The F2 Report: Belgium Rundown

The F2 Report: Belgium Rundown

The F2 Report: Belgium Rundown

Formula 2 returned for back-to-back at Round ten of the Championship that shook up the Standings as we head ever closer to concluding the year with both Titles in the balance.

Heading to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, there was justified concern about the safety standards of the racetrack following the recent death of Formula Regional racer Dilano Van’ t Hoff, as well as F2 driver Anthoine Hubert four years ago.

Fortunately no major incidents took place this year, and we were treated to a pair of brilliant races. Both Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships look markedly different to how they did before the weekend, as we saw a brand new race winner and some surprise results for certain drivers.

The F2 Report examines the main talking points from the 2023 Spa-Francorchamps Formula 2 round.

Fittipaldi’s maiden F2 win

Enzo Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, secured his maiden win in the F1 feeder series with an assured drive during the Sprint Race.

The Brazilian-American finally crossed the chequered flag first in his 47th start. This result, along with his podium in the subsequent Feature race, propelled the 22-year-old to seventh in the Drivers’ Standings

Fittipaldi commented on his strong weekend after the Feature race. Speaking to F2 media, he said: “I’m confident, I know I’ve had the pace this whole year. I’ve been unlucky some moments in some races which cost me some points this year.

“I know my pace is there to finish on the podium and win races now so I’m confident going into Zandvoort and going into the last three race weekends,” he added. “I’m sure we can make great results and continue climbing in the Championship.”

The Sprint Race proved a lot more chaotic and unfortunate for others. Reverse-grid polesitter Jehan Daruvala was leading until his headrest fell out of his car, forcing him to retire. The VAR of Richard Verschoor initially finished second, but was disqualified for using an illegal throttle map.

Vesti DNS for the Feature race hampers himself and team

PREMA Racing’s Frederik Vesti held an 11-point advantage in the Drivers’ Championship before the weekend. But a sub-par couple of races means he has now conceded P1 in the Standings to the ART Grand Prix of Theo Pourchaire.

The Dane did make up a few places from a ninth position start in the Sprint Race to cross the line in sixth, but lost points to Pourchaire who wound up on the podium. His poor weekend culminated in a senseless and avoidable error on his reconnaissance lap which meant he couldn’t even start the Feature.

On cold tyres, the 21-year-old driver locked up his tyres when braking for the Les Combes chicane and clattered into the barriers. With a broken rear-end the PREMA was unable to make it’s way back onto the starting grid.

Meanwhile, Pourchaire once again finished in second place to give himself a 12-point cushion at the top of the Standings. With the Frenchman’s teammate Victor Martins claiming fifth and Vesti’s teammate Oliver Bearman only managing seventh, ART Grand Prix retook the lead of the Teams’ Championship by a hefty 3o points.

Doohan has turned his season around

Invicta Virtuosi driver Jack Doohan has completely turned his Championship challenge around with back-to-back Feature Race victories. He becomes the first driver in 2023 to manage such a feat.

Along with a fifth place finish in the preceding Sprint Race, the Australian has amassed 130 points and is no doubt in contention for the Drivers’ Crown. He’s just 38 points off of leader Pourchaire, and will be hoping he can carry his positive momentum through to Zandvoort in under a month’s time.

His high hopes for this season looked all but shattered after the first five rounds saw him languishing 18th in the Standings. Now the young Aussie is back where many believe he belongs, and he himself believes he belongs too.

Speaking at the post-Feature race press conference, the Invicta Virtuosi driver stated: “Yeah, to be honest I’m super happy, I had a great weekend last weekend at the Hungaroring , and started the weekend off here strong, felt super confident.”

He continued: “Super lucky today, 100% but it owed me, whatever it is up there it owed me some luck so I took it with open arms and had a really strong day. We had some great pace so I was happy to show that.”

Doohan weighed in on his chances at a potential Title fight with the likes of Pourchaire, Vesti and Ayumu Iwasa. He added: “It’s still an almighty gap. Theo’s still an awesome driver and doing an excellent job and so is Enzo, but I’ll continue to fight and if we can do it then I’d love to.”

With just three more rounds remaining in the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship, can Doohan close the gap to the top contenders?

2023 Formula 2 Standings after 10/13 rounds