After 13 venues, 26 races and 1,861 points scored so far, it all comes down to this – the 14th and final round of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 season under the floodlights at Yas Marina Circuit.
Although the Drivers’ Championship fight was wrapped up last time out in Monza, there’s still plenty on the line throughout the field. From the Teams’ Championship title, the battle for the Anthoine Hubert Award for the top rookie, a potential Formula 1 seat and an emotional return to the grid for Juan Manuel Correa, the upcoming two races will give our stars of the ‘22 campaign one last chance to shine with an eye to next year...
WHAT TO EXPECT
Sitting pretty on 241 points, Champion Felipe Drugovich will be seeing out his final F2 weekend in style, as the MP Motorsport driver gets his Formula 1 weekend debut. He’ll be behind the wheel for Aston Martin in FP1, alongside Logan Sargeant, Jack Doohan and Liam Lawson.
Meanwhile, Théo Pourchaire currently sits in second with a 29-point advantage over Sargeant. It’s a crucial round for the Carlin driver, who will graduate to F1 with Williams Racing for 2023 should he earn the required Super Licence points. Alongside that, he’ll be locked in a fierce fight for the top rookie honours, with Doohan and Enzo Fittipaldi only nine points adrift and hungry to take home the Anthoine Hubert Award.
The intense battle for the Teams’ Championship is also set to go down to the wire with MP and ART Grand Prix tied for the lead on 281 – the Dutch outfit edge ahead on countback. Not far behind are Carlin, who’ll be aiming to make up a 23-point deficit in third, while PREMA Racing remain within touching distance in fourth.
Juan Manuel Correa will make a poignant return to Formula 2, as he returns to the grid for the first time since the tragic accident at Spa-Francorchamps in 2019. His road to recovery sees him take over the #24 Van Amersfoort Racing car in place of David Beckmann.
Zane Maloney will get his debut run in Formula 2, replacing Calan Williams at Trident. One of the rookie stars of Formula 3 this year, the Bajan driver collected three consecutive Feature Race wins on his way to second in the Standings.
Lastly, Campos Racing's Ralph Boschung carries a three-place grid drop for the next race he participates in after rejoining the track in an unsafe manner and causing a collision during the Monza Feature Race.
FROM THE GRID – Felipe Drugovich, MP Motorsport
“Obviously, it feels nice to be coming into the final round as Champion. I’m very relaxed, I would say there’s no pressure at all and it helps me with the job I have to do in Formula 1 because I can focus more on FP1.
“Previously, Yas Marina was quite cool, but not the nicest to drive. Now with the changes that they made last year, it’s become very, very nice to drive and there’s a lot more grip. It doesn’t look like it but it’s a very technical circuit. Even though it’s a modern circuit, where there are not usually as many tricks as an old-style circuit, it’s very technical.
“There’s overtaking everywhere, every time you brake into a corner you can make a move. I think the best spots to overtake here will be on both straights. Turn 5 can be a good one as well, it’s quite wide on entry and you can send a lunge down there, but obviously, there’s a straight afterwards, so you have to judge that.
“In terms of tyre management, last year it wasn’t that easy to keep the tyres together. Normally it’s quite hot here so we were suffering a bit. We focused a lot on tyre thermo which wasn’t so nice, but surface temperature was key.
“For sure my main aim for this week is to get the title for the team. That’s the main goal. I want to win a race and get the title for the team, that would be a good way to close out the Championship for me."
LAST TIME OUT – MONZA
Having led the Standings since the fourth round in Spain, the penultimate round saw Felipe Drugovich make history for MP Motorsport as he was crowned the 2022 F2 Champion, with an impressive tally of five wins, a further four podiums and three pole positions to his name. Yet the Brazilian’s path to glory around the Temple of Speed was far from straightforward...
Matching Drugovich for the most pole positions this season, Jack Doohan set out to put the pressure on his fellow rookie rivals as he netted P1 for the third time in 2022. On the pace throughout the highly competitive 30-minute session, the Australian managed to pip Liam Lawson to the top spot by 0.126s, clocking in a 1:31.641 around the Autodromo Nationale Monza. Marcus Armstrong matched his performance from Practice to take third, as Drugovich put one hand on the title in fourth, with his nearest rival Théo Pourchaire in P14.
It was a long time coming for Jüri Vips in the Sprint Race. The Hitech Grand Prix driver held his nerve to claim his first victory of the season, going late on the brakes into Parabolica after a Safety Car restart to breeze past Frederik Vesti and never looked back.
Things weren’t so smooth sailing for Drugovich. After being caught up in a crash on the opening lap, the MP driver was forced to sit on the sidelines. He and his Dutch team waited with bated breath on the pit wall, but as the chequered flag was waved, jubilant celebrations rang out as the 22-year-old etched his name into the history books as F2’s sixth Champion.
Determined to give PREMA Racing something to celebrate on home soil after his Sprint Race podium, Jehan Daruvala remained cool, calm and collected, making the most of Monza’s abundance of overtaking opportunities to go from sixth all the way to his first victory of the year. Meanwhile, Vesti went two for two as he brought home second for ART Grand Prix, ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, who was promoted to the podium following Ayumu Iwasa’s disqualification for a technical infringement.
For the final time this year, the yellow-walled medium tyres and the red-walled soft compounds will be available for the teams this weekend.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“We come back to Abu Dhabi for the final round of Formula 2, where we will make the P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Red soft tyres available. These compounds are well-suited to the Yas Marina circuit, after the changes made to the layout last year, which challenge the tyres more and so require a harder choice of compound compared to 2021, when the supersoft was nominated for F2. Unlike Formula 1, the Formula 2 races take place during the heat of the day, making thermal degradation more of a factor. After this final race, we’re looking forward to the end-of-year prize-giving ceremony in December in Monaco, where once again we will be awarding prizes to the best F2 rookie, as well as giving out a scholarship fund to help the top Formula 3 driver compete in Formula 2 next year: an established route to Formula 1.”