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Formula 2 wants to shorten gap between its final rounds

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula 2

Formula 2 is looking at holding a round between Formula 1’s final European race in September and November’s Abu Dhabi season finale for future campaigns.

The removal of the Russian Grand Prix from F1’s 2022 calendar meant F2 had a gap of over two months between its final two rounds at Monza and Yas Marina Circuit. The scheduling of the cancelled Sochi round had initially meant a two-month break between races was avoided for the first time since 2018.

F2’s promoter Bruno Michel was asked in a recent press session about his unhappiness with the current situation, with a break of 81 days between Monza and Yas Marina this year, and whether supporting other F1 races could be a solution.

“I’m not happy with that [gap],” he said. “Because either we have a winner already three months before the end of the season, or otherwise we don’t have a winner, but everybody forgets in the meantime what’s at stake for the last race.

“So it’s not good. And that’s what we had already last year. Of course, we’re looking at different possibilities to try to get some races in the middle, but that’s also coming in to the cost equation that we were talking about.

“We have already five flyaways in F2, and we want to be careful that we don’t end with too many of them.”

The 2023 season begins with races at Bahrain and Jeddah, then a first-ever trip to Melbourne. A fourth flayway in Baku follows before the series supports F1’s European leg of nine events over a three-and-a-half month period.

“Not only it’s a question of freight and tickets, but it’s also a question of logistics [joining flyaway events],” Michel added.

“It’s more expensive to do that, more flyaways, for sure. And we’re looking at how we can do that. That will depend, of course, on what the F1 calendar will look like for 2024. So that we can try to avoid such a long time, because I agree with [the question], it’s not good, and we’re not happy about it.”

F2 plugged the two-month gap in 2017 by organising a standalone event at Jerez, and in 2015 its predecessor series GP2 supported the World Endurance Championship at Bahrain in November as a replacement for a cancelled German round.

GP2 stayed at Bahrain for extra races a week after its grand prix in 2012, and politial instability in the country in 2011 led to two GP2 Asia rounds there being cancelled and a trip to Imola in Italy being hastily organised to replace them.

F1 visits East Asia, the Middle East, North and South America after the European leg of its calendar, and its primary feeder series have raced at the several of the flayway venues in the past.

GP2 supported the 2012 and ’13 Singapore Grand Prix, GP2 Asia pre-empted F1 by visting Qatar’s Losail circuit in 2009 and International Formula 3000 – the series which GP2 replaced – supported the 2001 and ’02 Brazilian grands prix.

Standalone events for F1’s primary feeder series
Year Series Circuit Supporting
2017 F2 Jerez
2015 GP2 Bahrain Bahrain 6 Hours (WEC)
2012 GP2 Bahrain
2011 GP2 Asia Imola
2011 GP2 Asia Yas Marina Circuit Yas V8 400 (V8 Supercars)
2010 GP2 Asia Bahrain Desert 400 (V8 Supercars)
2010 GP2 Asia Yas Marina Circuit
2009 GP2 Algarve Algarve 2 Hours (FIA GT)
2009 GP2 Asia Bahrain & Losail Speedcar
2008 GP2 Asia Dubai Autodrome (x3), Sentul Speedcar
2007 GP2 Valencia Ricardo Tormo
2006 GP2 Valencia Ricardo Tormo
2005 GP2 Bahrain
1998 Int. F3000 Enna-Pergusa (Mediterranean GP)
1998 Int. F3000 Pau (Pau GP)
1998 Int. F3000 Silverstone British Empire Trophy (FIA GT)
1998 Int. F3000 Oschersleben Oschersleben 500 (FIA GT)