Posted by: ahw3ll | 06/12/2012

End of the Road for Formula Two?

It seems as though the 2012 Formula Two season may have been its last. In the last few minutes, several high-profile users of Twitter have posted about the demise of the series. This is surprising news, especially as the series was set for a big shake-up in its format for the upcoming season.

The Formula Two Championship was set to make big changes over the winter with the series allowing cars to be run by external teams.

Is this the end for the JPH1B?

Since the relaunch of the series in 2009, all the cars had been run under the MSV banner and maintained by a central group of mechanics.

One team had already made moves to join the 2013 championship. INmotorsport announced their intention to compete in the new-style F2 next year and had signed Dino Zamparelli to drive one of their cars and Martin Donnelly was to take the role of team principal.

It is a great shame that the new-model Formula Two looks like it will never see the light of day. The changes should have allowed for a more competitive grid and for greater promotion of the series as the teams started marketing themselves to potential sponsors. Hopefully the reasons for the cancellation of the championship will become clear in due course.

-UPDATED-

MSV have issued a statement this evening stating that Formula Two had to be cancelled as drivers were finding the series’ non-team model unattractive. The door has been left open for the championship to return in the future, though it seems unlikely to be run by MSV. The statement quoted Jonathan Palmer as saying: “We and the FIA are in agreement that any future F2 should operate on a more conventional, multi team basis. Other championships at F2’s level have also increased their appeal through recent performance upgrades, and it is logical to conclude that in F2’s final year grid numbers would reduce, perhaps significantly.”

It seems as though the series will not run in 2013, however if another group is found to take on the series, it may return in 2014.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 03/11/2012

F3 Cup Champ Dittman Gets F2 Test

Chris Dittman, the 2012 MSV F3 Cup champion, has been awarded with a test in a Formula Two car as a result of his recent success. The Tewkesbury-based racer took the title in the final rounds of the series at Snetterton at the end of October.

Dittman had this to say following his championship win: “It’s a brilliant feeling to win the F3 Cup title. It hasn’t sunk in yet, it has been a long year but for me it’s been great. The F3 Cup has been absolutely fantastic this year and it will be even better next year so hopefully I can win again. I’m very excited about the opportunity of an FIA Formula 2 test drive. Hopefully I can show what I can do in the car and enjoy the experience.”

Chris Dittman Racing will also be expanding its operations in 2013 by fielding a car in the new BRDC Formula 4 championship, in addition to its F3 Cup team.

Dittman will take to the track, along with some prospective 2013 F2 drivers, during one of the off-season test days. Being tested against a mix of new and experienced F2 pilots will surely be a good barometer for Chris’ performance.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 30/10/2012

Bacheta’s Prize Test

Last week, 2012 Formula Two champion Luciano Bacheta got to have his first taste of Formula 1 machinery as he received his prize test with Williams for his championship win. Unlike previous years, the test was not part of the Formula 1 Young Driver Test which usually follows the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Instead, Bacheta got to drive at the Williams Partner Day at the Silverstone circuit, scene of his first F2 wins.

Image by Williams

Luciano was able to complete several runs during the course of the day. The track was damp to begin with but dried out as the day progressed, allowing for some hot laps. The prize run was the culmination of a hard-fought season which Bacheta led from start to finish and he felt that it was an important milestone as he works towards getting into Formula 1 as a racer: “It’s a massive box ticked off and it didn’t disappointment one bit! I’d love to have some more time in the car and I hope there will be more opportunities to come.”

The test was featured on last week’s edition of The F1 Show on Sky Sports F1, who had cameras and people on-hand to document the event and to interview the man of the moment.

Team founder Sir Frank Williams had the following to say at the end of the event: “I’d like to pass on my congratulations to Luciano for winning the F2 title, a feat made all the more impressive by the way he achieved it with an unprecedented four consecutive wins at the start of the season. No doubt he learnt a lot from today’s experience and it will stand him in good stead for his future career which looks very promising indeed.”

Ramon Pineiro, who finished third in the 2011 F2 season, has an opportunity to test GP2 machinery this week with the Ocean Racing Team as the series has a post-season test in Barcelona.

Although he admits that he will not get a full days’ running, it is still a chance to impress the GP2 paddock against some of the established names as well as some up-and-coming new drivers.

