It’s time to head back to Imola for what will be the fourth round of the 2024 FIA Formula 2 campaign. There has been no shortage of drama already at this very early stage of the season, with five different winners from six races so far.

Rodin Motorsport and Zane Maloney are the only repeat winners thus far, but they are far from runaway leaders going into the European leg of the year. Most recently in fact, it was Campos Racing that stood on the top step, with Isack Hadjar securing Melbourne Feature Race glory after losing the Sprint victory to a post-race penalty the day prior.

Will the Spanish team remain the ones to beat or are we set for another new winner in 2024? Here are a few items to keep close eye on this weekend.

Imola Preview: Back down to business


Campos have a great deal of momentum heading to Imola but will they keep it going?
Campos have a great deal of momentum heading to Imola but will they keep it going?

The good feelings didn’t stay in Melbourne for Campos as the Spanish team went back home for Barcelona in-season testing where they continued to build up their momentum.

On day two, Josep María Martí was the driver to beat, going quickest of all before Hadjar followed that up with the fastest overall time of the test on day three, setting the benchmark going into Imola.

Both drivers were confident that they’d achieved what they set out to during the three-day event, with the outfit’s eponymous Team Principal admitting they’d started 2024 on the front foot.

“I think that the team has been improving a lot in the last in the last few years,” Adrian Campos Jr surmised after testing. “We have a very strong team in every aspect, in every department and we are starting to see this in the results.” Will their impressive form carry over to Europe or will the competitive order take another twist that nobody saw coming?

READ MORE: Campos Jr: ‘Title fight remains open but we have shown we can compete anywhere’


F2s most recent Imola pole sitter Juri Vips couldnt hang on to the top spot at the start
F2's most recent Imola pole sitter Juri Vips couldn't hang on to the top spot at the start

It is rather counterintuitive that around such an old-school venue, the polesitter is yet to take victory in Formula 2 around Imola. That goes for both the Sprint and Feature races, with drivers starting from second and back turning out victorious so far on the Championship since 2021.

Last time out in 2022, Feature Race polesitter Juri Vips was swamped by rivals after a slow launch from the prime grid slot, while in the Sprint Race Marcus Armstrong was able to clear Logan Sargeant at lights out on the run to the first chicane, though the then-Hitech driver wasn’t the victor in the end.

READ MORE: FLASHBACK: Théo Pourchaire wins on F2’s last visit to Imola

That honour belonged to Théo Pourchaire, who had started the Feature Race from seventh on the grid. The Frenchman kept himself well out of trouble and drove a measured race to take victory for ART Grand Prix from the fourth row.

Of course, every driver will be keen to add the two extra bonus points that come with earning pole position, especially at this relatively early stage in the campaign. However, those that do miss out might not be out of the reckoning based on prior experiences around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.


ART say that the work done during testing should help them in the upcoming races
ART say that the work done during testing should help them in the upcoming races

For several teams, 2024 hasn’t unfolded in quite the way they’d have envisaged during pre-season but following on from what many described as the most important three days of testing of the year, is that about to change?

PREMA Racing, ART Grand Prix and DAMS Lucas Oil for instance were ranked first, second and fourth heading into Round 4 of the 2023 campaign, while this season they place eighth, 10th and seventh respectively.

That’s not to say they have been hugely off the pace this year. ART Team Principal Sébastien Philippe admits that while his team aren’t where they want to be currently, there have been signs that they are going in the right direction.

That is especially true after testing, with the three days in Barcelona providing the teams a chance to identify issues and problem areas as well as potential fixes for them.

Coming out of in-season testing, the ART boss is confident that early season teething issues have been sorted, and the tight margins that have separated all of the teams so far this year will be in their favour sooner rather than later.

READ MORE: Sébastien Philippe: ART can fight back after tough start to 2024


Invictas Maini and Bortoleto have endured their fair share of misfortune so far in 2024
Invicta's Maini and Bortoleto have endured their fair share of misfortune so far in 2024

Every team and driver suffers their fair share of misfortune every season, it would not be motorsport otherwise, but it could be argued that Invicta Racing have been hindered more than others so far.

In Sakhir, Kush Maini’s technical infringement lost him pole position, and while teammate Gabriel Bortoleto inherited the accolade, he was out of win contention at the first corner after contact. Onto Jeddah and the Brazilian’s race was over almost as quickly as it started after an issue sidelined him on Lap 1 once again in the Feature Race and it was more of the same in Melbourne.

READ MORE: Maini feeling ‘confident’ heading to Europe after ‘positive’ start to 2024

For the McLaren Racing Driver Development talent, he was involved in the start line scuffle involving the Campos’ that brought a third retirement in six races, while a Safety Car intervention came at an inopportune time for Maini, taking a probable strong result out of his hands through no fault of his own.

The team has been undoubtedly quick so far in 2024, so are we about to see the rewards that they’ve so far been denied around Imola?