2023 REVIEW - fia formula 2

At the last weekend of November, Formula 2 contested its final races of the year at the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi. Until the last race, the drivers' championship had not been decided and the battle for the title was exciting right to the end. In this review, we take a look back at the entire season. Weekend by weekend. I also mention the drivers who particularly stood out for me.




The pole position for the first feature race of the season was secured by ART Grand Prix driver Théo Pourchaire in qualifying at the Bahrain International Circuit. Ralph Boschung from Campos Racing started at the front in the reverse-grid sprint race, qualifying in tenth position. Boschung maintained the lead throughout the race, crossing the finish line ahead of second-placed Dennis Hauger, who had started sixth. This victory marked Boschung's first since entering the category in 2017.


Collisions on the opening lap of the feature race led to the deployment of the safety car and resulted in the elimination of Frederik Vesti, Victor Martins, and Roman Staněk from the race. Boschung capitalized on the retirements, advancing from tenth at the start to second place by lap four, a position he held for the remainder of the race. Zane Maloney, starting eighteenth, executed several overtakes in the closing laps to secure third place on the podium. Pole-sitter Pourchaire won the race, claiming his sixth victory in Formula 2 and taking the lead in the Drivers' Championship, four points ahead of Boschung.




Victor Martins from ART Grand Prix secured the top qualifying spot on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, while Jak Crawford of Hitech Pulse-Eight began the Sprint Race from pole position. However, Crawford relinquished the lead in the second lap to DAMS driver Ayumu Iwasa, ultimately finishing the race outside the points. The deployment of the Safety Car occurred twice: first when Zane Maloney spun and remained on the track, and secondly when championship leader Pourchaire collided with Oliver Bearman in an unsuccessful overtaking attempt. Iwasa clinched the victory, marking his third in Formula 2, successfully holding off challengers Martins, who started in tenth place, and Jehan Daruvala.


In the main race, pole-sitter Martins conceded the lead to Bearman right from the start. Frederik Vesti, starting in sixth position, gained two places at the beginning and secured the third spot during pit stops, overtaking Jack Doohan. The battle for the lead between Bearman and Martins persisted, with Martins reclaiming the top spot in the eleventh lap. The intense competition enabled Vesti to take the second position from Bearman, who later spun and finished in tenth place. Martins also spun and was unable to restart his car, allowing Vesti to secure his second Formula 2 victory. Round 2 concluded with Ralph Boschung leading the driver standings, one point ahead of Pourchaire.




Ayumu Iwasa clocked the fastest time in a qualifying session affected by rain at the Albert Park Circuit. Dennis Hauger secured pole position for the sprint race, which Enzo Fittipaldi and championship leader Boschung had to sit out due to accidents on their way to the grid. Despite challenges from second-placed Jak Crawford, Hauger maintained the lead at the start. The safety car was deployed with eight laps remaining to clear Jack Doohan's stalled car after a spin. Rain started falling, prompting some, including both ART Grand Prix drivers, to switch to wet-weather tires. The safety car period was prolonged when Brad Benavides crashed, leaving only two racing laps at the end and limiting the wet tire runners' chances to recover positions. Hauger secured victory, marking his third in the series.


In the feature race, pole-sitter Iwasa, along with Théo Pourchaire and Victor Martins, retained their positions in the top three at the start. Jack Doohan and Jak Crawford collided while battling for tenth place, with Crawford stranded in the gravel, prompting the deployment of the safety car on lap seven. Drivers on the soft-compound tire used this opportunity to make pit stops. Isack Hadjar and Oliver Bearman collided in the pit lane, and despite both exiting the pits ahead of Martins, Bearman suffered a puncture, necessitating another pit stop, and Hadjar later lost positions after contact with Pourchaire. The safety car was deployed for a second time with seven laps remaining when Roy Nissany crashed. Enzo Fittipaldi then crashed on the same section of the track, narrowly avoiding Nissany's stationary car. Martins collided with Dennis Hauger just before racing resumed, sending both to the back of the field and allowing Arthur Leclerc to secure the podium behind Iwasa and Pourchaire. With his second race win of the year, Iwasa took an eight-point lead over Pourchaire in the Drivers' Championship.