Meanwhile, 2012 F2 runners-up Matheo Tuscher and Christopher Zanella got a taste of Formula Renault 3.5 machinery last week, also in Barcelona. The times were dominated by those with previous experience in the category, with the two prospective F2 graduates ending the test in 16th (Zanella) and 21st (Tuscher) out of 25.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 29/10/2012

The Short-Lived F1 Teams of the 1990’s

The 1990’s saw the final years before a near decade of manufacturer-dominated championships. Everyone knows about the main players: Williams and McLaren, Senna and Schumacher. Not quite so well-remembered are the smaller teams that came and went during those years. A few only lasted a couple of years, one only lasted a single race, but they brought new faces and extra stories to the grid. Here is a run-down of some of the short-lived teams that graced the Formula 1 grids in the ’90’s.

Life Racing Engines

Life attempted to qualify for the first 14 races of the 1990 championship and failed on every attempt. The team was set up as a method of advertising their engines to the rest of the Formula 1 paddock. The fact that, if anything, the teams were less interested in running their engine as a result should tell you all you need to know about the success of the team.

They bought the chassis which was originally intended to be run by the FIRST team in 1989 and bolted their engine into the back of it. The resulting racing car, the L190, was outdated, overweight and down on power by as much as 200HP. After twelve attempts at qualifying with their own engine, Life eventually threw in the towel and bought a Judd engine. The new engine, while an improvement on what they were running previously, didn’t make up for the deficiencies in the car, which was consistently slowest all year.

Two drivers attempted to qualify the L190: Gary Brabham (son of Sir Jack) and Bruno Giacomelli, who had spent six years out of the sport before being tempted into this ill-fated return.

Memorable moment: Brazil 1990 – The car grinds to a halt after 400 yards after the team mechanics refuse to put any oil in the engine.

Modena Team (Lamborghini)

For the 1991 season, Lamborghini morphed from an engine supplier to a fully-fledged constructor. Initially, the plan was to enter F1 in partnership with new team GLAS, but the deal never materialised when the GLAS funding never appeared. Despite this setback, Lamborghini pushed on with development of their chassis (which became the Lamborghini 291, sporting unusual triangular sidepods and a dark blue colour scheme). The team were clearly aiming to be competitive from the outset and hired Nicola Larini and Eric van de Poele to drive the car.

Despite having to suffer through pre-qualifying (as a new team, they started at the bottom of the championship pecking order), they showed a lot of early-season promise. In their first race, Larini crossed the line in seventh place, just outside the points. Two races later and van de Poele avoided the carnage at Imola to run fifth until the final few hundred metres of the race, when he was hobbled by a fuel pressure problem and was classified ninth.

Unfortunately, the first three races of the season contained the only real highlights of the Modena team. Following Imola, neither car was able to pre-qualify again. It was only due to Larini’s 7th place from the first race that they were spared having to pre-qualify in the second half of the year. Despite having both cars automatically entered in qualifying for the remainder of the year, Larini was only able to coax the Lamborghini onto the starting grid for four more races, none of which showed the promise demonstrated at the start of the season.

The team closed its doors at the end of the 1991 season with massive debts. Lamborghini reverted to being an engine supplier for the next two seasons, but disappeared from the sport in 1994 when the Larrousse team (their only customer at the time) could no longer afford to run their engines.

Memorable Moment: van de Poele almost scoring points with a fifth place in San Marino, only to retire within sight of the finish.

Andrea Moda

The team widely regarded as the worst in the history of the sport. A reputation well-earned, in fact.

The team was born from the ashes of the Coloni team, which had competed in F1 with little success since 1987. The assets of the team were bought by shoe designer Andrea Sassetti. The team were to run an updated version of Coloni’s 1990 cars for the first two races, before bringing in the Simtek-designed S921 for the remainder of the season. Things did not go to plan when the team were excluded from the first event in South Africa for not paying the new team entry fee and didn’t compete in the following race in Mexico as their cars weren’t completed on time.

The rest of the season continued in a similar vein: the team were without engines in Canada as their supplier hadn’t been paid; the team didn’t compete in France as their equipment was caught in a blockade; team owner Sassetti was arrested in the Belgian paddock for allegedly forging invoices and the team were banned from the sport soon after for bringing F1 into disrepute.

Despite having two drivers on the books, this was very much a single-driver team. Perry McCarthy was hired as second driver, but would often get in the car to find out that important work had not been done (putting oil in the engine and fixing a broken steering system, for example).

Memorable Moment: Miraculously qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix (their single race start) and the various mishaps revolving around the second car, including sending McCarthy out to qualify at Spa with broken steering!

