The break is over and Formula 2 returns to the track for Round 4 around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola.

Every team and driver remained busy throughout the gap, with in-season testing in April a crucial three-day event for the rest of the campaign and upcoming races.

Here is all you need to know ahead of Round 4 of the 2024 FIA Formula 2 season.

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THE FORM BOOK

Following the most recent race weekend in Melbourne in which Isack Hadjar and Campos Racing ended up as the latest victors in ’24, the Spanish outfit carried that form on in testing.

The Frenchman set the fastest time of all over the course of the three-day test around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the 1:23.139 comfortably quickest overall. Teammate Josep María Martí also ended day two on top, making it two out of three for Campos on home soil.

In the Championship battle, Rodin Motorsport and Zane Maloney remain as the combination to beat heading to Imola. The Bajan tops things on 62 points ahead of Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Paul Aron, currently the highest ranked rookie on 47 and second overall.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Dennis Hauger remains third in the Standings just six points further back while Hadjar was a big mover in Melbourne, with his Feature Race win lifting him onto 34 points and fourth position. Kush Maini finds himself one point back in fifth place for Invicta Racing.

With Rodin leading the Teams’ charge on 78 points, Campos’ recent results have put them closest to the top team on 60. Hitech are third currently just three more points further back from their Spanish rivals.

MP Motorsport aren’t far behind on 54 points in fourth position while Invicta round out the top five currently with 48 points in their column.

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FROM THE GRID – Enzo Fittipaldi, Van Amersfoort Racing

“I really like firstly its history. One of the greatest tracks and as a driver, it’s a fun track to race at, especially on a Qualifying lap. There’s a lot of high-speed corners and different characteristics which makes it really fun for a driver.

“Imola – you need to get Acque Minerali perfect and then the Variante Alta as well because you have to use the perfect amount of kerb at the chicane which makes it tricky to nail and easy to make mistakes while you’re trying to drive it as fast as you can.

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“With the tyres, it’s more about thermal deg. The track is very smooth so it’s more surface related. It’s not as bad as at other tracks but you can feel it quite a lot in the races, there’s a lot of energy going through the rear tyres with the high-speed corners.

“Turn 1 is a good overtaking spot but that’s really it. Maybe Turn 7 as well and up to Turn 9 if you get a good exit, make someone else defend out of the corner and on the run to Turn 9. The key is to have a good Qualifying that should hopefully lead to a lot of points and a good race.”

WHERE TO WATCH THE SESSIONS

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TECHNICAL PREVIEW

With its old-school layout and gravel traps aplenty waiting to catch drivers out, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari puts everyone to the test across a single flying lap and a race stint. The circuit isn’t very abrasive and provides good grip, with sector one relatively high speed ahead of a more technical middle sector, requiring teams to set the car up to contend with different demands versus earlier in the lap. Downhill braking for the penultimate corner is always a challenge and can offer a passing chance, but it’s the run into the first turn that will be the main action point in the races.

RACE STRATEGY

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For the third time this season and as was the case in Jeddah and Melbourne, drivers will have the purple-walled Supersoft and yellow-marked Medium tyres available to them this weekend. On Formula 2’s most recent visit to Imola, it was ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire that won the Feature Race. The Frenchman started on the Supersoft tyres from P7 on the grid and made his mandatory stop on Lap 8 to fit Mediums on his way to victory.

Gareth Hynes, F2/F3 Pirelli Trackside Engineer

“On paper, the quickest strategy for the Feature Race involves starting on the Medium compound, then switching to the Supersofts for a fast run over the last few laps. However, we expect some teams to use the softer tyre when the lights go out to get an initial advantage over their competitors, then hoping for a possible Safety Car to give them a less costly pitstop in terms of time, given that the Imola pitlane is one of the longest of the season. If there is no neutralisation, or it happens too late, the drivers who started on the softer tyre could struggle to manage degradation because the performance of the Supersoft will drop off significantly as the number of laps increases. Particular attention must be paid to car balance, front to rear, to ensure the best possible race pace.”

STAT PACK

  • The 2024 race weekend will be the second time Formula 2 has visited Imola for a race weekend in the Championship

  • No driver has won an F2 Sprint or Feature Race having started from P1 on the grid at Imola

  • Rodin Motorsport, Campos Racing, Hitech Pulse-Eight and MP Motorsport are all tied for the most podiums so far in 2024, with three apiece heading into Round 4

  • Invicta Racing are the only team with multiple pole positions so far this season, with Gabriel Bortoleto on pole in Sakhir and teammate Kush Maini taking the top spot in Jeddah