Posted by: ahw3ll | 09/06/2012

Formula Two: The Season so Far…

The 2012 Formula Two season is approaching its halfway point with two races in Belgium scheduled for two weeks’ time. With six races down, a clear picture is emerging of the pecking order within the grid.

Luciano Bacheta is clearly the man to beat. With an incredible four consecutive wins at the start of the season, the young Briton has carved out a decent lead over the pursuing pack in the championship. The two races at the Nurburgring showed that Bacheta was human after all, though he was still able to score good points and only lose a couple of points from his championship lead. The stats for his season so far are very impressive: Never starting outside the top five, scoring points in each race and scoring an average finishing position of second. If he is able to continue at his current level, he must be the favourite for the championship.

Second place in the championship is closely fought between F2 veterans Christopher Zanella and Mihai Marinescu – both of whom won a race over the Nurburgring weekend – and the impressive Mattheo Tuscher. Mattheo has a slightly higher average finishing position over his two rivals due to having less of a variance between his results (Marinescu has had a single DNF and Zanella scored an eighth place in the opening weekend, which has affected his average). Both Marinescu and Zanella had much improved results over the weekend in Germany, suggesting they have achieved a level of understanding with the current F2 machinery that Tuscher and Bacheta have had since the beginning of the season.

Behind the leading group, consistency seems to be the key with both Alex Fontana and Markus Pommer scoring points in every race so far. Pommer, who was considered by many to be one of the key contenders for the title on the basis of his blistering form in pre-season testing, has shown improvement as the season has progressed, with his better race results coinciding with an improvement in starting position.

An honourable mention should go to Hector Hurst, who is the only driver who has managed to gain places from his starting spot in each of the six races so far this season (for a grand total of eight places gained from his grid position).

The championship moves on to the Spa Francorchamps circuit in two weeks. Will the pecking order change through the forests of Belgium?

Posted by: ahw3ll | 22/05/2012

Formula Two to join rFactor 2 grid

Formula Two has joined forces with Image Space Incorporated, creators of the acclaimed rFactor simulation, to feature the entire 2012 grid in the upcoming release of rFactor 2.

Formula Two will be an official part of the rFactor 2 lineup

The addition of Formula Two adds further variety to the playable single-seater championships available “out of the box”, which also feature Formula Renault, as well as returning “fantasy” series like the rTrainers and FormulaIS (an F1 clone which I used as a base for my own attempt at producing the 2011 F2 grid).

rFactor 2 will be released towards the end of 2012 and features numerous improvements over its predecessor, including dynamic weather, changing grip levels and HDR graphics. For more information and to read developer updates, visit the rFactor 2 site.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 08/05/2012

An Interview with Luciano Bacheta

Luciano Bacheta has had a storming start to his 2012 campaign, scoring four wins from four starts – the only driver to accomplish this feat since the series returned in 2009. I caught up with him during the opening weekend of the season at Silverstone to ask him a few questions…

Justin Keevill: First of all, congratulations on your race today, your first win in Formula Two. Was your tactic for the race to save your tyres and then make a big push towards the end?
Luciano Bacheta: The tactic since testing has been to manage the tyres in a way that will benefit us most in qualifying and the race weekend. I was unsure if it would work up until qualifying, but we had a good run and I knew we were in a good position for the race. But it wasn’t easy. We weren’t physically quicker than anyone, it was very close and I think it just came down to tyre management.

JK: And also, how does it feel to be leading the championship?
LB: Well, I haven’t really thought about the championship at all just yet. The order in the first race is always going to be the order in the championship. It is nice, and I might take a picture of it later, but I’ve got to make sure I do it for the rest of the year.

JK: What was your main reasoning for moving to F2 rather than racing in GP3 or a similar series such as Formula Renault?
LB: I had a good couple of races in F2 last year. The budgets are a lot lower than most other series and you get an equal opportunity. I’m not saying you don’t get that in other series, but its very difficult to choose the right teams and to be in the right situation with a team to fight for the championship, but I wanted to make sure I had a good year and it goes well and i don’t have any issues and that’s why I chose to drive in Formula Two.

JK: As a driver who has competed with the 2011 and 2012 spec F2 car, is there a big performance difference between the two?
LB: Yeah. It feels like a different car completely. In the high speed, it’s massively quicker. I think today we were 4 seconds or 3 seconds quicker than the old car, which is huge. It feels completely different to drive. It almost deserves a new name, because its so different.

