Callum Ilott may have moved on from Formula 2, becoming Ferrari’s official test driver and Alfa Romeo’s reserve, but he’s still keeping a keen eye on the second tier.
At the halfway point of the season, the 2020 vice-champion joined us to pen a guest column, giving his thoughts on the 2021 campaign so far.
The 22-year-old talked about what it has been like to watch Formula 2 as opposed to compete in it, looked at the drivers who have impressed him the most so far, and explained why he’s excited to watch the second half of the year.
WATCHING ON FROM THE OUTSIDE
It’s been a bit of a strange feeling to watch the Championship from the outside. I love to watch the racing. It’s really enjoyable with a lot of great action, but at the same time it feels strange to not be involved after racing in Formula 2 for the last two years. But that is life, and you move on.
It has been great to watch so far and very entertaining, although it’s been a little hard to keep up because there are now three races. It is a very busy weekend for the drivers, and I am usually at the track as a reserve. I do try and put it on when I can, but I can never watch everything.
THE THREE DRIVERS WHO HAVE IMPRESSED ME SO FAR
For me, the three who have impressed me the most are, firstly, Oscar (Piastri). He has been doing a mega consistent job throughout each of the rounds. He has put himself in a good position and kept it consistent.
Secondly, my lovely ex-teammate Guanyu Zhou. He had an unlucky season last year and could have been a lot higher up, so it is nice to see that he is up there this year and putting in the results.
Thirdly, Théo's result at Monaco was very impressive. To turn up in Monaco for the first time and put it at the front like he did is something that doesn't go unnoticed.
Oscar has been doing a mega consistent job throughout each of the rounds. He has put himself in a good position and kept it consistent
THE DRIVER WHO HAS SURPRISED ME THE MOST
Oscar was very consistent last year but was never the quickest, I would say. He was always up there and kept himself in a good position, but this year it seems that the pace has improved as well.
He has done a mega job, so I have to say that he has impressed me the most. A lot of others have had a lot of good races and good weekends, but I think overall Oscar has been there every single time.
MY HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON SO FAR
It’s always nice to see the first race weekend and get a good idea of where people are at. That is always a nice thing to see, but otherwise, I think that my highlight was seeing the Championship return to the street circuits at Baku and Monaco. Baku was full of action and as a weekend overall was great fun to watch.
THE NEW FORMAT
As a driver, I am not a huge fan, but from an action-packed weekend and spectator’s point of view, it is brilliant because there is always something going on. From a driver’s point of view, I can imagine it is very difficult because you have to adjust and attack the weekend in a lot of different ways.
From a spectator’s side, I am enjoying it quite a lot. From a driver’s side, I can imagine it being frustrating at times, but that's the challenge. You have to adapt and get the most out of the weekends where you can. I think there is room for improvement, and I think that it’s a good way of trying something different, but it has its benefits and negatives.
I think this is where you will see drivers get more comfortable with the car and the position that they are in
WHY I'M EXCITED FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON
There are some good circuits coming up in the second half of the season and this is the time where results matter the most. Some drivers have to make up some points and others have to keep it consistent.
I think this is where you will see drivers get more comfortable with the car and the position that they are in. We will see the Championship order jump about a bit and some people may take a bit more of a risk. I’m interested to see how it all finishes and where everyone ends up.