Oliver Bearman secured pole position for the feature race during qualifying at the Baku City Circuit. Richard Verschoor earned the reverse-grid pole for the sprint race. Unfortunately, Verschoor and Zane Maloney collided at the exit of the first turn, resulting in front wing damage for Verschoor and a puncture for Maloney, leading to both drivers retiring. This turn of events elevated Dennis Hauger, who had advanced from sixth on the grid, to the lead. The race saw two safety car periods due to separate incidents involving Ralph Boschung and Roy Nissany. When racing resumed with three laps remaining, six drivers failed to navigate the first corner, either hitting the wall or running wide and stopping. This included leader Hauger and second-placed Victor Martins. Frederik Vesti inherited the lead but was overtaken by teammate Bearman seconds before the safety car was deployed, concluding the race. Bearman's victory, achieved from ninth on the grid, marked not only his first win but also his inaugural podium finish in Formula 2.


In the early stages of the feature race, pole-sitter Bearman engaged in a lead battle with Théo Pourchaire, who had started third and surpassed Enzo Fittipaldi for second. Bearman reclaimed the lead and maintained it through the pit stops, securing both race victories for the round. Fittipaldi re-passed Pourchaire in the closing laps, and the two drivers completed the podium. Championship leader Ayumu Iwasa failed to score points in Azerbaijan, causing him to slip to third place in the standings. With his podium finish, Pourchaire regained the championship lead, holding a three-point advantage over Vesti, who finished fourth in the feature race.




Frederik Vesti secured the fastest time in qualifying at the Circuit de Monaco, earning him pole position for the feature race. Isack Hadjar started the sprint race from the first position and successfully maintained his lead at the race's outset. However, Kush Maini was spun around by Clément Novalak on the first lap, leading to a halt in the race as drivers behind had to stop on the track. This incident led to the retirements of Ralph Boschung and Roy Nissany and triggered the deployment of the first safety car. When racing resumed, leader Hadjar experienced a slowdown and eventually retired due to engine problems, paving the way for Ayumu Iwasa to take the lead. Despite challenges from Jehan Daruvala and a second safety car period caused by Amaury Cordeel's crash, Iwasa maintained the lead and secured his third win in 2023.


In the feature race, Vesti, Martins, and Pourchaire maintained their positions in the top three at the start. Jack Doohan, in fourth place, crashed on lap 24, leading to the deployment of the safety car and subsequently the red flags to replace a damaged section of the barrier. The race resumed with a rolling start. Taking advantage of the red flag, Dennis Hauger and Roman Staněk executed their mandatory tire change, propelling them from positions towards the back of the grid into the top ten. Shortly after the restart, Martins, in the second position, received a drive-through penalty for not sufficiently slowing down for yellow flags, promoting Zane Maloney to third place behind Pourchaire. Vesti claimed his second win of the season, taking the lead in the Drivers' Championship, with a five-point advantage over Pourchaire.




Oliver Bearman secured his second pole position for the feature race during qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Amaury Cordeel kicked off the reverse-grid sprint race from the pole position, commencing with a rolling start due to wet conditions. On the opening lap, Frederik Vesti and Jak Crawford collided while battling for second place, leading to Crawford's retirement. Vesti quickly surpassed Cordeel, who eventually fell outside the points positions. As the track gradually dried, most drivers opted to switch to slick tires when the safety car was deployed to recover Juan Manuel Correa's stranded car. Vesti crossed the finish line first, securing his third win of the year, followed by championship rival Théo Pourchaire, who had started ninth.


In the feature race, pole-sitter Bearman successfully fended off challenges for the lead from Enzo Fittipaldi, Ayumu Iwasa, and Pourchaire on the opening lap. Some drivers, including Victor Martins and championship leader Vesti, starting seventh and eighth respectively, chose to start on the harder compound of tires and run a longer stint. In the closing laps, their fresher and softer tires, combined with the traffic encountered by their rivals, allowed them to gain positions, with Martins finishing on the podium. Bearman and Fittipaldi, after quick pit stops, overtook multiple drivers and maintained their positions, with Bearman securing his third victory of the year. Vesti finished fifth, extending his championship lead over Pourchaire to 11 points.




Victor Martins achieved his second pole position of the season for the feature race at the Red Bull Ring. Jak Crawford started the sprint race from pole in damp conditions; some drivers opted for wet-weather tires, while others, including Crawford, chose slicks. Cars on wet tires had the advantage on the opening lap, causing Crawford to drop to sixth place, allowing Arthur Leclerc to take the lead. Two safety car periods occurred in the early laps to recover the cars of Jehan Daruvala and Richard Verschoor. During this time, the track quickly dried, prompting the wet tire runners to pit for slicks. This enabled Crawford to reclaim the lead, and original slick runners Clément Novalak and Isack Hadjar, starting 20th and 21st respectively, finished third and fourth. Crawford maintained the lead, securing his first Formula 2 victory. Novalak was later disqualified for a technical infringement, and Hadjar inherited the podium position.


