formula 2 season with the French DAMS team. Last year, the Red Bull Junior claimed two wins, finished on the podium six times and ended his rookie season in a strong fifth place overall. The Japanese driver won the French championship in 2020 and contested his only year in Formula 3 with Hitech in 2021. His teammate for this year is Arthur Leclerc. The Ferrari Junior is contesting his first season in Formula 2. He finished third in the 2019 ADAC F4 Championship and runner-up in the European Formula Regional the following year. In 2022, the driver from Monaco also secured the drivers' championship title in Formula Regional Asia.


Virtuosi Racing

Jack Doohan, Amaury Cordeel


At Virtuosi Racing, Jack Doohan is entering his second full F2 season. He already won three races with the team last year, was on the podium six times and finished sixth in the championship. The Alpine Junior was runner-up in the FIA Formula 3 in 2021. In addition, the Australian was runner-up twice in the Asian F3 Championship in 2019 and 2019-20. His teammate this year is Amaury Cordeel. The Belgian is also entering his second Formula 2 season. Last year, he scored points four times at the end of the season with Van Amersfoort Racing. In 2018, he won the Spanish F4 Championship.


PHM Racing by Charouz

Roy Nissany, Brad Benavides


The new PHM Racing team is teaming up with Charouz for their first F2 season. Roy Nissany is already contesting his fifth year in Formula 2. The Williams Junior took his only podium so far in the first sprint race in Monaco in 2021. The Israeli finished last season with DAMS in a disappointing 19th place. His teammate for this year is Brad Benavides. The American-Guatemalan-Spanish triple citizen contested last year's FIA F3 Championship with Carlin, where he scored just three points. In preparation for the season, he raced with Hyderabad Blackbirds by MP in Formula Regional Middle East.



Roman Staněk, Clément Novalak


The Italian Trident team will start with two internally known drivers. Roman Staněk was still racing with the team in FIA F3 last year. The Czech won the feature race at Imola, finished on the podium a further three times and ended the championship in fifth place. His teammate is entering his second full Formula 2 year. Clément Novalak was on the podium once last year and finished 14th in the championship with MP Motorsport. The Frenchman won British F3 in 2019 and finished third in the FIA F3 Championship in 2021.


Van Amersfoort Racing

Richard Verschoor, Juan Manuel Correa


The Dutch Van Amersfoort Racing team is entering its second Formula 2 season. Richard Verschoor is contesting his third F2 season. With MP Motorsport and Trident, he has already scored one race win each. Last year, he finished on the podium four times and ended the championship in twelfth place. The Dutchman won the Macau Grand Prix in 2019, finished third in the Toyota Racing Series in 2017 and won both SMP F4 and Spanish Formula 4 in 2016. His teammate Juan Manuel Correa is making his full-time comeback to Formula 2 this year. The dual American-Ecuadorian citizen battled his way back to the final stage on the Road To F1 after his fatal accident with Anthoine Hubert at Spa-Franchorchamps in 2019. In recent years he has mainly competed in FIA F3 where he finished second on the podium in last year's sprint race at Zandvoort.


Campos Racing

Kush Maini, Ralph Boschung


Campos Racing has a F2 newcomer and an F2 veteran on the grid this year. Kush Maini was racing with MP Motorsport in FIA F3 last year. After a third-place finish in British F3 in 2019, the Indian was able to claim the runner-up title in that racing series the following year. His teammate for his first year in Formula 2 is Ralph Boschung. The Swiss is entering his sixth full season. So far, he has finished on the podium four times and his goal for this year will be to finally score his first race win.


This year, Formula 2 will once again compete on 14 different race tracks. Compared to last year, the Albert Park Circuit is new to the calendar. For the first time ever, F2 races will be held in Melbourne, Australia. No longer included is the weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the French Grand Prix will not be held in 2023.


Round 1: Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir (4-5 March)


Round 2: Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah (18-19 March)


Round 3: Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne (1-2 April)


Round 4: Baku City Circuit, Baku (29-30 April)


Round 5: Imola Circuit, Imola (20-21 May)


Round 6: Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo (27-28 May)


Round 7: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona (3-4 June)


Round 8: Red Bull Ring, Spielberg (1-2 July)


Round 9: Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone (8-9 July)


Round 10: Hungaroring, Mogyoród (22-23 July)


Round 11: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot (29-30 July)


Round 12: Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort (26-27 August)


Round 13: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza (2-3 September)


Round 14: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi (25-26 November)


There are two races per weekend, one sprint race on Saturday and the main race on Sunday. The practice and qualifying sessions will take place on Friday as usual.


The points system awards two points for the feature race pole position and one point for the fastest lap in each race. The following points are awarded for the sprint race on Saturday: P1 = 10, P2 = 8, P3 = 6, P4 = 5, P5 = 4, P6 = 3, P7 = 2, P8 = 1. And for the feature race on Sunday, these points are awarded: P1 = 25, P2 = 18, P3 = 15, P4 = 12, P5 = 10, P6 = 8, P7 = 6, P8 = 4, P9 = 2, P10 = 1.


