2017 FIA Formula 2 season preview
The 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship kicks off this weekend at Bahrain International Circuit and there will be a plenty of new faces.
New name of the series and lesser number of cars
This will be the 51st season of the championship that was renamed this year. The former GP2 Series over the years also was called European Formula 2 and International Formula 3000, but whatever was the name, this championship always was the best springboard for the drivers to find their place in the Formula 1 World Championship. Despite the name change, the series will retain the GP2 regulations as originally scheduled.
This season will be the last in which Dallara GP2/11 chassis and Mecachrome 4.0-litre V8 normally aspirated engines will be used. In 2018 new chassis and engine packages will be introduced and it will be interesting see whether that change make the series more attractive.
In 2017 we will see less number of cars on the grid after Carlin decided to leave the series with a wish to concentrate on their Indy Lights program. Hilmer Motorsport was planned to return to the series after missing the 2016 season, but the German team was unable to secure funds for the full season program and was dropped from the championship.
The race format remained unchanged, so there will be two races per weekend. Just like in 2016, a total of 11 rounds will be held but there were some changes. Ten rounds will go on as supporting events of Formula 1 World Championship races, while Jerez Circuit for the first time will host the series as a stand-alone event planned as the penultimate round of the season.
2017 FIA Formula 2 calendar
|April 15/16||Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain|
|May 13/14||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain|
|May 26/27||Circuit de Monaco, Monaco|
|June 24/25||Baku City Circuit, Azerbaijan|
|July 8/9||Red Bull Ring, Austria|
|July 15/16||Silverstone Circuit, Great Britain|
|July 29/30||Hungaroring, Hungary|
|August 26/27||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium|
|September 2/3||Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy|
|October 7/8||Circuito de Jerez, Spain|
|November 25/26||Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates|
Departures, arrivals, and driver line-up changes
Man well-known names from the previous years also left the series, including the reigning champion Pierre Gasly. Mitch Evans, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alex Lynn, Sergey Sirotkin, and Raffaele Marciello are just some of the drivers which got a new opportunity or decided to try their luck at the higher levels of racing.
A couple of new talents will make their debut in the series. The reigning GP3 Series champion Charles Leclerc will drive alongside another Ferrari academy driver Antonio Fuoco for the reigning champions Prema Racing. Alexander Albon, who was the GP3 Series runner-up last year, will drive for ART Grand Prix, the team he drove for last year in the GP3. Nyck De Vries and Ralph Boschung also arrived from the GP3, while Sergio Sette Camara last year raced in the European Formula 3 Championship.
Finally, many drivers changed teams during the off-season. Oliver Rowland moved from MP Motorsport to DAMS while his Renault Sport Academy colleague Louis Deletraz joined Racing Engineering after he left Carlin. Sergio Canamasas also left Carlin to join Trident, Norman Nato returned to Arden after spending a year with Racing Engineering while Gustav Malja switched from Rapax to Racing Engineering.
Talented Italian driver Luca Ghiotto left Trident to join Russian Time team. Jordan King joined MP Motorsport after leaving Racing Engineering and Sean Gelael will drive for Arden after he left Campos Racing.
2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship entry list
|1||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Prema Racing|
|2||Antonio Fuoco||Italy||Prema Racing|
|3||Louis Deletraz||Switzerland||Racing Engineering|
|4||Gustav Malja||Sweden||Racing Engineering|
|5||Luca Ghiotto||Italy||Russian Time|
|6||Artem Markelov||Russia||Russian Time|
|7||Nobuharu Matsushita||Japan||ART Grand Prix|
|8||Alexander Albon||Thailand||ART Grand Prix|
|9||Oliver Rowland||United Kingdom||DAMS|
|11||Ralf Boschung||Switzerland||Campos Racing|
|12||Stefano Coletti||Monaco||Campos Racing|
|14||Sergio Sette Camara||Brazil||MP Motorsport|
|15||Jordan King||United Kingdom||MP Motorsport|
|18||Nyck De Vries||The Netherlands||Rapax|
|20||Norman Nato||France||Pertamina Arden|
|21||Sean Gelael||Indonesia||Pertamina Arden|