Having been there and done that, our Formula 2 Champions know more than a thing or two about how to thrive in the second tier.
As nine rookies prepare for their maiden campaign, who would be better to give them advice than four drivers who’ve tasted the ultimate glory. From turning challenges into positive changes to the all-important tyre management, they shared their secrets to making the most of the year ahead.
FELIPE DRUGOVICH – 2022 CHAMPION (MP MOTORSPORT)
“First of all, just get to know the tyres and learn as much as possible. I think pit stops are a new thing, so you need to get to know a lot more about the strategy. I think being quick might be the easiest thing because F3 is not so far away or less difficult – just try to learn about strategy and focus on the tyre deg, that’s very important.”
OSCAR PIASTRI – 2021 CHAMPION (PREMA RACING)
“My first piece of advice to an F2 rookie would be to learn and absorb as much as you can from the people around you. It’s okay to have a couple of bad races at the start and learn from it, which you can then use to your advantage, instead of fluking a few races to begin with and struggling later in the season.
“My second piece of advice is to be as consistent as possible. F2 is a pretty crazy championship, so making sure you’re scoring points whenever you can and not dropping any is massively important. As obvious as it may be, it’s an important part of progressing.”
MICK SCHUMACHER – 2020 CHAMPION (PREMA RACING)
“There’s no one single piece of advice that I could give that will help determine whether a driver succeeds or struggles in FIA Formula 2. Each person is different and only they know how they work best, and what motivates them to keep learning and improving. That was critical for me in my rookie season where, after a number of challenging races and difficult results, it would have been easy to change my approach.
“Instead, I had to trust the processes that had worked for me in other categories and to put those setbacks behind me. That mental resilience and determination is vital for any young racing driver, and it certainly helped me get on top of the difficulties I was facing early in my rookie year.
“Midway through the season, that work began to pay off and everything began to click. My first victory in F2 at the Hungaroring was a big moment in my development. Heading into 2020, I felt that I had developed my skill set and was ready to fight for the title. If I hadn’t faced those challenges and confronted them the year before, I don’t think I would have been as well equipped to battle for the championship the following year, so I was very grateful for all the lessons I had learned as a rookie.”
GEORGE RUSSELL – 2018 CHAMPION (ART GRAND PRIX)
“Stepping up to race in the FIA Formula 2 Championship is not an easy task. It’s the final proving ground for F1 hopefuls and you are up against the very best young drivers from around the world. There’s also plenty to get your head around as a rookie but my one key piece of advice to any driver getting set for their first season in F2 is to prepare meticulously.
“Heading in to 2018, I knew there were a number of areas that I wanted to keep developing and honing my skills in. These included tyre management and preparation, which I had gained some understanding of racing in the GP3 Series the year before, but also my own physical preparation for the longer feature races and other anomalies such as pit stops. I spent a lot of time in the off-season working with my trainer to build my strength and then plenty of time with ART, the team I was racing with, to absorb as much information as I could.
“Once we headed to the first race in Bahrain, I felt as prepared as I could possibly be. However, I also accepted that I couldn’t know everything straight away and that I would continue to learn things throughout the year. That attitude definitely helped me as the season progressed, being able to bounce back from disappointments and learn from my mistakes, which was critical in helping win the Championship.”