Simtek

The Simtek team was the brainchild of Nick Wirth, recently seen championing the all-CFD design philosophy at Virgin Racing. The team grew out of a consultancy business that Wirth and Max Mosely had founded five years prior.

The team arrived on the F1 scene for the 1994 season with a conservative and underpowered car for its two drivers David Brabham and Roland Ratzenberger. The team didn’t have much problem qualifying and the cars were able to finish races on a fairly regular basis with a best result of ninth place in their first season. However, 1994 was very much a baptism of fire for the new team. In the third race of the season, Roland Ratzenberger lost his life when his front wing detached and became stuck under his front wheels in qualifying. Team-mate Brabham bravely decided to race the next day to try and keep some morale within the team. For the remainder of the season, the team ran with the message “For Roland” on the airbox of the car, showing their solidarity and reasons for continuing in the sport.

Andrea Montermini was signed as the replacement for Ratzenberger, but he suffered a crash in preparation for his first race for the team and was sidelined with a broken toe and cracked heel. From round 7 to 13, Jean-Marc Gounon was the occupant of car 32 and it was he who scored the highest-placed finish for the team that year with a ninth place at his home race in France. For the remaining three rounds of the year – with money tight – Simtek ran Domenico Schiattarella and Taki Inoue in exchange for a cash injection.

The 1995 season started a lot more promisingly for the Simtek team, with a more refined car, more powerful engine and a Benetton gearbox. Jos Verstappen, Schiattarella and Hideki Noda were signed as drivers for the new campaign. Despite suffering from reliability problems, the new car showed a lot of promise. In the hands of Schiattarella, it was capable of running ahead of fellow “new teams” Pacific and Forti, while Verstappen was able to take the fight to the midfield – even mixing it with the points-scorers in the race at Buenos Aires before being taken out of the race with a gearbox failure.

Despite the upturn in form, funding was still an issue. By the sixth race – and with mounting debts – the team were forced to withdraw from the championship.

Memorable Moment: San Marino 1994 – For the tragedy of qualifying. Argentina 1995 – Verstappen running competitively in the points before a pitstop and gearbox failure.

Pacific

Pacific joined the F1 grid along with Simtek at the start of the 1994 season, moving up from the Formula 3000 championship into the top flight. The original plan was to enter  the previous year, but their financial situation would not allow it. The result was the team took part in the 1994 season with a year-old chassis which had not seen any development or track testing of any note.

The team only made 7 starts in their debut season and didn’t see the chequered flag at all. From round seven onwards, they didn’t qualify for a single race.

Pacific persevered into 1995 with a link-up with the collapsed Lotus team. The new car showed some improved speed and reliability and some sponsors were attracted to the team. As the season went on, money became an issue and pay-drivers were brought in to try and keep the team afloat. Andrea Montermini, the constant in Pacific’s 1995 driver lineup, scored the best result for the team of 8th place in Germany, which was equalled by Bertrand Gachot in the team’s final race in Australia.

The team withdrew from F1 at the end of the 1995 season.

Memorable Moment: Not completing a single race distance throughout their first year.

Forti

Forti arrived in F1 in 1995 in a blaze of yellow and blue (plus green wheels), using money from the Diniz family to make the jump up from Formula 3000. With junior formula experience, a seasoned campaigner in Roberto Moreno and a young, well funded go-getter in Pedro Diniz, the team entered into an extensive (for a small team) pre-season testing programme. Though the initial testing results didn’t set the world alight, it was clear that the team had the backing to make steady progress as the season wore on.

Forti’s first season was troubled, with the team becoming the target of paddock jokes, including Martin Brundle’s famous line that the reason they are called Forti is because there seem to be forty of them on the track as you lap them so often! As the season progressed, the team were able to move closer to the ultimate pace, though they finished the season without a point to their name.

Further progress was expected for 1996, but the loss of Pedro Diniz to the Ligier team took a large chunk out of the team’s budget, as all the Brazilian’s personal sponsors followed him to his new berth. His and Moreno’s places at the team were taken by the not-quite-so-well-funded Andrea Montermini and Luca Badoer. When the new car appeared, it had much more potential than the old FG01. However, as is often the case at the back of the grid, the problem was a lack of finance. With most of the sponsors jumping ship, Forti were left with very little money to develop their new machine. Enter the Shannon Group. The deal for Shannon to buy out 51% of the team and add much needed financial stability to Forti never came to fruition. There was a lengthy argument between Guido Forti and the Shannon Group over ownership, with Forti claiming he never saw any of the buyout money. A few races after the deal was struck, the team collapsed and were never seen again.

