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F2 drivers unbothered by restricted practice time compared to F1

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Following comments by Formula 1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali and Mercedes driver George Russell, Formula 2 drivers have weighed in on the debate about practice time on grand prix weekends.

Domenicali said he supported reducing F1’s practice time from the current format of three sessions consisting of an hour each, while Russell believes “I don’t think it’s right that F1 has three times the amount of practice” of F2 and Formula 3.

“They should be the ones to get more practice, also because they’re doing less races, they don’t get to test that often,” he said.

At events where F2 and F3 are supporting F1, they each get a single practice session on Friday lasting 45 minutes. That time can be reduced by red flags, and drivers often run on a different tyre compound to what they will use in qualifying later in the day.

All of F2 and F3’s rounds this year are on the F1 support bill, and at the most recent round in Melbourne the leading qualifiers in F2 were asked for their takes on the debate about the value of practice time across the three series on track.

“I mean, it’s not easy in F2 when you have only 45 minutes to learn a track. But that’s part of our job,” said ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire. “And we can see some qualities in some drivers.

“I’m sure there’s a big, big step between F1 and F2. They have three free practices, we have only one of 45 minutes. But it’s like this, we need to adapt ourselves. So it’s tough, but as I said we can see where are the good drivers. You need to adapt quickly to every condition, so it’s not easy. But it’s good.”

DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa added: “I’m almost the same as Theo. I think it’s really good format at the moment. That’s what I’m feeling. Having quite small free practice is I think showing quite a lot of differences between the drivers.”

Pourchaire’s team-mate Victor Martins, the only rookie among the three, said: “I like it because I like to push straight away. I’m quite good on the first laps, when you have no experience, you don’t know the track and you need to go right on the limit straight away.

“I think it shows the talent of the drivers, so I wouldn’t change anything. Because I think the young categories are there to detect the best drivers in the world. So I think if we want to be in F1, we need to show that kind of potential and that talent. So I think it’s good.”