From February 14-16, the official Formula 2 pre-season tests were held together with FIA F3 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. There were two practice sessions on each of the three days planned, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each practice session lasted two and a half hours. Théo Pourchaire was the fastest driver on the first day with a best lap of 1m42.165s. In the morning session of the second day, Prema driver Frederik Vesti was almost two seconds faster than everyone else. This impressive performance was topped in the afternoon by Richard Verschoor with a best time of 1m42.140s, just a razor-thin 0.008s ahead of Victor Martins. In the final morning session on Thursday, Ralph Boschung was the fastest of all the drivers by more than two seconds. In the final afternoon test session, Campos rookie Kush Maini was fastest with a best time of 1m42.623s. The fastest lap over all three days was set by Richard Verschoor with a 1m42.140s in the afternoon session of day two, closely followed by the two ART Grand Prix drivers Martins and Pourchaire.


Day 1 - Morning

P1: Théo Pourchaire - ART GP / 1m45.226s

P2: Jehan Daruvala - MP Motorsport / +0.348s

P3: Ralph Boschung - Campos / +0.426s

P4: Enzo Fittipaldi - Carlin / +0.590s

P5: Arthur Leclerc - DAMS / +0.676s


Day 1 - Afternoon

P1: Théo Pourchaire - ART GP / 1m42.165s

P2: Richard Verschoor - VAR / +0.128s

P3: Arthur Leclerc - DAMS / +0.306s

P4: Ralph Boschung - Campos / +0.404s

P5: Ayumu Iwasa - DAMS / +0.504s


Day 2 - Morning

P1: Frederik Vesti - Prema / 1m44.234s

P2: Ralph Boschung - Campos / +1.947s

P3: Arthur Leclerc - DAMS / +2.282s

P4: Théo Pourchaire - ART GP / +2.399s

P5: Amaury Cordeel - Virtuosi / +2.480s


Day 2 - Afternoon

P1: Richard Verschoor - VAR / 1m42.140s

P2: Victor Martins - ART GP / +0.008s

P3: Dennis Hauger - MP Motorsport / +0.238s

P4: Arthur Leclerc - DAMS / +0.297s

P5: Ralph Boschung - Campos / +0.349s


Day 3 - Morning

P1: Ralph Boschung - Campos / 1m45.027s

P2: Clément Novalak - Trident / +2.004s

P3: Victor Martins - ART GP / +2.027s

P4: Roy Nissany - PHM Racing / +2.196s

P5: Frederik Vesti - Prema / +2.237s


Day 3 - Afternoon

P1: Kush Maini - Campos / 1m42.623s

P2: Roy Nissany - PHM Racing / +0.282s

P3: Théo Pourchaire - ART GP / +0.290s

P4: Enzo Fittipaldi - Carlin / +0.348s

P5: Dennis Hauger - MP Motorsport / +0.397s


As I already did with some racing series last year, I dare to make a little prediction for this year's Formula 2 driver and team championships.


Drivers Championship Prediction


P1: Théo Pourchaire 

P2: Dennis Hauger

P3: Jack Doohan

P4: Ayumu Iwasa

P5: Enzo Fittipaldi


In Formula 2, I see Théo Pourchaire as a big favorite for the title. After the Frenchman was runner-up last year, everyone, including himself, now expects him to win the title. This will certainly not be an easy task for him. I count Dennis Hauger, Jack Doohan, Ayumu Iwasa, Enzo Fittipaldi and Frederik Vesti among his toughest rivals. Each of them was able to set their highlights here and there last year. However, there are also some interesting rookies this year, such as Zane Maloney, Oliver Bearman, Isack Hadjar, Arthur Leclerc, Roman Staněk or Jak Crawford. I don't expect too much from them yet, but almost all of them are good for a surprise. But beware, also one or two more experienced drivers, like Richard Verschoor, Jehan Daruvala or Ralph Boschung, could be in the fight for the title this year. The only thing that can be said for sure is that we can expect an exciting Formula 2 season 2023.


Teams Championship Prediction


P1: ART Grand Prix

P2: MP Motorsport

P3: Rodin Carlin


In the team championship this year, I think ART Grand Prix will be on top. The French have one of the strongest driver lineups with reigning F2 runner-up Théo Pourchaire and reigning F3 champion Victor Martins. Behind them I see MP Motorsport ahead of Rodin Carlin and Virtuosi Racing. In the midfield I think Prema, DAMS, Hitech and Van Amersfoort Racing will be the main contenders this year. At the back of the field I see Campos, Trident and PHM Racing.


The first race of the new season will take place next Saturday at the Bahrain International Circuit. For the first time the cars will run with 55% sustainable fuel. "In a bid to decrease the championships' carbon footprint, an incremental gain in usage is planned until the 2027 season, where usage of 100% sustainable fuel is planned."

written by Claudio Graf  / 16th February 2023