Four rounds and 12 races into the Formula 2 season and we’re no closer to knowing who will be crowned champion in December at Abu Dhabi, with just 50 points separating the top 10.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve not learned anything. From Oscar Piastri’s consistency to Guanyu Zhou’s rejuvenation and the continued rise of PREMA Racing, here are five takeaways from the first half of the season…


Entering the season, Robert Shwartzman was a hot favourite for the title, with the 2019 Formula 3 Champion starting his second year of F2 as the highest placed returning driver. And while the Russian is currently in third place, it’s his teammate, Oscar Piastri, who leads the standings.

As the last two F3 Champions (Piastri won the title in 2020), the pair were billed as a fascinating match-up at PREMA Racing, and they’ve not disappointed thus far. Shwartzman’s Sprint victories in Baku and Silverstone were dominant and enthralling in equal measure, but Piastri has been the most consistent driver on the grid and that’s why he’s got the edge at the halfway point.

Piastri moved to first in Drivers Championship at Silverstone
Piastri moved to first in Drivers' Championship at Silverstone

With just two pointless finishes, a pole position and five podiums – including one win, Piastri has made light work of the step-up from the third tier to the second, whereas his main rivals have all blown hot and cold at times. Guanyu Zhou struggled at points in both Baku and Silverstone, while Shwarztman started the season slowly. Piastri has constantly found a way to get the maximum out of his machinery.

That was also a feature of his title-winning campaign in F3, with the rookie finishing outside of the points just three times after stepping up as the Formula Renault Eurocup Champion. It’s a low-risk / high-reward strategy that is proven to work.


He may have dropped to second in the Standings at Silverstone after a run of four scoreless races, but Guanyu Zhou looks like an entirely different competitor to the often-frustrated figure of 2020.

After failing to deliver on the promise of his 2019 rookie campaign, Zhou admitted that the 2020 campaign took its toll mentally, with misfortunes and mistakes both playing a part in an underwhelming season.

A first race win in Round 10 at Sochi did ease the pressure and allowed the Alpine junior to take three top-five finishes – including a podium - from the final three races. He carried that form into 2021, with a podium and a win from the opening round. It seemed the shackles were off.

Zhou has the most wins 3 of the field so far this season and is second in the standings
Zhou has the most wins (3) of the field so far this season and is second in the standings

A second win followed in Monaco before a fourth podium in Baku, and the Chinese racer arrived at Silverstone with an air of authority – helped in part by his first official Formula 1 outing in FP1 at the Austrian Grand Prix.

A run of four pointless races spreading between Azerbaijan and Great Britain didn’t dent his confidence and he returned to the summit of the podium in the Feature Race, jumping polesitter, and his primary title rival, Oscar Piastri at the start of the race. Both mentally and physically, Zhou looks stronger than ever.


Less than two years ago, PREMA were fighting between the midfield and the backmarkers, stuttering to ninth in the 2019 Teams’ Championship, with just 68 points. And while there’s still a long way to go, they’re currently on course for their second Teams’ and Drivers’ titles in a row.

It’s been quite the turnaround for the Italians. The biggest area of improvement last year came in the races, with greater long-run pace and more consistent tyre management, both elements that have been carried over into 2021.

PREMA top both the Teams and the Drivers Championships at the halfway point
PREMA top both the Teams' and the Drivers' Championships at the halfway point

Their only real weakness was on a Friday, with neither Mick Schumacher nor Robert Shwartzman putting it on the front row in 2021. The duo was regularly forced to make several charges through the field, and as entertaining and impressive as that was, it wasn’t sustainable long-term.

The in-race improvements have allowed them to work on their one-lap pace and it’s bearing fruit. Four rounds in and Shwartzman and Oscar Piastri have four top-three starts between them, the latter taking pole at Silverstone – the team’s first since Nyck de Vries’ at Sochi in 2018.


A title contender at this stage of the 2020 campaign, Christian Lundgaard was in third place after 12 races, and in front of eventual winner Mick Schumacher. This time around, the Dane is languishing in 12th and has just four points finishes to show for his efforts after a torrid start to the season.

A podium in the Silverstone Sprint Race 1 had the potential to trigger a better run of results, but the ART Grand Prix driver was unable to get going in the second race and had to start from the pitlane. For a driver with so much ability, it seems he just cannot catch a break.

Lundgaard has struggled for form after a promising debut season
Lundgaard has struggled for form after a promising debut season

Another who finds himself in a similar position is Marcus Armstrong. Much was expected of the Ferrari junior when he switched from ART Grand Prix to DAMS, but it’s so far failed to reignite the Kiwi’s career, with just one podium and three points finishes.

Armstrong hasn’t been helped by the team’s lack of pace in Qualifying, with both himself and Roy Nissany struggling to make it to the top 10. He goes forward more often than not in races, but with just one top 10 start this year – P6 at Silverstone – Armstrong and DAMS need to find a way to deliver on a Friday.


A mere 28 points separate the top five, with Oscar Piastri on 108 and Jüri Vips in fifth on 85. To put that into perspective, at this stage of last season Mick Schumacher was in fifth, 42 points off Callum Ilott in first.

That the German went on to win the title was an incredible achievement, but with the fight even closer this year, it could well be repeated.

Théo Pourchaire is only 43 points off the lead in sixth and showed in Formula 3 last season that’s he’s capable of producing the type of run that could catapult him into contention, making up a 50-point deficit to rise from fifth to second in the final six races.

Théo Pourchaire is only 43 points off the lead in sixth
Théo Pourchaire is only 43 points off the lead in sixth

In third and fourth, Robert Shwartzman and Dan Ticktum are on as good a run as any, scoring 112 points between them from the past two rounds. After recovering from a slow start, Shwartzman knows he has the machinery to challenge, as well as the experience of his 2019 title-winning season.

Vips shouldn’t be written off either. The Hitech Grand Prix driver has kickstarted his season in the past two rounds, becoming Formula 2’s first-ever double winner in Baku before adding a further 22 points at Silverstone.