Memorable Moment: Pedro Diniz ending his 1995 Argentine Grand Prix upside-down in a gravel trap.

Lola

I have already written about Lola’s disastrous 1997 season, when they arrived at Melbourne, were woefully off the pace and then disappeared off the F1 radar. Perhaps if the were given that extra year to develop the car, they could have started their F1 journey in 1998 and had a more successful season (and not been a footnote in a failed teams blog post!).

Memorable Moment: Australia 1997 – Attempting to qualify an untested car, ending up 11.6 seconds from pole.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 29/10/2012

Former F2 Driver Abadin Crowdfunded to F3 Seat

Jose back in the driving seat

For the majority of young racers trying to forge a career for themselves, the key obstacle to success is money. In the current economic situation, companies are less keen to sponsor a driver unless they are likely to see a good return on their investment. The result of this is that the ‘unproven’ drivers of the world have a monumental struggle to generate the kind of budget required to compete in series higher up the motorsport ladder.

This is the situation which has faced Spanish driver Jose Luis Abadin over recent years. Due to budgetary issues, he hasn’t been able to complete a full season of racing since stepping up to Formula Three level. Upon reaching Formula Two in 2011, he hoped to be able to run for the full season, but a combination of budget and poor health curtailed that plan, before forcing him out of the category altogether after the initial round of 2012.

After a summer spent keeping his skills sharp, Jose (along with fellow business students Daniel Gonzalez and Oscar Freire) put together a plan to return to racing in the final round of the European F3 Open series via the help of crowdfunding. The plan being that fans or business could top-up the budget hole left by sponsors who had withdrawn their support over the previous months. Abadin has successfully raised a budget of just over €2,500 from donations, which means that he will line up on the grid at his home race in Montmelo next weekend (3rd – 4th November) and make a return to racing.

Proof that fans really can make a difference in modern motorsport.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 23/08/2012

F2 2011 – Where are they now? Part Two

This is the second half of the “Where are they now?” article, following the career paths of the F2 class of 2011. Take a look at part one here.

Christopher Zanella (189 pts, 2nd overall): After a strong performance in his debut Formula Two season, Christopher decided on a second season to try and take the top prize of the Williams F1 test. He currently sits third in the championship. Though he still has a mathematical chance to take the title, he believes his chances of a championship victory are over.

Jon Lancaster (14 pts, 17th overall): Despite only competing in two races in F2 2011, Lancaster was able to secure fourteen points, showing he has great potential. Unfortunately, as with Will Bratt, sponsorship has been hard to come by, forcing him to have a fragmented 2011 and a single weekend in GP2 for Ocean Racing this year. He hopes to secure more sponsorship soon and return to racing before the end of the year.

Rene Binder (0 pts, 28th overall): Rene Binder only took part in two F2 races last year, with his main focus being on his German F3 campaign in which he eventually finished eighth overall. He continues in the series in 2012, having already picked up two wins. He currently lies sixth in the standings with nine races remaining.

Luciano Bacheta (18 pts, 13th overall): Luciano took the start in four F2 races in 2011, finishing in the points in all four. He returned for a full campaign in 2012, which he started in dominant form by winning the four opening races. He still maintains the championship lead heading into the final rounds of the season and is clear favourite to take the Williams F1 test at the end of the year.

Benjamin Lariche (15 pts, 16th overall): After two seasons in Formula Two, Lariche has moved on to tackle a new challenge in the FIA GT1 World Championship, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 and competing alongside ex-F2 racers Sergei Afanasiev and 2009 champion Andy Soucek.

Sung-Hak Mun (0 pts, 26th overall): Mun was hoping to return to Formula Two for another year, but had to endure back surgery in the off-season and struggled to find the necessary sponsorship in time for the start of the season, forcing him to sit out this year’s campaign.

Parthiva Sureshwaren (0 pts, 25th overall): Parthiva continued with Formula Two into 2012. He competed up until Spa, but was absent from the latest races at Brands Hatch and in France.  He has announced that he will be taking part in the remaining races of the season, looking to improve on his current best finish of 11th and get some points on the board.

Jordan King (17 pts, 14th overall): Jordan has been keeping busy in 2012, taking part in Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, FRenault 2.0 NEC and FRenault 2.0 Eurocup. The TRS season was run over January and February and Jordan took a win at Taupo on his way to an overall 5th in the championship behind fellow countryman Josh Hill. The Formula Renault 2.0 NEC season has reached it’s halfway point, with Jordan currently holding 2nd overall, despite not yet taking a win in the category this year. He also currently lies 14th in the Eurocup championship with six rounds remaining.