Feature race pole-sitter Martins had a challenging start, falling behind Frederik Vesti and Théo Pourchaire. Vesti maintained the net race lead after the drivers starting on softer tires made their pit stops, followed by Jack Doohan, who gained positions. With 12 laps remaining, the safety car was deployed to recover Leclerc's stranded car, whose wheel had detached. This allowed drivers on harder tires to gain an advantage by making their pit stops. Among them, Verschoor and Ayumu Iwasa, who utilized their fresh tires to pass Vesti and Doohan, securing the top two positions after starting 11th and 16th, respectively. Verschoor's victory marked the first for Van Amersfoort Racing in Formula 2. Vesti's podium finish increased his championship lead to 20 points over Pourchaire.




Victor Martins was the fastest driver in qualifying at Silverstone Circuit, marking his third pole position of the year. The sprint race commenced with championship leader Vesti leading a rolling start in wet conditions. Racing was interrupted when Brad Benavides and Clément Novalak collided, sending Benavides into the barriers. Oliver Bearman, starting fifth, swiftly made overtakes and advanced to second, but a spin dropped him outside the podium positions. Isack Hadjar then spent much of the race in second place but fell back in the closing laps. Vesti led the entire race distance, securing his fourth win of the season.


In the feature race, Martins and Ayumu Iwasa exchanged the lead at the start. Martins reclaimed the position later in the lap and quickly built a gap to second place. A safety car deployment on lap seven, to recover the stalled car of Amaury Cordeel, prompted the soft tire runners to make their pit stops. Racing was paused again almost immediately after the restart when a collision involving Dennis Hauger, Roman Staněk, and Frederik Vesti eliminated the latter two. Shortly after racing resumed, Martins received a five-second time penalty as his lap one pass on Iwasa was deemed to have been executed off-track. Later in the race, a crash between teammates Kush Maini and Ralph Boschung led to the safety car being deployed for a third time, and the hard tire runners responded by making their pit stops. Arthur Leclerc utilized his new soft tires to advance to third place but was unable to overtake Zane Maloney, and his tire advantage soon faded. Martins extended his lead to seven seconds over Maloney, maintaining his position despite the penalty and securing his first Formula 2 race win. Théo Pourchaire's podium finish and Vesti's retirement resulted in Vesti's championship lead being reduced to six points at the conclusion of the round.




Jack Doohan secured pole position for the feature race at the Hungaroring, marking his first of the season and fourth in Formula 2. Kush Maini started from the front in the sprint race but lost the lead to Dennis Hauger at the first turn and was subsequently overtaken by Ayumu Iwasa shortly afterward. Hauger led the rest of the race, clinching his second victory in 2023. Maini held the third position for a significant portion of the race but eventually lost the podium spot to Théo Pourchaire, who, in turn, was soon overtaken by Oliver Bearman.


Doohan led the entire feature race, securing the fastest lap for his first victory of the year. He was pursued by championship leader Vesti, who overtook Victor Martins for second place on the opening lap. Vesti's podium finish extended his lead in the standings to 11 points over Pourchaire, who had initially challenged Martins for a podium position in the feature race but ultimately dropped to sixth place.




Prema Racing took a 1-2 in qualifying at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with Oliver Bearman achieving his third pole of the year followed by Vesti in second. Jehan Daruvala started in first place for the sprint race but was forced to retire in the early laps when his headrest loosened and fell out of the car, leading to Richard Verschoor taking the lead. In the closing laps, Enzo Fittipaldi caught up to Verschoor and overtook him, securing his first victory in the championship. However, Verschoor was later disqualified from the results for using a non-approved throttle map.


Polesitter Bearman maintained his lead at the beginning of the feature race. First-lap contact between Ayumu Iwasa and Dennis Hauger ended both drivers' races and brought out the safety car; Iwasa retired with damage, and Hauger was black-flagged for receiving a push start from the marshals. During the race, leaders Bearman and Pourchaire pitted together with ten laps remaining. ART Grand Prix executed the quicker pit stop, and Pourchaire rejoined the track ahead of Bearman. Shortly after, the safety car was deployed to recover Jak Crawford's stalled car after contact with Juan Manuel Correa. Jack Doohan, who had started 11th on the harder tire compound and led the race after others had pitted, made his own pit stop for softer tires and emerged closely behind Pourchaire in second place. Doohan overtook Pourchaire with two laps remaining, securing his second victory of the season. Fittipaldi inherited the final podium place after Bearman and Victor Martins both received time penalties. Pourchaire's podium finish propelled him to the top of the Drivers' Championship, 12 points ahead of Vesti, who had qualified second but failed to start the feature race after crashing on his way to the grid.




