The FIA Formula 2 campaign returns for Round 5 at Silverstone in Great Britain, but what should you be watching out for this weekend?
NEW TYRES WILL PROVIDE ANOTHER CHALLENGE
The new 18-inch tyres were always likely to throw up a few surprises this season, and they certainly haven’t failed to deliver, providing us with some iconic F2 moments already.
The heavy degradation of the medium Pirelli’s around the Hungaroring served us a classic race, with Robert Shwartzman winning from 11th on the alternate strategy. Felipe Drugovich and Guanyu Zhou were amongst those to try the same trick again in Round 4 at Silverstone, but not to quite the same success.
For Round 5, Pirelli have opted to stick with the hard tyre, but have swapped out the mediums for the softs, meaning the grid will be required to make the primes last even longer around Silverstone.
Whichever team gets the strategy right, and whichever driver makes their tyres last longest, is likely to come out on top.
WE COULD SEE ANOTHER HOME WINNER
Callum Ilott may now be the only Briton on the grid not to have won on home soil in F2, although he’ll certainly feel like he could have done so in Round 4. With the championship remaining in Great Britain, the UNI-Virtuosi ace has another shot in Round 5. Currently sitting second in the drivers’ standings, Ilott will want the win more for his title chances than for the gravitas of being a home winner.
Having taken his first F2 victory in Round 4, Dan Ticktum needs to push on if he is to mount a serious assault on the title. The British racer has arguably been the most consistent driver of the season so far, but will have to keep stacking up the wins, or at least the podiums, if he is to find a way ahead of Ilott and Robert Shwartzman.
Don’t forget Jack Aitken either. The Briton suffered another pretty torrid weekend last time out, as his frustrating start to the season continues at Campos. He came away from Round 4 believing that the team are beginning to get on top of their issues, so expect an improvement soon. A home victory could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
THE COMPETITION WILL REMAIN STIFF
16 of the 22 drivers on the current grid have now stood on the podium in their F2 career. From stalwarts such as Artem Markelov and Sean Gelael, to rookies Felipe Drugovich and Marcus Armstrong, they’ve almost all had a turn.
That shows just how competitive this season’s grid is. You never know who is going to get onto the podium. Having narrowly missed out in the Sprint Race in Round 4, Jehan Daruvala looks likely to make it there sooner rather than later. We have also seen six brand-new race winners this season, and a seventh in Round 5 would see that driver become F2’s 25th victor.
Given that the two rounds in Austria handed us four different race winners, it may not actually be worth reading too much into the fact we’re racing at Silverstone once again… But, familiarity with the track and the confidence gained from last time out will still play a part in some form. And, the main difference in the second round at Silverstone will be the fact we are sticking with the hard compounds.
In Spielberg, the drivers switched prime tyres in the two rounds, which made the races entirely different propositions. Yes, the option tyre is changing, as mentioned above, but the consistency of sticking with the tyre they will use for the longer stint will make a difference.