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Formula Scout predicts the 2024 Formula 2 season

by Formula Scout
Predicting the pecking order in Formula 2 is about much more than simply ranking the talent on show. These are the drivers the Formula Scout team thinks will be in the mix

Contributions from Alejandro Alonso (AA), Ida Wood (IW), Peter Allen (PA), Roger Gascoigne (RG).

10. Jak Crawford DAMS
Test pace 2nd (100.123%)   long run 6th (100.740%)    2023: 13th in F2, 28th in FRegional Middle East

Photo: DAMS

IW (6th): Crawford has left Red Bull’s junior ranks for Aston Martin’s, which he may see as a more direct route for getting into a Formula 1 seat. Of course when it comes to seat time, Crawford has had plenty of it at all levels of single-seaters through his teenaged years and he usually reaps the rewards of it. His five podiums in F2 last year equated to half of his points finishes, so he needs to add consistency to his proven pace.

AA (10th): Pace in pre-season testing was promising for Crawford and his DAMS team. However, the French squad has struggled too often in the past to consider performance is guaranteed throughout a whole season. The American also needs to polish several aspects after an inconsistent rookie season, where he was fast and scored good results at times but also went points-free on different occasions for several reasons. Based on driver and team’s historic results, the first half of the season might be crucial towards the final classification.

9. Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport
Test pace 12th (100.905%)   long run 13th (101.158%)    2023: Super Formula champion, Super GT champion

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

PA (5th): Miyata’s F2 move is certainly an intriguing one. Regardless of how strong he was in Super Formula, there will be some adapting to do to this category’s particular nuances, and the testing times suggest he might not necessarily be immediately at the front in Bahrain, where his team has traditionally been strong. But Miyata is a fast learner and once those early lessons are paired with his experience and ability, it will surely not be long before he is up there.

IW (8th): To be honest I’m still questioning why Miyata has returned to junior single-seaters after becoming SF champion, and if the goal here is not to land himself an F1 seat in 2025 then I’m not sure what a year in F2 is going to do to help his career. Because of his past accomplishments he has to be considered a driver capable of being in the top 10 in the F2 standings regardless of his team’s competitivity and his lack of knowledge of European circuits.

8. Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix
Test pace 7th (100.651%)   long run 16th (101.477%)    2023: 2nd in FIA F3 Championship

Photo: Williams Racing

AA (6th): O’Sullivan has been fast since day one of his car racing career. Last season was a bit of a disappointment given the expectations, but he was still able to become FIA Formula 3 Championship runner-up with four race victories to his name. In 2024, he will go up against Victor Martins, who is definitely one of the strongest drivers of the F2 field. He will also have to adapt to a team with completely different working methods. Hopefully he can put in practice everything he learned from the many times he struggled last year, and that should mean he will be regularly in the fight for points and podiums.

IW (11th): ART GP is a perennial F2 frontrunner, but it’s not unheard of for big talents driving for the team to finish outside of the top 10 in the standings. While some rate O’Sullivan highly following his F3 success, he’s such an efficiently quiet operator that he’s never stood out for me despite his proven winning ability at every level so far in his career. I can absolutely foresee him finishing 11th this year but being in the title fight in 2025.

7. Isack Hadjar Campos Racing
Test pace 4th (100.414%)   long run 1st (100%)   2023: 14th in F2, 7th in FIA F3 World Cup

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

AA (8th): Campos already made a significant step forward in its performance in F2 in 2023, and based on testing data one could say that positive trend has continued into 2024. Hadjar meanwhile had a quiet rookie season, but shone in this year’s pre-season with his new team. It is definitely a make or break season for the Frenchman, and succeeding with a team that is not among the regular frontrunners could bring his career back to where it was in the first half of his sole FIA F3 campaign.

IW (10th): Hadjar may have impressed a lot in pre-season testing, but he’s a driver who I think still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to execution on race weekends. Red Bull hasn’t guided his development as well as it could, but if he’s given a car with the potential for pole or victories then he has the ability to deliver on that. But at Campos that may be only once or twice this year, so he’ll have to juggle those highs with the mental strain of often being a midfielder.

6. Gabriel Bortoleto Virtuosi Racing
Test pace 6th (100.638%)   long run 4th (100.717%)    2023: FIA F3 champion

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

IW (5th): My pick to be the top rookie in F2 this year. His numbers looked very good in pre-season, both for pace and productivity since he did 168 laps and plenty of long runs. Already a protege of Fernando Alonso, he’s now a McLaren junior too and being able to lean on both parties for support at grand prix could prove very advantageous.

AA (7th): Bortoleto impressed the paddock with his maturity and working ethics that earned him the FIA F3 title in 2023, and there is no reason to think he can’t enjoy a strong rookie F2 season as well. His team has performed well at almost every track in the past seasons, and it didn’t seem to be far off in testing. Therefore he should be part of a close group of drivers who will fight for each inch of asphalt as they aim to claim some silverware.

5. Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport
Test pace 1st (100%)   long run 11th (100.954%)  2023: 10th in F2, 8th in FIA F3 World Cup

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

AA (3rd): Maloney’s rookie season had very high ups, but also very low downs. His 96 points came from just eight races (meaning 17 non-scores), and four of those results were feature race podiums. Last year his qualifying pace punished him, but he is confident that will not be the case again in 2024. Returning for a second season together, he and Rodin (previously known as Carlin) have a perfect chance to build on what was already a good, and fast, base last year. Adding consistency could be all they need to spray champagne every race weekend.

PA (4th): Maloney seems to divide opinion to a surprising degree. Even though his F3 speed in 2022 might have flattered him a little, there were also signs last year as an F2 rookie of how capable he can be – although there were plenty of off days too. Staying with the same team, albeit under a new name, he’s set the pace in both old and new machinery in winter testing. It would be foolish to use that to call him a title favourite – I’m not sure the consistency will be there for a season-long challenge – but he does look best of the rest.

4. Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport
Test pace 11th (100.802%)   long run 10th (100.915%)   2023: 8th in F2, 2nd in FIA F3 World Cup, 12th in Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

PA (6th): Hauger needs to do better in his third year in F2, but it’s hard to see where that improvement will come from. He clearly feels comfortable with MP Motorsport, having opted to stay there for another season. And in principle this combination has everything needed to succeed, with the 2021 F3 champion and the team behind the ‘22 F2 champion. Yet something just didn’t seem to click last year, and both have to hope the new car can make the difference.

IW (1st): Hauger was inflicted by bad luck in 2023, although it was not always as impactful as just a pure lack of pace that he and the team suffered on some weekends. As a third-year F2 driver with four wins to his name, he is in a situation like Theo Pourchaire last year where he still has something to prove – particularly to the F1 world – and winning the title is the bare minimum he needs to achieve. I think he’s capable of it, although he was behind his rookie team-mate in pre-season testing.

3. Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema
Test pace 20th (102.075%)   long run 20th (101.575%)   2023: FRegional Europe champion, FRME champion

Photo: Prema

PA (3rd): The hype around Antonelli has been off the scale over recent weeks, which hasn’t been particularly comfortable to see. Even if there’s agreement that he’s the most talented driver in the field, to suggest this will automatically result in him winning the championship is naive and potentially irresponsible. Modern F2 just simply doesn’t work that way. His speed should be just fine, but like any rookie there will surely be a few dropped points along the way, particularly in early rounds. If more experienced rivals capitalise as they should, it could be hard to recover ground. If they don’t, Antonelli could get his opportunity and he won’t hesitate to take it.

AA (4th): Despite having a good amount of testing days in the Dallara GP2 11 under his belts, it cannot be forgotten that Antonelli was a Formula Regional European Championship racer just four months ago. Expectations might have been set too high for this highly talented rookie and that could play against him. Pre-season testing performance should not be taken much into consideration in his case given that there were plenty of things for him to get acquainted with in just three days. Time will tell, but handling off-track factors might be the actual challenge for him in 2024.

2. Victor Martins ART Grand Prix
Test pace 8th (100.661%)   long run 7th (100.760%)   2023: 5th in F2

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

AA (1st): Martins proved in 2023 that he had nothing to envy his champion team-mate Theo Pourchaire for. As a rookie, he made mistakes, but he learned from them and was fast and consistent from round six onwards. The Frenchman has lots of races under his belt, works tirelessly and has raw speed. The bond with his team is also strong, which is crucial to succeed at this level. He is definitely a title favourite and winning it should be in his hand.

IW (3rd): If we get title contenders from multiple teams this year, then Martins will no doubt be in the thick of it. But I can’t see him emerging from such a fight as champion, even if the battle goes down to the final race. There’s recognition from within ART GP that Martins needs to raise his game and be on top from the off to pose a serious title threat, and the team has not been making any noises that suggests it thinks it will be starting the season in front of its opposition.

1. Ollie Bearman Prema
Test pace 21st (102.178%)   long run 15th (101.452%)   2023: 6th in F2

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

PA (1st): If Bearman is at his best, he should end the year as champion. But second seasons in F2 have proved tougher than expected for many a talented driver, and he won’t want to lose any of the peak pace he showed in 2023 while looking for the consistency that was missing last year. Seeing his title-winning engineer Antoine Okla leave for McLaren is not ideal amid the introduction of a new car, and Antonelli is a daunting team-mate to have, but Bearman has the speed and maturity to control his destiny.

AA (2nd): Bearman may be the fastest driver of the 2024 F2 class, but that is no guarantee to win this series. A new race engineer, a promising team-mate and a potential F1 seat on the horizon could either get the Briton to extract the best out of himself or distract him a bit too much. Speed was there already last year, but he often made mistakes as well and lost the rookie honours to Martins as a consequence. Focusing on himself and handling the pressure could be the keys to his success.