Natalia Kowalska (0 pts, 27th overall): Natalia has had a tough time recently. Having to cut short her season in 2011 due to wrist surgery, she was looking to get back on track this year, but was involved in a road accident which resulted in a neck injury. She has commentated on a NASCAR race this year and is looking to return to racing soon.

Fabio Gamberini (0 pts, 29th overall): Gamberini has driven in the GP3 series this year. Starting in the two races for ATech CRS in Silverstone and scoring a point in the sprint race.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 20/08/2012

F2 2011 – Where are they now? Part One

The 2011 Formula Two season boasted the largest entry list since the series returned in 2009. In all, 29 drivers made at least one start in last year’s championship. However, of those 29 drivers, only seven have started a race in 2012. So what has happened to the class of 2011?

In 2012, from left to right: A GT racer, a triathete and an Indy Lights driver.

James Cole (6pts, 20th overall): After a 2011 season which netted him 6 points, James has taken a step back from racing and is part of Liverpool-based band “A Band Named King” .

Armaan Ebrahim (16 pts, 15th overall): The experienced Indian racer has moved on after three years competing in Formula Two and was able to secure a drive in the first five rounds of the Indy Lights Championship. Despite only competing in half of the events in the season, he currently holds thirteenth place in the championship with a best result of eighth place in the season-opening event at St Petersburg, Florida.

Mirko Bortolotti (298 pts, 2011 Champion): The 2011 champion put in some impressive times in his prize test with the Williams F1 team, but a lack of sponsorship has stopped him from continuing into one of the Formula1 support series. For 2012, he is competing in the German ADAC GT Masters series in a BMW Z4 GT3. The series is also home to ex-F1 race winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

Alex Brundle (112 pts, 7th overall): Alex is competing with Carlin in the GP3 series this year. He has proven to be a reliable points-scorer and secured his maiden podium last time out in the Hungarian sprint race. He also competed alongside his father and Lucas Ordóñez in the Le Mans 24 Hour race earlier in the year, where their Nissan Zytek finished 15th overall and 8th in class.

Miki Monras (153 pts, 4th overall): As is the case with many racers recently, Miki was unable to gain sufficient sponsorship to continue competing. He drove a Lamborghini in an endurance race earlier in the year, but races seem few and far between in 2012.

Plamen Kralev (1 pt, 23rd overall): One of a handful of drivers to continue from 2011 into the current season. Plamen recently scored the best result of his F2 career with a ninth-placed finish in France.

Mihai Marinescu (138 pts, 5th overall): Another F2 veteran, Mihai has continued with the series into 2012 and currently holds fifth place in the championship with two wins.

Max Snegirev (14 pts, 18th overall): Max is competing full-time in the AutoGP championship this year with Campos Racing. When scheduling has allowed, Max has also run in the current F2 championship. He currently sits 11th in the AutoGP standings with two races remaining.

Jack Clarke (110 pts, 8th overall): After a successful year in F2, Jack has moved on to the Blancpain Endurance Series, competing on some of the world’s top circuits in long-distance races.

Kelvin Snoeks (40 pts, 10th overall): The Dutch racer is currently competing in the Renault Megane Trophy, part of the World Series by Renault. He secured a maiden podium at Spa and has scored points in every race so far, holding sixth place in the championship.

Jose Luis Abadin (1 pt, 22nd overall): Jose was unable to complete a full programme in 2011 due to health and funding problems and was hopeful of a good showing at Silverstone 2012 to secure more races for the season ahead. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but the Spanish racer has been regrouping and is trying to secure a return to his old European F3 Open team Drivex for the final rounds of the year, before mounting a full title offence in 2013.

Ramon Pineiro (185 pts, 3rd overall): Following his success in 2011, Ramon was selected for the FIA Institute Young Driver Academy. The Academy is a programme set up to nurture young driving talent. Ramon was chosen along with seventeen other racers, who will receive training from experienced professional drivers such as ex-F1 racer Alex Wurz.

Mikkel Mac (23 pts, 11th overall): Mac has moved to racing tin-tops in 2012, competing in the Danish Thundersports Championship in a Chevrolet Camaro ZZ4.

