Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring has always been a circuit that puts on great racing and 2023 was no different. There was a rookie winner on the Saturday in a wet-to-dry race while Dutch fans went crazy for a Richard Verschoor victory in the Feature Race.

After the action across Round 8 of the Formula 2 season, who is hitting form at halfway and who has work to do before the break?


PREMA Racing left Spielberg with a bigger Championship advantage that it arrived with, yet the Italian team might be disappointed to have not made their obvious speed count for more. Frederik Vesti continued his steady push as Championship leader, outscoring his closest rival Théo Pourchaire to extend his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship. The Dane missed out on Feature Race victory having looked set to win prior to a late Safety Car. Otherwise, it was a solid weekend for Vesti, something he has made a habit of this season.

P19 didn’t stop Oliver Bearman from scoring points in both races across the Spielberg weekend. The Briton overstepped the boundaries in Qualifying, exceeding track limits and making his life much harder than necessary. The changeable conditions in the Sprint played to his advantage to secure 8th but it was sheer speed that resulted in P5 on Sunday. It was a great recovery effort to limit the damage from what was ultimately a disappointing weekend for the PREMA driver. He will be hoping to bounce back quickly on home soil at Silverstone this weekend.


Both cars in the top three in Qualifying was a great result for ART Grand Prix. Victor Martins secured his second Formula 2 pole position with a great lap on Friday, and he followed it up with P2 on Saturday from 10th on the grid. Teammate Théo Pourchaire was third in Qualifying, with title rival Vesti in his sights in second. He had everything to gain with Vesti the one with the points advantage to lose.

From lights out on Sunday though, both ART drivers endured a tough time. Martins immediately fell back to fifth by the second lap. Pourchaire couldn’t keep up with Vesti during the opening stint, allowing the PREMA driver to build up a big enough gap he could react a lap later than the Frenchman, covering him off on strategy comfortably. The late Safety Car left both drivers defenceless against those who were running the alternate strategy as they fell from third and fifth to seventh and ninth for Pourchaire and Martins respectively.


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You would be foolish to forget about Ayumu Iwasa. One of the drivers who lost their fastest laptime on Friday for exceeding track limits, the DAMS driver’s chances looked slim going from 16th on the grid for both the Sprint and Feature races. He could only manage 11th on Saturday but what a turnaround it was on Sunday. A timely pitstop just prior to the Safety Car thrust him back into contention and from there, Iwasa was clinical with his driving. He shadowed race winner Verschoor every step of the way, the highlight perhaps being his all-or-nothing around-the-outside pass on Jack Doohan at Turn 6 to set up the fight for victory against the Van Amersfoort Racing driver. A fastest lap cherry on top meant that Iwasa actually outscored leader in the standings Vesti, and he’s now just four points behind Pourchaire in third.

Arthur Leclerc endured a tough weekend through no fault of his own. An early leader in the Sprint Race, he unfortunately opted for the wrong choice of tyres as the track continued to dry up, and he had to pit from the lead to swap to slicks. On Sunday, his race was over early after his mandatory pitstop, with a loose wheel leaving him out of the running. At the time, he was ahead of PREMA driver Bearman, who went on to finish fifth. It’s not unrealistic to think a top five finish was on the cards for the Monégasque on the basis of teammate Iwasa’s pace on the supersofts tyres.


As the Dutch fans celebrated their compatriot’s victory, Enzo Fittipaldi was left to rue what could have been. The Rodin Carlin driver was ultra-fast throughout the Spielberg weekend, fighting for the top spots immediately in Free Practice and Qualifying. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he was obstructed by Jehan Daruvala following a wide moment for the MP Motorsport driver, and he ended up sixth on the grid when a top three start was on the cards. A spin put him out of the Sprint, but Sunday was his big chance. Playing the alternate strategy perfectly, he led the race just as the Safety Car was deployed. Unfortunately, he was past the pit entry and couldn’t capitalise on the fortuitous timing like Verschoor behind.

As has been the trend throughout 2023, when one Rodin Carlin driver enjoys a competitive weekend, the other struggles to match their teammate. This time, it was Zane Maloney that couldn’t replicate his teammate’s form, and the Bajan driver left Spielberg without adding a point to his total. He is on the cusp of breaking into the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship and had great speed in F3 around Silverstone last season. Let’s see what he can do at the team’s home event.


Jehan Daruvala and Dennis Hauger struggled to get to grips with the Red Bull Ring, but the former was able to get himself inside the top 10 and onto the front row for the Sprint Race. From P2, he was an early spinner in the damp conditions and out on the first lap. Hauger was able to bring home points though from 13th on the grid, rising up the order to P6.