JK: Is the F2 car this year one that suits your driving style, or is it one that is just really easy to get to grips with?
LB: It definitely suits my style, but I think its also more similar to a World Series car and a GP3 car as well in that it doesn’t move around as much, which is what the old car used to do – The old car had a hard compound but on a soft construction, so the tyre used to move on its sidewall, which made it feel very weird. The tyres have made a huge difference and made it feel very similar to a World Series car.

JK: Obviously, you’ve got off to a good start today and I know you aren’t thinking of the championship yet, but who do you see as your main rivals for this year?
LB: Every session, there’s a new guy up the front. There was Matheo Tuscher on pole today… I didn’t see that coming. Alex Fontana came third in the race, he did a good job. Markus Pommer, who was top of the test, had an off in quali. So I think there are a good six solid drivers, but there is also a very strong top ten as well, where anyone can just creep in and have a good result. So, I’m not looking out for any individual, just making sure I do the best job I can, be as fast as I can and hope that’s enough.

Lucky Dip Questions:
Q: What is your dream road car?
LB: Lamborghini… What’s that new one..? Aventador. Yeah, I saw one in London the other day and ever since I’ve decided I have to work really hard and earn lots of money so I can buy one, hopefully soon! I’ve always been a fan of Lamborghinis, some of which I’ve been lucky enough to drive, so I think that’s going to be one of my goals in life, to own one.

Q: What is your favourite racing circuit?
LB: Silverstone! It actually is, not just after today. I’ve always liked the circuit, especially the first four corners, they are quite unique. And the new addition of Abbey is brilliant. Also Spa [is one of my favourites], but I find the fast corners at Spa are quite easily flat out, so nowadays its not too challenging, but that’s a fun circuit to drive around as well.
JK: In terms of Silverstone, did you prefer the original circuit or the new Arena circuit?
LB: I prefer the new one. Mainly because of Abbey, I love that corner! It’s bitten me a couple of times, I’ve had a few moments there, but when you get it right, it feels pretty special.

Q: Who is your racing hero?
LB: I’d have to say Ayrton Senna, even though everyone probably says that!
JK: It’s a popular answer!
LB: There is a reason that everyone says that. It’s not just for his driving, but his attitude was also pretty special. The problems that he faced in his own career are similar to a lot of drivers that are coming up through the ranks. It’s good to see that he’s not a superhero. Especially after watching the movie, it opens your eyes.

Q: What was the first race you attended?
LB: My first car race was in France at a circuit called Croix-en-Ternois, in Ginetta Juniors. I hadn’t tested the car before and I was fifteen years old. Only in my second year of racing. I qualified in pole for both races and won both, but there was only about six on the grid, so it wasn’t that special! But it was good for me as a driver just to be driving a racing car on a track, in Europe. That was the beginning of my circuit career. I won my first ever go-kart race, my first ever car race and my first single seater race. A good statistic!

It will be interesting to see how long Luciano’s winning streak will last. The next two rounds of the championship take place at the Nurburgring circuit at the end of the month.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 12/04/2012

F2 2012: Last-Minute Driver Announcements

The Formula Two season gets underway this weekend at Silverstone and drivers for this year are still being announced. The following is a run-down of the latest drivers to confirm their presence on the grid for this year.

Mauro Calamia:

One of several drivers to make the switch to F2 from Formula Renault, Calamia got his first taste of Formula Two machinery in the winter test in Barcelona. He is aiming for a top ten finish in the first rounds, but given the level of drivers at the sharp end of the grid this year, he could struggle to achieve that goal. He admits that the Formula Two car represents a significant step up compared to cars he has competed in previously: “I’m really looking forward to driving in Formula Two this year. It’s a great car to drive and I’m enjoying the new tyres and brakes, but the increased power and speed make it a big step up for me to what I’ve driven before.”

Mihai Marinescu:

Mihai returns for a third season in F2 and it could be a case of third time lucky for the Romanian. He showed a big increase in performance as last year progressed and he will start the season as one of the favourites to take the top prize. Armed with both speed and experience, he will be hoping that 2012 is his year: “The drivers of the 2012 season are very good ones, the competition will be hard, but spectacular for the viewers. I will do my work, I will try to be on the podium on almost every race and I will fight for race wins. If I will do my job perfectly, the big prize will come.”

