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Lawson, Daruvala and Armstrong link up with new teams for F2 test

by Peter Allen

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull junior Liam Lawson joins Carlin for this week’s Formula 2 test in Abu Dhabi, with fellow race-winners Jehan Daruvala and Marcus Armstrong also finding new berths.

Lawson competed for Hitech GP in his rookie F2 campaign this year, winning the opening race of the season in Bahrain and being denied another victory in Monaco when he was excluded for using the wrong throttle map at the start. He ended up ninth in the standings, having also come close to winning the DTM title at the first attempt.

He will drive for Carlin in the three-day F2 test after making his official Formula 1 debut for Alpha Tauri on Tuesday. Lawson is expected to retain Red Bull support for 2022 and will also have the continued backing of Kiwi supercar manufacturer Rodin. Carlin has already announced Formula 3 graduate Logan Sargeant for next year.

Daruvala has spent the past two seasons racing for Carlin as a Red Bull junior, finishing seventh in this year’s standings, and moves to Prema for the post-season test where he partners the team’s F3 champion Dennis Hauger. Daruvala raced for Prema in F3 himself in 2019, and the Italian team operated his Mumbai Falcons entry in Asian F3 at the start of this year.

Lawson’s place at Hitech will be taken for the test by fellow Kiwi Armstrong, who has so far experienced two difficult seasons in F2 at ART and DAMS respectively. The Ferrari junior was mentored by Hitech team principal Oliver Oakes earlier in his career before signing with Nicolas Todt’s All Road Management. Armstrong’s former F4 team-mate and rival Juri Vips – who tested in F1 with Red Bull on Tuesday – stays with the team with which he finished sixth overall this season.

The final testing line-up confirmed by the publication of the full entry list is that of Van Amersfoort Racing, which takes over HWA’s entry and cars for 2022. Jake Hughes, who contested three of HWA’s final four F2 events, stays on to assist the handover before his car is taken over for the final day by VAR’s Euroformula race winner Cem Bolukbasi. Amaury Cordeel, who failed to score in F3 this year, drives the second car.

With champion Oscar Piastri as well as nearest rivals Robert Shwartzman, Guanyu Zhou and Dan Ticktum all moving on from F2, Theo Pourchaire is the highest-placed 2021 driver staying on for the test. He’s joined at ART by the team’s lead F3 driver and Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti.

While Felipe Drugovich (MP Motorsport), Ralph Boschung (Campos), Roy Nissany (DAMS) and Marino Sato (Virtuosi) are among those already announced to return next season, the Dutch duo of Richard Verschoor and Bent Viscaal are not currently set to appear in the test.

The test will run from Thursday to Saturday with a total of eight sets of medium compound Pirelli tyres allocated to each car.

Additional reporting by Roger Gascoigne

Test entry list
Team No. Driver 2021
Prema 1 Dennis Hauger 1st in FIA F3
2 Jehan Daruvala 7th in F2
Virtuosi 3 Jack Doohan 2nd in FIA F3
4 Marino Sato 21st in F2
Carlin 5 Logan Sargeant 7th in FIA F3
6 Liam Lawson 9th in F2
Hitech 7 Marcus Armstrong 13th in F2
8 Juri Vips 6th in F2
ART 9 Frederik Vesti 4th in FIA F3
10 Theo Pourchaire 5th in F2
MP 11 Felipe Drugovich 8th in F2
12 Clement Novalak 3rd in FIA F3
Charouz 14 Guilherme Samaia 24th in F2
15 Juan Manuel Correa 21st in FIA F3
DAMS 16 Roy Nissany 16th in F2
17 Ayumu Iwasa 12th in FIA F3
Campos 20 Olli Caldwell 8th in FIA F3
21 Ralph Boschung 10th in F2
Van Amersfoort Racing 22 Jake Hughes D1/2 18th in F2
Cem Bolukbasi D3 5th in Euroformula
23 Amaury Cordeel 23rd in FIA F3
Trident 24 Teppei Natori 1st in Super Formula Lights
25 Calan Williams 19th in FIA F3