Jak Crawford claimed pole position at Circuit Zandvoort in a qualifying session that saw interruptions due to red flags. Pourchaire, initially set to start the sprint race from the first position, encountered mechanical issues before the start, forcing him to begin from the pit lane. In wet conditions, Isack Hadjar led a rolling start instead. The first lap witnessed a collision involving Crawford, Kush Maini, and Ralph Boschung, prompting the deployment of red flags. Although the race resumed behind the safety car, the deteriorating weather conditions deemed the track unsafe, leading to a red flag, and the race was not restarted. As fewer than two laps of racing occurred, no points were awarded.


Crawford led a rolling start for the feature race on a damp track. Front-runners Vesti, Doohan, and Bearman experienced spins on the opening lap, with Martins navigating the gravel to avoid collisions. Doohan's spin resulted in his retirement before crossing the start line. As racing resumed, Ayumu Iwasa collided with Kush Maini, causing him to drop down the field. This left Pourchaire, positioned sixth, as the sole title contender near the front. He made his pit stop a lap later than most drivers ahead, emerging ahead of all, including Crawford. Unfortunately, Pourchaire crashed out shortly afterward. Clément Novalak, starting 13th and leading the race without making a pit stop, entered the pit lane just before the safety car deployment, retaining his lead upon exit. Vesti, having recovered to the points positions, retired under safety car conditions when both his rear wheels detached due to improper fitting during his pit stop. At the restart, Martins and Bearman, also having recovered to the top ten, collided, ending Bearman's race and earning Martins a penalty. Zane Maloney then passed Crawford for second place but was unable to catch Novalak, who secured his first Formula 2 victory. The top four drivers in the standings failed to score points at Zandvoort, maintaining Pourchaire's lead at 12 points over Vesti.




Championship leader Pourchaire secured pole position for the feature race at Monza Circuit, while Ralph Boschung started first in the sprint race. A first-corner mistake from Boschung allowed third-placed starter Vesti to take the lead. Shortly afterward, the safety car was deployed to recover Amaury Cordeel's car after he spun and stalled on the track. Victor Martins, starting sixth, executed overtakes and claimed second place from Richard Verschoor before the second safety car was deployed to clear Roy Nissany's stalled car. Martins aggressively pursued Vesti at the restart, setting a series of fastest laps, but Vesti successfully defended his position, securing his fifth win of the season, with Verschoor claiming third place. Championship leader Théo Pourchaire finished fourth, maintaining a nine-point gap between him and Vesti.


In the opening lap of the feature race, Oliver Bearman took the lead from pole-sitter Pourchaire, while Vesti was involved in a crash after being forced off-track by Roman Staněk. Arthur Leclerc spun and stalled on lap seven, leading to another safety car period. During this period, drivers on the softer tire compound (all but four) made pit stops. At the restart, contact from Nissany on the pit straight led to a high-speed crash for Zane Maloney, resulting in a third safety car deployment. A collision between Kush Maini and Jak Crawford brought out a fourth safety car with seven laps remaining, allowing drivers who hadn't made pit stops to do so without disadvantage. Ayumu Iwasa, one of these drivers, emerged in third place and overtook Pourchaire for second before the race concluded under a fifth safety car when Crawford stopped close to the track. Pourchaire's podium finish and Vesti's retirement meant Pourchaire concluded the penultimate round with a 25-point lead in the championship.




Jack Doohan took the final pole position of the season at Yas Marina Circuit. This result meant that Ayumu Iwasa was eliminated from championship contention, while the remaining contenders, Vesti and Pourchaire, qualified ninth and 14th, respectively. Enzo Fittipaldi began the sprint race from the first position and engaged in a battle for the lead with Vesti, Richard Verschoor, and Isack Hadjar on the opening lap. Fittipaldi reclaimed the lead, and Vesti dropped to fourth place. However, Vesti later overtook both Verschoor and Hadjar, ultimately passing Fittipaldi with three laps remaining to secure his sixth victory of the year. Pourchaire made significant progress during the race, gaining seven places and scoring points. Despite Pourchaire's efforts, Vesti's victory narrowed the gap to 16 points between the two contenders heading into the final race.


Doohan led the main race from pole position, while Vesti and Pourchaire made up places before the first pit stops. The two drivers used different tire strategies; Pourchaire pitted first and Vesti did so later in the race. Vesti came out of the pits in seventh place, behind Pourchaire, and the two swapped positions several times over the following laps. Vesti, with the fresher tires, was ultimately able to maintain the lead and finished the race in third despite a collision with Zane Maloney on the final lap. Doohan won his third race of the season and climbed to third place in the drivers' championship ahead of Iwasa.