Will Bratt (92 pts, 9th overall): After two years of F2 which yielded eight podiums and a win, but was sadly cut short due to funding problems, Will Bratt has returned to racing in 2012. Will competed in the Oulton Park and Croft rounds of the BTCC, driving the Audi A4 of Rob Austin Racing. A best result of eighth in his first race underlines his competitiveness, despite his limited track time in the car. He hopes to return for the final three rounds of the year. Like James Cole, Will has also been playing in a band – Rock Covers band Little Liars – as well as penning his own music.

The remainder of the 2011 grid is covered in Part Two here.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 13/08/2012

The Summer Break Roundup

Like F1, Formula Two has a long summer break before the final races of the season. The month of August is completely devoid of F2 action, with racing resuming in Hungary on September 7th-9th.

The Formula Two cars are parked for the month of August

There was, however, one Formula Two car in action over the August break. Journalist Ivo Pakvis, from GP Update, sampled the current-spec F2 car at the Bedford Autodrome.

For the drivers, the focus over the break will be to keep training and entertain sponsors (both existing and potential), to be in the best shape possible – physically and financially – for the final races. It is also the final opportunity of the season to take time out from racing and unwind.

Championship leader Luciano Bacheta has been taking some time out to recharge his batteries ahead of the final four races of the season. However, in the life of a racing driver, you can never relax for long. After returning from holiday, Luciano is back in training and attending commercial events, including a recent photo shoot for personal sponsor ZOO Fashions.

Meanwhile, Markus Pommer edged closer to his dream of driving an F1 car… by sitting in one! The German racer sampled the cockpit of a 1998 Tyrrell 026 during his downtime.

Finally, Alex Fontana got some valuable track knowledge of the Hungaroring when he competed in the GP3 Series races in Hungary. Racing for Jenzer Motorsport, Fontana saw the chequered flag in both races. Despite the changeable conditions, he was running inside the top ten at one point, before dropping back. Alex ended the weekend having secured a 17th and 15th-placed finish. Fontana will also be competing for Jenzer in the Belgian rounds at Spa, which take place a week before the penultimate race of the F2 season. Since racing at the Hungaroring, he has been taking some time out to relax in Greece, before getting back into his training regime. He will also be taking part in a Historic Rally, driving a Ferrari F40 before the Formula Two season resumes.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 02/08/2012

F2 2012: Britain and France Roundup

Formula Two has emerged from the Brands Hatch / Paul Ricard double-header with two new race winners and a reduced gap at the top of the championship. Kevin Mirocha and Mihai Marinescu took the chequered flag first in the two British rounds, with Markus Pommer and Matheo Tuscher taking victory in France. After a shaky start, Tuscher has emerged as the key rival to Luciano Bacheta’s championship charge.

When the F2 drivers arrived at Brands Hatch for rounds 9 and 10, they were greeted by rain – lots of rain. Most of Saturday was a washout, with the first race taking place on a very damp track. Polish driver Kevin Mirocha was able to get an excellent start from third on the grid and feed his car through the space between the front row starters. From there, he was able to control the race and take a well-deserved maiden victory. Things were not so straightforward further back in the pack, as Max Snegirev lost control of his car on the main straight and was collected by Kourosh Khani, also taking out Alex Fontana in the process – The spray kicked up by the cars resulting in poor visibility, especially in the high-speed sections.

The first race at Brands was held in wet conditions

The race on Sunday was won by Mihai Marinescu – his second win of the season – with Zanella second and British driver Dino Zamparelli putting the disappointment of a spin in race one behind him to take his maiden podium finish. The biggest surprise of the race occurred when Matheo Tuscher lost control over the kerbs on the exit of Paddock Hill, resulting in retirement against the barriers.

A week after the excitement of Brands Hatch, the F2 circus made it’s way across the channel to France. Tuscher took his maiden victory in race one, ahead of championship rival Bacheta. In Sunday’s race, Markus Pommer took his second win of the season to close in on the top three.

Markus Pommer took his second victory in France

Heading into the summer break, Luciano Bacheta still holds the championship lead. A lead he has held since the first race at Silverstone back in April. Matheo Tuscher lies second, 32½ points behind the British driver and with momentum gathering behind his championship push. Third place is held by Christopher Zanella, who has recently said that his chances of taking the title this year are over. Statistically, any of these three plus Pommer, Marinescu and Mirocha can still take the championship over the remaining four races, but it will take a huge effort – and a lot of luck – to unseat Bacheta from the top of the table.

The next races will be at the Hungaroring on the 8th-9th September before the final rounds at Monza at the end of the month.

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