With all seats confirmed for the 2023 FIA Formula 2 grid, we can now look forward to racing in just under a month’s time.
As always, there will be a huge host of debutants in amongst the more experienced drivers, and there are certainly a few to keep a close eye on as the season progresses. The F2 Report selects five rookies who have a good chance of competing for the prestigious Anthoine Hubert Award this time round.
Jak Crawford is set to compete with Hitech Pulse-Eight this year, and big things are expected of the American race driver. At just 17 years of age, he will be one of the youngest drivers on the grid, but this doesn’t mean at all that he is lacking in experience.
In fact, Crawford knows exactly what it means to fight near the front of the Championship Standings, having finished second in the 2020 ADAC Formula 4 Championship and third in the 2021 Euroformula Open Championship, with a plethora of race victories smattered throughout.
Crawford graduated from Formula 3 in 2022, having impressed many with a seventh-place overall in the Standings, a sole victory at the Sprint race around the Red Bull Ring the highlight.
The American has been keeping himself busy in the off-season, testing his mettle against tough opponents in the 2023 Formula Regional Middle East Championship. It’s safe to say that Crawford is ready to give his all this year.
Czech rising star Roman Stanek will be staying with Italian outfit Trident Racing in 2023, having endured relative success with the team in F3 last year. This provides an immediate for Stanek, continuing with the same team and personnel will allow him to focus on the greater goal of extracting the maximum out of his performances this year.
Both team and driver will be going into this coming season with positivity, as Stanek turned his career around for the better following a disappointing rookie season in 2021. 2022 saw the Czech driver achieve his first victory in F3 (Imola Feature race), which aided him in ultimately winding up fifth in the final Standings in the Drivers’ Championship.
But what’s more remarkable has been the Stanek’s rapid rise through the ranks in singe-seater motorsport. Despite not winning a single series that he has competed in so far, consistency has been the key for the rookie, who has managed to score regular points in every Championship he has taken part in since starting in open-wheel motorsport back in 2019.
Can he hit the ground running in 2o23? We shall find out soon…
Ollie Bearman is just six days younger than Crawford, making the Brit the youngest driver on the current grid. However, Bearman’s achievements in the open-wheel category of motorsport absolutely bellies his age.
2021 was a hugely successful year for the British sensation, taking the Championship crown in two separate racing series, ADAC Formula 4 and Italian F4. He moved up to F3 last year, and was in contention for the Title once more but this time fell short, ending the campaign in third.
Bearman only really knows how to compete at the very top, so expect him to do so yet again in 2023. Although he will have to adjust to the unfamiliar chassis and engine configuration of F2, which isn’t so easy to do straight away…
For the first half of 2022, Isack Hadjar was very much the frontrunner for the F3 Title. The French-Algerian driver mustered three race wins and led the Driver Standings on more than one occasion. Unfortunately Hadjar’s challenge petered out in the later stages and he wound up fourth by the end of the season. However his year-round performance, along with a third place in the 2022 Formula Regional Asian Championship, warranted a promotion within Hitech Grand Prix to F2 for 2023.
Hadjar will be partnered alongside Jak Crawford in what will be an all-rookie lineup for the British racing outfit. Despite being just 18 years old, he has been in the open-wheel scene since 2019, when he competed in the French F4 Championship at the tender age of 14. Since then, his best results have been third in the 2020 French F4 Championship and third again at the aforementioned 2022 Formula Regional Asian Championship.
The French-Algerian has come so close to the Drivers’ Title on more than one instance; will he manage to take the F2 crown this year?
Finally, we have the victor of last year’s F3 Championship, Victor Martins. The Frenchman will have experienced compatriot F2 racer Theo Pourchaire as teammate this year, driving for the French team ART Grand Prix.
The 2022 FIA F3 Championship was a close-fought affair, with a record six drivers in contention for the Title going into the final round. Nevertheless, Martins made the difference where it counted, with two Feature race wins and four more podiums throughout the season doing just enough to secure the Drivers’ crown.
At 21 years of age, Martins is the oldest driver on this list, but it’s honestly a mystery as to why it has taken the French driver this long to get to the Formula 1 feeder series. He has excelled in every series he has competed in so far, achieving second in the 2017 French F4 Championship, second in the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup followed by winning the Title outright the next year. Martins is a superbly talented driver, that’s for sure.
The Frenchman will be hoping to be battling for the F2 Championship straight away this year. Already in his twenties, he runs the risk of missing his chance at a racing seat in F1, much like Felipe Drugovich has unfortunately realised.