Kourosh Khani:

Khani joins Calamia in moving across from a Formula Renault series into F2 (in his case, moving from the Formula Renault BARC series). He had a competitive season last year, securing a win and several podium finishes en route to an overall fourth place. Pre-season testing was positive for the young Iranian, finishing seventh overall, ahead of some experienced drivers. Despite setting some good laptimes, Khani is keeping his expectations in check: “Silverstone is the first track that I raced on in the UK. It’s very fast and flowing and it will be brilliant to be racing there as I make the next step in my career. I’m going to go out there, do more and try to learn as much as possible about the car.”

Dino Zamparelli:

An eleventh-hour signing, Dino Zamparelli has secured backing to contest the first two races of the season at Silverstone. The reigning Formula Renault BARC champion will be looking to impress in these two races to try and secure funding for a full season campaign: “I’m delighted to be on the grid for F2 this weekend. Since January we’ve been working very hard to find the budget so it’s great to see all that hard work pay off. The F2 test last month went well and it was good to get behind the wheel again as it’s been a while. I feel like I’m mentally and physically prepared now and will be pushing for top three this weekend, although I go into every race trying to win.”

Matheo Tuscher:

An early contender for the “Best Car Livery” award (if such a thing existed), Matheo moves to F2 after taking the Formula Pilota China title last year. He will be the youngest Formula Two driver at just 15 years of age. He performed well in both tests over the winter, including taking an overall fifth place in the Silverstone test. This year will represent only his second year racing in single seaters, so it will be interesting to see how honed his racecraft is. Nevertheless, Matheo is looking forward to the trials ahead: “F2 offers a unique challenge combining six grand prix circuits with a fantastic car equipped with an overboost facility, which I love, and a level playing field for all drivers. My aim this season will be to improve my skills, and win the best rookie award.”

The new F2 season gets underway in just a few short days at the Silverstone circuit. For more information, visit

Posted by: ahw3ll | 03/04/2012

F2 Silverstone Pre-Season Testing

The F2 cars were back in action last week as the confirmed drivers and potential F2 pilots took to the track in pre-season testing ahead of the first round at Silverstone. The majority of drivers set times within two seconds of the day’s best time, set by Markus Pommer. The German rookie looked very impressive, setting the fastest time in three of the four sessions and will surely be a contender for victory if he can keep that pace through the Silverstone weekend.

The vast majority of drivers set their best time in the overboost-enabled final session where the track was also at its fastest. In fact, of the top 10 drivers, all but one set their fastest time in session four – only Christopher Zanella bucked the trend by setting his best time in the first session, good enough for fourth overall and suggesting he could have finished higher up the order.

In the battle of the 2011 drivers, Mihai Marinescu came out on top, showing that his improved pace towards the end of last year has continued into the 2012 pre-season. Luciano Bacheta was third overall, just a third of a tenth of a second behind the Romanian in the final times. Last year’s championship runner-up Christopher Zanella was fourth, as mentioned earlier. In the second half of the field were James Cole (11th), Plamen Kralev (14th), Parthiva Sureshwaren (15th) and Jose Luis Abadin (17th), mixing it with the less experienced drivers.

Dean Stoneman’s return to Formula Two machinery went well, the 2010 champion finishing 9th overall, just over a second off of Pommer’s best time. However, considering the events of the last year, the fact that Dean is back behind the wheel of a racing car is a major victory in itself.

Of course, this is only testing and the times are largely irrelevant. The real test will be in two weeks when the drivers hit the track in anger for the first time. For more information, visit

Posted by: ahw3ll | 28/03/2012

F2 2012: Zanella Returns and Testing Begins

The 2011 Formula Two runner-up Christopher Zanella has announced that he will continue in the series in 2012. The Swiss driver will join fellow returnees Luciano Bacheta, Parthiva Sureshwaren and Plamen Kralev on the grid when racing resumes at Silverstone.

Zanella returns for 2012

Zanella enjoyed a successful 2011, completely dominating some of the race weekends. Though he wasn’t as consistent throughout the season as eventual champion Mirko Bortolotti, which saw him gradually lose touch with the Italian as the season progressed. Armed with the experience gained last year, Zanella will be looking to capture the top prize this time around.

Testing gets underway today at Silverstone today in preparation for the first races of the season. The testing lineup contains a mix of our confirmed drivers as well as familiar faces and rookies. The headline grabbing name on the timesheets is 2010 F2 champion Dean Stoneman, who is back in the car after a year away from motorsport spent fighting and recovering from cancer. After testing an Indy Lights car earlier in the year, it looks like Dean could be making a return to the series he was so successful in two years ago.

