Time for some much-anticipated Formula 2 action, as we head to the Principality of Monaco for some close racing around the narrow (and expensive) city streets.
It’s actually been almost a whole month since the Formula 1 feeder series last took to the track, owing to the mass flooding in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. The Grand Prix around Imola was cancelled to direct attention towards helping people and infrastructure in the area.
Things are back to normal for the F2 calendar now, as we return to perhaps the most prestigious and extravagant location of the year: Monaco.
The F2 Report looks at some of the biggest talking points and stories in the build-up to the 2023 Monaco F2 round, which is sure to be drama packed and with bent metal aplenty, inevitably.
Bearman bears down on Formula 2 Championship battle
Perhaps the greatest surprise of the previous round in the narrow streets of Azerbaijan was Ollie Bearman’s utter dominance.
The 17-year-old Prema driver, who is also the youngest on this year’s grid, was in complete control around Baku. Winning both the Sprint and Feature races after taking pole position with a bent steering column, the Briton was a cut above the rest of the grid and closed the gap to Championship leader Theo Pourchaire to 24 points.
He currently lies fourth in the Drivers’ Standings, can the rising star continue his impeccable form in his debut F2 outing around the Monaco streets?
Stanek receives grid drop for Sprint
Trident driver Roman Stanek has received a three-place grid penalty for Saturday’s Sprint race, owing to an avoidable collision with F2 veteran Ralph Boschung.
Early on in Thursday’s single practice session, the Czech driver turned into the unsuspecting Campos Racing competitor into the final corner. While stewards deemed Stanek to be “wholly responsible” for the contact, he seemed to think otherwise.
The Trident driver said after the session: “I think it was clearly a misunderstanding from both of us. I just saw a video where it was clear he was super-slow, so I go to the inside and there was a contact. He was preparing his lap, he had blue flags but then maybe he didn’t see me.”
Stanek will be hoping for a change in fortune for his F2 career so far. Just a single points finish to his name in eight races is not what many were expecting of him. Though this penalty will make a strong race finish an uphill struggle for the Czech.
An ever-changing fight for the Drivers’
With such narrow margins at the head of the Championship Standings, it seems we have a different contender for the 2023 Formula 2 title each weekend.
Jack Doohan has disappointed so far, while Pourchaire was an early favourite to take the crown. Then it was Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa, who seemed to find the key to Title contention with consistent points finishes.
However, the DAMS driver endured a pointless weekend at Baku, dropping him to third in the Championship. Pourchaire finds himself in the lead again thanks to three podiums in four Feature races.
Meanwhile, a new challenger has appeared out of nowhere for the Drivers’ crown, Frederick Vesti. Bearman’s teammate suffered a poor start to the season with 0 points at the Sakhir round, but has since scored in every race to put himself within three points of leader Pourchaire. The pressure is on for the Dane, who is already in his second full season in the feeder series.
But he seems to be riding the pressure wave, a brilliant pole position earlier giving him the best shot for maximum points come Sunday. All to play for in Monaco…