It seems not that long ago that Felipe Drugovich and MP Motorsport were crowned Champions of 2022 in FIA Formula 2 but there was plenty more to be proud of too according to CEO, Bruno Michel.
With testing ahead of the 2023 season rapidly approaching, Michel also details the many reasons to be excited for this year’s Championship and how it remains a pivotal milestone for drivers past, present and future.
MP MOTORSPORT CHAMPIONS AT LAST
“MP’s first title was quite amazing. They’ve been here for quite a while and they've improved over time, but to reach that level in F2 is quite amazing, and they've achieved a fantastic season in terms of quality of the car, reliability-wise and strategically as well of course. They've done a very, very good job and it was interesting because the title was open until the last weekend between MP, Carlin and ART. MP finally got it and I think it's such a great achievement for them.”
“Of course, Felipe was quite amazing too, not only in terms of consistency - because consistency is completely key to winning a Championship - but also, he’s been a brilliant driver, and he's done some absolutely fantastic racing in F2. He's the only one who achieved two wins across a single race weekend last season in Barcelona, and it's a quite incredible achievement I must say. It's very difficult and what I remember is the Feature Race where he started P10 and went on to win the race with a fantastic strategy. He was really something in 2022 and his Championship was fully deserved.”
ROOKIE REPORT: A+
“The level of the rookies has been very impressive. Firstly, I’m very happy to see Logan Sargeant reaching Formula 1 and driving for Williams this year. Number two, very happy to see Jack Doohan and Ayumu Iwasa continuing in F2 because they’re both going to be real contenders for the Title in ‘23.”
2023 is set to be another thrilling campaign with plenty of rookies arriving on the grid with a point to prove alongside the experienced heads gunning to impress the second time around. On and off the track, Michel says that the Championship has been going from strength to strength in recent years especially, having a bigger impact on single-seater racing near the very top of the ladder.
F2 STARS IN F1
“Not only is Logan going to be a driver in F1 this year and Felipe is going to be Reserve Driver at Aston Martin, which is great - I would have loved to have seen Felipe driving but the seats are what they are - what is also amazing is that we have also the 2021 winner and the 2019 winner in Formula 1 next year. That's a great accomplishment. For Nyck de Vries, it took a little bit of time but at the end of the day it worked and he’s going to be in Formula 1, and I think it's fantastic and it's fully deserved.
“For Oscar Piastri, we're so happy to see him there at McLaren and that means that F2 is really working because this is our goal. We never know how many of the 20 F1 seats will be available, there's always some renewals from this year to next year, but it's fantastic to see Oscar getting his chance. I know that all these guys, not only are they ready for Formula 1, but they are going to deliver very, very strong results. That's the other thing as well, when a driver from F2 reaches Formula 1, they don't really need the time to adapt, they're immediately competitive and I think it's the most important thing.”
PROGRESSION UP THE PYRAMID
“For F2 this season, it’s so amazing that so many drivers on the grid are coming directly from F3. That's absolutely fantastic and that also proves that the pyramid works. It's very important that drivers who are performing well in F3 can reach F2. There are 30 seats in F3 and only 22 seats in F2 so it's a pyramid, but there's been a consistent pathway between F2 from F3 and it's going to be extremely interesting this year to see second-year drivers or even third-year drivers fighting against the rookies. It's going to be fascinating to see that and it proves the pyramid is working well.”
F2 DOWN UNDER
“This year is the first time we're going to do Melbourne, we're adding another continent to our calendar. I think it's always great to add the iconic Formula 1 destinations to our calendar, Melbourne is one that definitely has been for a long, long time. It's far away and it's a big logistical task but I think it's fantastic for both F2 and F3 and it proves how strong these Championships are and that there is a strong demand from the promoters to want to get us as part of their F1 programme. Everybody is realising that F2 and F3 are creating a fantastic show with the format of the weekend, one practice into Qualifying and then the Sprint and Feature Races across Saturday and Sunday. So, a lot of other promoters would like to have us as well, but we cannot have a 23 or 24-round calendar because the costs would be completely crazy. We have to pick very carefully the ones we can do and with Melbourne, it's really a great achievement to go.”
ON THE CUTTING EDGE
“Partnering with Aramco has been a great move. We are going to go with sustainable fuels and 2023 is the first step of the partnership we have with them. We've been working very heavily in the development of this and the adaptation of the fuel. Mecachrome and Aramco have been working together and it looks good. We’ve had to do a lot of work quite early because we're sending the fuel to Australia and Jeddah, so that was something that was not so easy to organise, but it looks very promising. It's just the first step of our three-step programme with Aramco which is quite revolutionary in terms of sustainability. We’re really, really proud to be the first ones to do this as well. It’s always quite nice to be a pioneer with this very specific technical development.”