Why You Should be Following F2

Why You Should be Following F2

By Dariana Almeyda

There is nothing quite as electrifying as the feeling of possibility–the sensation that anything and everything is just within your reach if you dare to reach out and grab it. That is the allure of Formula 2.

A spec series designed as the ultimate launch pad for Formula 1’s next set of world-class drivers, the F2 paddock buzzes with possibility. Young drivers from around the world compete for the opportunity to showcase their talent in the crowned jewel of F1’s driver recruitment. With eleven teams and twenty two drivers, Formula 2 provides the ideal landscape for major teams to scout and nurture the promising young drivers of the sport’s future. Teams like RedBull, Alpine, Ferrari, and Williams invest their resources in identifying drivers with the most potential and sponsoring them through their F2 season with the hope that one of those drivers will be their next champion. The number of former F2 drivers on the 2022 F1 grid serves as the greatest testament for the value of Formula 2 (if it was ever in question). Drivers are hungry to not only prove their worth, but to expand on their potential. Formula 2 drivers all pilot the same car and engine, providing an equal playing field that cultivates closer, more dramatic racing. The aerodynamics on F2 cars are a bit simpler compared to the technology in F1, allowing drivers to more easily follow the car in front of them. This combination of “simplified” aerodynamics and equalized machinery results in significantly more overtakes and the ideal conditions for young drivers to define their driving style, refine their race craft, and focus on building the soft skills needed to keep their cool in high pressure environments: patience, poise, and professionalism.  

A typical Formula 2 race weekend consists of two major races: a Sprint Race on Saturday and a longer race on Sunday–called a Feature Race. There’s a thirty minute qualifying session on Friday that sets the starting grid for the Feature Race on Sunday. The results for the top ten drivers in Friday’s qualifying session are then reversed to set the starting grid for the Sprint Race on Saturday. The reverse grid gives drivers who don’t have the pace in qualifying on Friday an opportunity to fight at the front during the Sprint Race on Saturday. There’s a mandatory pitstop during the Feature Race where teams must change all four tires on each car. Here, tire strategy becomes one of the only areas of significant individuality in the otherwise equally constructed series. Points are awarded to the driver that wins pole position in the qualifying session on Friday, the top ten drivers in the Sprint Race on Saturday, and the top ten drivers in the Feature Race on Sunday. This seemingly condensed race weekend provides the perfect fast-paced environment for drivers to demonstrate their race craft and practice the 24/7 lifestyle of constant focus and preparation associated with being a race car driver. 

It’s no secret that the growth of Formula 1 in the United States of America comes as a result of intentional media exposure (think: Drive to Survive, content creators, celebrities on track, Liberty Media, more team-produced content, etc.). As one of the only American drivers in the F2-to-F1 pipeline, Logan Sargeant can easily become the most tangible bridge between the USA and the world of F1. Sargeant is the perfect example of how F2 begins to lay the foundation for the next generation of drivers, fans, engineers, content creators, and sponsors to carry the torch in the most global sport on Earth. Fans from around the world can rally around their favorite drivers in a way that the sport has never seen before. The 24/7 fandom applies not just to the well loved world of Formula 1, but to the other series’ and driver’s that promise that same thrill of an international high speed chase.

While much of the fanfare surrounding Formula 2 is the promise of catching a glimpse of Formula 1’s next World Champion, these drivers have established themselves as racing stars in their own right. Regardless of any association with Formula 1, the racing that happens on track between each team and their respective drivers is just that: racing. They cultivate their own following, their own branding, their own perception of nationhood in a global sport. The racing that happens on track is perhaps the purest showcase of dedication and possibility. F2 drivers sacrifice what we might call a “normal” childhood for something that is very much outside of the general public’s perception of “normal.” To dedicate their lives to racing in the same way someone might dedicate their time to pursuing a career in medicine or higher education requires each driver to be thrust into the limelight in a way we as fans will never understand. We’ve heard stories of drivers leaving home at fifteen to move across the globe in the hopes that they’ll get recruited for a sport as cut throat as it is alluring. All of this vulnerability is displayed on such a public stage and yet we can’t quite put a finger on why F2 (the series and the drivers) isn’t getting the followers it deserves.

Each F2 race on the calendar aligns with some of F1’s most iconic races: Imola, Monaco, Silverstone, Austria, and Spa-Francorchamps are just a handful of the circuits on this season’s calendar. This schedule allows for fans to attend each F2 race and still watch the Formula 1 weekend unfold. What’s better than a weekend of full-on racing? Maybe the gritty intimacy that follows F2 in the same way a new romance leaves you feeling giddy at the mere mention of an inside joke or a fond memory. Where F1 oozes luxury, F2 oozes promise: the promise of success and failure, of growth and hardship, of beautiful landscapes and horrifying crashes. I suppose in both series’ we can strip away the breathtaking scenery and screaming fans and be left with the same thing: humans doing what they love.

Back to blog