One round to go and ART Grand Prix lead both Championships with Théo Pourchaire heading the way in the Drivers’ Standings ahead of the Yas Marina finale.

Teammate Victor Martins has bounced back from a tough start to fight at the very top in Formula 2, and both drivers have combined to lead ART to one of their best seasons in the Championship. But just how have they gone about their business in 2023?


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What a start it was to 2023. Back-to-back pole positions in the opening two rounds of the season by seven-tenths of a second sent a big message to their rivals, though the French outfit could only combine for five podiums in eight races to kick off the campaign.

While that sounds like a solid start, it’s the measure of ART’s expectations for this year that it was a torrid stint compared to what the team should have been capable of. That is evidenced of what was to come later in 2023.

Pourchaire claimed a dominant victory in Sakhir, but he and teammate Martins stuttered in Jeddah, suffering a dismal weekend that had promised so much based on their early Qualifying performances. The former’s crash with Oliver Bearman in the Sprint Race was a silly error that stunted his momentum in the early phase of the campaign.

READ MORE: Sakhir Flashback: Pourchaire hits the ground running

The Sauber Academy driver did rebound to claim P2 in the Melbourne Feature Race and P3 in the Baku Feature to notch up his second and third podium finishes of the year. It was that consistency that kept him close to the top even if rivals Frederik Vesti and Ayumu Iwasa were more recent race winners.

Martins looked quick after his graduation as F3 Champion yet two Sprint podiums were the only point-scoring results for him until Round 5 and Monte Carlo. It meant he languished well down in the Championship, 15th after disqualification from P4 in the Baku Feature Race following a technical infringement.

Their rough patch of form was capped off by arch-rivals PREMA Racing who claimed a clean sweep in Azerbaijan, with Bearman dominant in Baku as he took both wins that weekend. ART were third in the Teams’ Standings on 82, behind DAMS with 92 and PREMA on 103, and there was a lot of work to do heading back to more traditional European venues to make their speed count.


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Between Monte Carlo and the summer break following Budapest, ART recorded just one non-scoring result between both of its drivers. Yet the points standings made for disappointing reading in their camp.

Martins’ early struggles were banished as he became the most consistent driver in the Championship, putting together a run of 14-consecutive points finishes that propelled him to the sharp end of the order. Yet there was still a spate of errors that prevented him from achieving even greater results.

A drive-through penalty in Monte Carlo put him off the podium when P3 was sown up. A spin in Free Practice in Barcelona left him on the back foot going into Qualifying with little track time under his belt. While he recovered with two P3 finishes from the weekend, a win was not out of the question had he started further forward than seventh on the grid.

READ MORE: Jeddah Flashback: Vesti and PREMA Racing return to form

It wasn’t until Silverstone that Martins became a Formula 2 race winner, a long overdue result but an emphatic answer to any doubts over his true level. Pole, fastest lap and a win while overcoming a time penalty showed what he was truly capable of, and he carried that into the second half of the year.

Pourchaire was runner-up to Vesti around Monte Carlo in a result that was mirrored in the Barcelona Sprint, before Bearman’s Feature Race victory in Barcelona stretched PREMA’s advantage in the Teams’ Standings to 36 points.

The lead was growing as ART picked up big points-scoring results as the Italian team notched up victories in return to strengthen their hold on the top spot. That form continued up until Silverstone where PREMA’s advantage over ART at the top of the Championship began to shrink.


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The emphatic win for Martins at Silverstone marked the beginning of the turnaround for ART as the French outfit started to overturn PREMA’s lead. Though Vesti and Bearman had already combined for seven wins versus one apiece for ART’s duo, Silverstone was the first of three consecutive weekends in which the latter outscored PREMA.

Vesti’s retirement and Martins’ win cut the lead to just six points heading to Budapest, where ART brought that down even further to go level heading into the summer break on 247 points apiece.

A double podium around Spa-Francorchamps for Pourchaire brought about a huge swing in momentum as he achieved back-to-back P2 finishes while title rival Vesti crashed out en route to the grid on Sunday. Martins was in the top five twice while Bearman could only salvage P7 for the Italian team having locked out the front row in Belgium during Qualifying.

READ MORE: Melbourne Flashback: Iwasa stakes his claim Down Under

ART and Pourchaire retook the top spots in the respective Championships to go ahead of PREMA and Vesti respectively for the first time since Round 3 in Melbourne.

An off weekend for both teams in Zandvoort was followed by another dramatic twist. Vesti went out on the opening lap following a skirmish with Roman Stanek at Monza to leave Pourchaire cruising to a P3 finish in another huge points swing in his favour.

Martins had also been set to achieve a strong finish until a DRS fault put him on the sidelines. Still, it was a weekend that left ART 26 points clear at the top of the Teams Championship with just one round and two races to go.


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While ART’s pedigree in single seater racing is world renowned, they are yet to claim a Formula 2 Teams’ crown and any F2 title since Nyck de Vries won the 2019 Drivers’ Championship with them.

The job isn’t done yet and there have been enough twists and turns already this season that you cannot dismiss a PREMA-Vesti comeback at the final hurdle. Pourchaire will need to banish his Yas Marina demons, with the current Championship leader only recording two points finishes from a possible five in his previous races in Abu Dhabi. He is also yet to stand on the podium there in any race, but his consistency has laid the foundations to his campaign, and he is on the cusp of capturing the F2 crown.

Martins’ Qualifying form has driven his incredible run of results that have him contending for rookie of the year, fighting Bearman for that honour. They are separated by just one point, 131 to 130 in the Frenchman’s favour. The Monza retirement was his first non-scoring Sunday since Baku. Will he sign off 2023 with one final victory to hand ART their first F2 Teams’ Championship?