Pourchaire finished the race in fifth, which was enough to win the championship by 11 points ahead of Vesti. He became the first ART Grand Prix rider to win the championship since Nyck de Vries in 2019. The result of the main race also allowed ART Grand Prix to secure their first team championship title in Formula 2, and their first in the second division since winning the GP2 series in 2015.


Théo Pourchaire


He went into the season as the big favorite for the title and was able to live up to the expectations and pressure. Théo Pourchaire won the Formula 2 championship title with just one race win. The Sauber Junior stood out above all for his consistency. Ten podium places and 19 points finishes speak for themselves. After two FP1 outings with Alfa Romeo Sauber in F1, the Frenchman will become a reserve driver for Sauber next year and will most likely compete in the Japanese Super Formula with Team Impul.


Frederik Vesti


The Dane was probably the best driver of the year, but his four retirements meant that he lost too many points to Pourchaire. With six race wins, he was the most successful F2 driver of the season. The Mercedes Junior has not yet announced any concrete plans for the coming season. He still has some hopes of taking the Williams seat in Formula 1. A return to Formula 2 for a third year seems rather unlikely for him at the moment.


Oliver Bearman


Ollie Bearman was definitely the best Formula 2 rookie of the year for me. The Ferrari Driver Academy member has been one of the fastest drivers right from the start of the season. He set the fastest race lap in the very first race. In Baku, he won both the sprint and feature race. He also took two more victories in the feature races in Barcelona and Monza in his first year. Having already completed F1 testing for Ferrari and FP1 outings for Haas, he will also complete post-season F1 testing in Abu Dhabi with Haas. If he returns to the F2 grid next year, which I assume he will, he is definitely the big favorite to win the drivers' championship.


Victor Martins


The 2022 F3 champion impressed in his first Formula 2 season with ART Grand Prix. Victor Martins finished third on the podium in the very first sprint race in Bahrain. However, he also repeatedly attracted attention with risky overtaking maneuvers or driving errors of his own. He then became more consistent over the course of the season. In addition to a total of eight podium finishes, the Alpine Junior also won the feature race at Silverstone. With three pole positions, he is also the most successful driver in qualifying this year, together with Bearman. He also completed his first F1 test drives for Alpine this year. Not only for me I think, the Frenchman will be a title contender in the coming season.


Ayumu Iwasa


Ayumu Iwasa also impressed in his second Formula 2 year. With three victories and three further podium finishes, he finished the championship in a strong fourth place. The Red Bull Junior will also no longer be competing in Formula 2 next year. The Japanese driver will be returning to his home country in Super Formula. At Team Mugen, he will replace Liam Lawson, who finished the 2023 season as runner-up. It will be interesting to see how the young Iwasa performs alongside Tomoki Nojiri. I'm confident that he can achieve a similar performance to Lawson.


Jack Doohan


As in the previous year, 2023 was an up and down year for the Australian. After a weak start to the season, he was able to recover around the middle of the year and consistently finished in the points. In the second half of the season, he then took three feature race wins in Hungary, Spa-Francorchamps and Abu Dhabi. This put him in third place in the championship at the end of the year. After three years in Formula 2, the Alpine Junior will probably be racing in the Hypercar class of the WEC in addition to F1 testing next year.


P1: Théo Pourchaire / 203

P2: Frederik Vesti / 192

P3: Jack Doohan / 168

P4: Ayumu Iwasa / 165

P5: Victor Martins / 150

P6: Oliver Bearman / 130

P7: Enzo Fittipaldi / 124

P8: Dennis Hauger / 113

P9: Richard Verschoor / 108

P10: Zane Maloney / 96

P11: Kush Maini / 62

P12: Jehan Daruvala / 59

P13: Jak Crawford / 57

P14: Isack Hadjar / 55

P15: Arthur Leclerc / 49

P16: Ralph Boschung / 37

P17: Clément Novalak / 28

P18: Roman Staněk / 15

P19: Juan Manuel Correa / 13

P20: Amaury Cordeel / 8

P21: Roy Nissany / 0

P22: Brad Benavides / 0

P23: Josh Mason / 0

P24: Paul Aron / 0

P25: Franco Colapinto / 0


P1: ART Grand Prix / 353

P2: Prema Racing / 322

P3: Rodin Carlin / 220

P4: DAMS / 214

P5: Invicta Virtuosi Racing / 176

P6: MP Motorsport / 172

P7: Van Amersfoort Racing / 121

P8: Hitech Pulse-Eight / 112

P9: Campos Racing / 99

P10: Trident / 43

P11: PHM Racing / 0

written by Claudio Graf  / 29th November, 2023