Formula Two as a concept had been in existence since the 1940s, although various Championships have existed and since disappeared based on the FIA's various rulebooks. The most recent edition of Formula Two sees drivers use identical Dallara F2 2018 chassis to compete, with the Champion gaining enough Super License points to get a potential seat in Formula One.
The first Formula Two existed as "Formula B", and was the first set of regulations to be codified by the FIA after the Second World War. The regulations would briefly serve the Formula One World Championship during the early 1950s, before falling into obscurity when the first Formula One regulations were finally established. Indeed, F2 would all but disappear until 1967, when a new set of regulations were codified by the FIA to form the European Formula Two Championship.
The 1967 regulations would see F2 adopt a 1.6 litre engine rule, which would last until 1972 with the introduction of a 2.0 litre format. Regardless, F2 had enough prestige to attract some big names from Formula One, most notably Jim Clark whom was killed in a F2 race at the Hockenheimring in 1968. Various future F1 stars would also earn their reputations in the 1.6 litre era, with Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni and Ronnie Peterson all winning the Championship.
For 1972 Formula Two would accept 2.0 litre engined cars, as well as a reinforced rule book to prevent F2 being dominated by Formula One drivers. That allowed more young stars to come through, with future Grand Prix winners Jean-Pierre Jarier, Patrick Depailler, Jacques Laffite and René Arnoux all taking the crown. However, by 1984 the series was beginning to lose relevance, with the FIA creating Formula 3000, in part due to the rising costs of Formula Two.
By 1985 F2 had once again disappeared, with F3000 taking over as the feeder Championship for Formula One, due to the marginally less powerful 3.0 litre engines.
Grand Prix II
In the winter of 2004 Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, and Italian businessman Flavio Briatore proposed a new "Formula Two", dubbed the GP2 Series. The GP2 Series was subsequently adopted by the FIA, replacing F3000 which had become too expensive and irrelevant. GP2 would therefore adopt a simple rule book, with a single chassis, designed by Dallara, a single 4.0 litre V8 built by Mecachrome but badged, due to Briatore's connections, by Renault.
GP2 proved to be a very good concept, with future F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg winning the inaugural Championship in 2005. Furthermore, and unlike its predecessors, GP2 would largely run in support of the Formula One World Championship, meaning that the drivers in the series were on show in front of both fans and F1 teams. Indeed, most F1 teams would subsequently put their junior or development drivers in the series to gain experience, not only of driving a lightweight racing car, but also a Grand Prix weekend.
An Aborted Revival
During GP2's existence there was an FIA backed attempt to revive Formula Two, set up by former European Formula Two Champion Jonathan Palmer, owner of MotorSport Vision. This version of F2 was completely independent of GP2, using Williams built chassis and Audi 1.8 litre, turbocharged engines. However, while budgets for the new F2 were significantly cheaper, the series would never achieve popularity, lasting just four seasons between 2009 and 2012.
In 2017, however, the FIA decided to re-brand the GP2 Series, reviving the old F2 moniker after obtaining the rights to the name. Indeed, not only would F2 take over GP2's teams, drivers and calendar, but it would also continue to use the same Dallara GP2/11 cars designed for GP2. For 2018 Dallara would build an entirely new car, with a smaller capacity, turbocharged, Mecachrome engine.
The FIA Formula Two Championship would become a central part of the FIA's "Global Pathway", a concept designed to refine the path from karting to Formula One. Indeed, F2 became the final step on the ladder to Formula One, with future drivers expected to race in each tier of the ladder to get the best experience prior to joining the F1 circus. Time would tell as to whether the new structure would work, although renaming the GP2 Series to Formula Two was seen as a key step in branding the Pathway.
The first F2 season was staged in 2017, and would see a junior driver from one of the teams in F1 take the crown, complementing the FIA's plans for the series. Indeed, Ferrari Driver Academy racer Charles Leclerc would dominate the first F2 campaign, winning seven races en-route to the crown. He duly moved into Formula One for the 2018 season, with a new wave of F1 backed drivers arriving in the series for 2018.
Rules & Regulations
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 'THE CHAMPIONSHIP', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Guide-to/The-series/, (Accessed 04/09/2018)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tom Howard, 'GP2 Series renamed FIA Formula 2', speedcafe.com, (Speedcafe, 10/03/2017), https://www.speedcafe.com/2017/03/10/gp2-series-renamed-fia-formula-2/, (Accessed 13/06/2018)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 'LECLERC ENDS ON TOP WITH ABU DHABI SPRINT WIN', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 26/11/2017), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2017/11_November/Leclerc-ends-on-top-with-Abu-Dhabi-sprint-win/, (Accessed 12/07/2018)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Spurgeon, Brad, 'Formula One experiments with its minor league', The International Herald Tribune, (01/06/2005), p.22
- ↑ 'F2 reveals new car, confirms halo from 2018', speedcafe.com, (Speedcafe, 01/09/2017), https://www.speedcafe.com/2017/09/01/f2-reveals-new-car-confirms-halo-2018/, (Accessed 13/06/2018)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 'About', formula4.com.au, (CAMS, 2015), http://www.formula4.com.au/?page_id=3852, (Accessed 05/09/2018
- ↑ 'Sauber confirm Leclerc & Ericsson, as Alfa Romeo livery revealed', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 02/12/2017), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2017/12/sauber-confirm-leclerc---ericsson--as-alfa-romeo-livery-revealed.html, (Accessed 02/12/2017)