Sunday was another tough race for MP Motorsport. Hauger struggled to make up ground and was mired down the order for the early stages. Daruvala was 13th after the late Safety Car with Hauger 16th, but both made forward progress. It was P10 and 11 in the end respectively on what was a difficult weekend for the team.


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What a drive it was for Richard Verschoor on Sunday. The Dutch driver was in fine form in front of a partisan crowd in orange, and the Van Amersfoort Racing driver did not disappoint. A year after he lost his victory in the 2022 Spielberg Feature, Verschoor was irresistible after a Safety Car swung things in his favour. It set up a thrilling conclusion to the weekend, with the Dutchman displaying some stellar overtaking manoeuvres and defensive nous to capture victory. He has been so consistent on a Sunday all year and that was finally rewarded with a win in 2023. It was also Van Amersfoort Racing’s first since they joined the Formula 2 grid last season.

On the other side of the garage, Juan Manuel Correa was unfortunate to miss out on a podium in the Sprint Race. He started on the right tyres with the field split on wet or dry tyres and kept himself in contention to win throughout a tricky race. P4 represented his best result of the 2023 season so far.


A promising weekend for Kush Maini fell apart in both the Sprint and Feature Races. The Indian driver has been a consistent rookie so far in 2023, but Spielberg was far from the cleanest of rounds by the Campos Racing driver. A penalty for causing a spin for Fittipaldi in the Sprint was followed by a five-second penalty, as he became another to fall foul of the notorious track limits around the Red Bull Ring. Scoreless for the second weekend running, he will be hoping this is a blip and Silverstone goes more smoothly.

For Ralph Boschung, it has been a rough patch of form following such a promising start to the year in Sakhir. The Swiss secured his best finish of the year though since P4 in the Jeddah Sprint Race in the Spielberg Feature, finishing 14th on Sunday. Going into the remaining half of the year, Boschung will hope to emulate prior results.


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Jak Crawford has arguably been the strongest performer in the Sprint Races throughout this season so far. The American finally stood on the top step on a Saturday following his three prior podium finishes in Sprints. It was a measured performance across the weekend and his strongest so far this year. Eighth in the Feature Race on Sunday capped off a great weekend for Crawford, and he’ll hope to replicate that at Silverstone next time out.

Teammate Isack Hadjar didn’t appear on the podium on Saturday, but the Frenchman finished third in the end following a post-race disqualification for Clément Novalak. It was the first time in two years that both Hitech Pulse-Eight cars have scored a podium together, going back to the Jeddah Feature Race of 2021. Hadjar couldn’t quite add to his points tally in Sunday’s race but returns to the scene of his most impressive Sprint Race win in Formula 3, with Silverstone next up.


It was Jack Doohan’s best weekend since Round 2 in Jeddah, but the Australian came so close to a second podium of the year in the Feature Race. Unfortunately for him, he was one of the drivers that was impacted by the Safety Car, losing out to the alternate strategy runners on Sunday. Still, his Spielberg weekend was evidence of a much more typical performance that has been expected of him going into this season. Winner in the 2022 Sprint Race at Silverstone, he’ll be targeting a repeat this year to continue his recovery.

It was race pace that hurt Amaury Cordeel, as the Belgian showed decent one-lap speed around the Red Bull Ring. For Invicta Virtuosi Racing, there are positive signs that the team can continue on an upward trajectory for the remaining rounds in the season as it begins to find form ahead of the summer break.


Yes, there is a huge caveat with saying that the Spielberg weekend was Trident’s finest of the year so far, but the team executed a superb Sprint Race, calling the strategy perfectly while others failed to pick the correct tyres on the grid. Clément Novalak’s P3 on the road was a worthy reward, unfortunately tyre pressures lower than the mandated minimum resulted in a straightforward disqualification, but the Frenchman can take plenty of positives from his race performance.

Likewise, Roman Stanek kept himself out of trouble for his best result of the season so far, ending up classified fifth after his teammate’s disqualification. Neither Novalak nor Stanek could build on their Sprint form, but it was a strong weekend for both drivers and the team’s strategy.


10th and 12th represent the best result for PHM Racing by Charouz so far this season in a single race. Roy Nissany and Brad Benavides couldn’t quite hold onto a points’ finish in a dramatic Sprint Race, but the pair fought well and pulled off some impressive overtakes to P10 and P12 respectively on Saturday.

Sunday’s race was a little more difficult but like Trident, the team called its strategy as well as it could have, capitalising where others faltered to maximise their chances of a strong result. It’s great momentum for the team to carry into the Silverstone race weekend.