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Young drivers’ first thoughts about Formula 2’s new car

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photos: Formula Motorsport Ltd

F2’s new car for 2024 was unveiled in the Monza paddock ahead of the penultimate round of the F2 season and FIA F3’s finale. Drivers in both series shared their thoughts about the Dallara F2 2024 with Formula Scout

The Formula 2 drivers

How do you reckon the introduction of the new car will impact you as a sophomore F2 driver, and the challenge of having to learn a new car in the series for a second year in a row?

Victor Martins, ART Grand Prix: Honestly, I don’t know where I will be next year. I will not be in F2 for now, so I cannot confirm anything. I haven’t signed anything yet. I’m not in F2 yet, so I don’t know what I will do. So I don’t know if I will drive this car. But if I drive it by any point, I have been in the past experiencing a new car for a second year. It doesn’t change the approach.

The approach is always to work with the best quality with the team I will be at and to push and to understand as soon as possible what are the key points about the car. But in the end, I have the confidence that any car can suit me or suit my driving style because I believe that I have good adaptation.

Kush Maini, Campos Racing: First of all, the car looks nice, and it looks quite slick, it looks closer to a Formula 1 car. Honestly, I learned this car really quick [stepping up] from Formula 3, so I’m not too worried about adapting to a new car if I do F2 again. I think the engine will be the same as this year [but in an evolved form], so that’s a familiar thing. Excited to see the speed and everything that car can do.

Jak Crawford, Hitech GP: I don’t think it will be too hard. I mean, the tyres are the same, wheels are the same, the engine is the same, so I don’t think it will be too bad. Obviously, the aerodynamics and mechanical balance and chassis and stuff like that is different, but we have the test days to adapt to it and I don’t think there’ll be too much of an issue.

I think there’s so much to take [in]. At the end of the day, when you move up from F3 to F2, the main things to get used to are the weights and the engine power, which is staying the same or even increasing. So, I think it actually gives an advantage to probably second-year drivers even though some may think it’s a clean slate.

Ollie Bearman, Prema: I guess it levels the playing field slightly, but I’ve grabbed a lot of experience this year, not just about driving an F2 car. The fact is that the racing and the races aren’t going to change that much. We still have the same format and everything like that. It’s the mental side that I’ve learned a lot this year, and obviously that will stay. Of course, we have to learn a new car, but I prefer it like that, it’s another new thing to do.

How comfortable are you with the current F2 car now after 22 races in your rookie season, and what are your first impressions of the car that will be used in 2024?

Bearman: It depends weekend by weekend. But I feel like especially these past three weekends where we’ve had the car really in a good window on Friday, I’ve really had the confidence to put it on the front row, even pole, since then. But it’s not always the same. I had confidence in the car already on day one in Abu Dhabi. But obviously it depends on a lot of factors and it seems like we’ve found something that’s working.

About the new car, it looks quite nice. Hopefully it’s a bit faster. That’s always fun. Hopefully we can follow and have good racing as well.

Roman Stanek, Trident: It’s different every race. But we have a good car for this weekend, I think you can also see on the times. And the new car is good. It looks fast. I hope it will be faster, so the DRS effect will be I think much more than we have now. So we can expect some more overtakes than now.

The FIA Formula 3 drivers

Does F2 introducing the Dallara F2 2024 next season make it a good year for you to step up to the series as everyone will have a new car to learn? Or would being a rookie be a diasvantage next year, particularly in early rounds, because you can’t lean on the team or other drivers’ experience of the car?

Dino Beganovic, Prema (6th in F3 standings, rookie season): Nothing is decided yet, nothing is decided what the plan for next year [is]. But it will be interesting with the new car to see. I’m sure the team, Prema, will adapt super fast because they are experts in this when it comes to a new car. But we will have to wait and see when the decisions are taken.

I don’t really think [I’d be at a disadvantage] because normally one of my stronger points is to adapt and I feel like I came into the F3 championship strong and I felt straight away good with the car. So, no, that’s not something I think.

Zak O’Sullivan, Prema (2nd in F3 standings, second season): It’s tricky to say [if being an F2 rookie would be a disadvantage in 2024]. It can be taken as potential or a potential disadvantage. Obviously everyone is in the same boat car-wise, a new car for everyone. I would say driving-wise, a new car, everyone is in a bit more of a level playing field. So I’d say it’s less of an advantage for second-year drivers with a new car.

Paul Aron, Prema (3rd in F3 standings, rookie season): For sure [F2 is an option for 2024]. If you look at all the drivers in the top five currently in F3, I think they all have a thought about going into F2, and the new car will be an advantage for the rookies, I would say, because nobody has experience with it.

So coming in as a rookie, it levels the playing field a little bit, but at the same time, none of the teams have experience with the car either. So it’s a bit of a risk on one hand, but on the other hand if you’re in the right team and you are able to understand the car quickly, you can make a bigger difference. So it certainly has its ups and downs, and I think it will be interesting to see how it goes next year in F2, and I would love the opportunity to be part of it.

In the end, it’s the same for everybody. Always going into a championship as a rookie, it’s a bit of a disadvantage obviously because you don’t know the car, you don’t know the championship and so on. But understanding cars and doing the set-up off of feeling is a strong point of mine. I’m usually quite good at understanding what the car needs and what I need.

And on the other hand, with a new car, you as a driver start to develop it together with the team, which means you can straight away set it up to your driving style. For example, this year, when we came into the car, at the beginning of the year, why we were struggling was because the car was not suiting me well, and I was able to guide the team to set up the car to my liking. Basically with the new car you develop it from zero, so that means you as a driver have a chance to set it up to your liking straight away and there isn’t already a base done by other drivers who might have a different driving style.