Stoneman reunited with the #48 car for testing

Other returning drivers include James Cole, Mihai Marinescu and Jose Luis Abadin. Should they compete in the championship this year, they will all be looking to move up to the next stage of competitiveness – Marinescu will be looking to feature more regularly on the podium in what will be his third year in the championship while Cole and Abadin will be hoping to score points on a more regular basis.

Posted by: ahw3ll | 22/03/2012

F2 2012: More Driver Announcements

In the last week, the Formula Two grid has added another three names to its roster. They represent a mix of youth and experience, with a returning driver and two rookies signing up to compete in 2012.

Plamen Kralev:

Returning for a third year in the series, Plamen will be hoping to move to the next level of competitiveness. He has scored a point in both of his seasons and will no doubt want to add a lot more to that total: “I am pleased to stay in my third year in F2. I believe this is the best championship for me that gives me an opportunity to build on my driving skills.  With new Yokohama tyres I hope to deliver and fight regularly in the points and earn top 10 positions.”

Daniel McKenzie:

Daniel makes the move to Formula Two after a year in Formula Renault 3.5. Moving up through the ranks of Formula BMW and Formula Renault, McKenzie has high hopes for his debut season and the challenge ahead: “I’m really looking forward to this season,” said McKenzie. “I’m certainly not in it to make up the numbers, I want to win and the Williams F1 test is a massive incentive! I enjoyed driving the car during the Barcelona test and once I’d got used to the turbo I found it really pleasurable to drive. The equality of F2 really appeals to me as well, as everyone has the same chance of winning as there’s a completely level playing field. It’s also a very prestigious series that offers great value for money and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

Markus Pommer:

After a successful test in the JPH-1B over the winter, Markus Pommer will make his Formula Two debut at Silverstone next month. The German set some impressive times in testing, in the top five on both days ahead of some experienced runners. Pommer graduates to Formula Two after racing in various German national series and expects to hit the ground running at Silverstone: “For me, F2 is the logical step after Formula 3. It was great to drive the car during winter testing last year and I was very impressed with the power and features like the overboost. I learnt a lot from the two days and grew in confidence from session to session, as well as demonstrating good pace. My goal is to finish in the top three in 2012. I know it’s possible as everyone has the same chance.”

The new F2 season begins next month at Silverstone. For more information, visit

"Jenson has built himself a nice cushion"

Posted by: ahw3ll | 12/03/2012

F2 2012: Alex Fontana announces 2012 campaign

The Formula Two grid has added another rookie to its ranks with the news that Switzerland’s Alex Fontana will compete in the new season. Fontana had performed well in winter testing, culminating in a fourth place overall on the second day, just a quarter of a second off of fellow Swiss Christopher Zanella’s best.

Image from

Fontana moves to Formula Two after a year competing in European F3 Open, scoring two wins on his way to taking the championship. Other graduates from this championship include Jaime Alguersauri, as well as F2’s own Will Bratt, Jose-Luis Abadin and Fabio Gamberini. He also took part in a one-off GP3 race meeting, where he finished in the points at Spa-Francorchamps.

Fontana is looking forward to the year ahead: “After the European Formula 3 Open title last year, Formula Two was the natural step for my career.  I first sampled the F2 car in Barcelona and found it really fun to drive.  I also really like the F2 series and think it will develop me as a driver. “People in Switzerland are also very excited and supportive of my venture, just as they were for the great Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni who raced in the early Formula Two and was champion in 1970. Hopefully we will see lots of Swiss and Greek flags, my second nationality, in the paddock! My goals for 2012 are to be one of the main protagonists but we will have to see and take it race by race.”

Considering his pace over winter testing, Fontana could find himself towards the front of the pack when racing gets underway at Silverstone next month. For more details, visit

Posted by: ahw3ll | 07/03/2012

F2 2012: Hector Hurst to Contest New Season

There was a second driver announcement of the day this evening as British rookie Hector Hurst has been confirmed as an F2 driver for the upcoming season.

The 19 year old took part in the Barcelona winter test at the end of last year and was able to finish both days in the middle of the timesheets against a range of experienced and new drivers.

Hector enters Formula Two after a year racing in Formula Renault BARC, where he scored a best result of fifth at Donington and Silverstone on his way to an overall 13th in the championship. 2011 also marked Hector’s first year racing single seaters after graduating from racing karts.

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