5 Formula 2 Drivers To Watch In 2024

Gettyimages 1411839151
Gettyimages 1411839151

Formula 2, the stepping stone to Formula 1, remains a fiercely competitive battleground where young talents showcase their skills and vie for the coveted championship. As the 2024 season unfolds, the motorsport community eagerly awaits the emergence of drivers poised to leave an indelible mark on the series. Now that pre season testing has come to a close, we shine a spotlight on five Formula 2 drivers to watch in 2024 that will captivate fans and make significant strides in the pursuit of progression to Formula 1.

5 Formula 2 Drivers to Watch in 2024

Zane Maloney – Rodin Motorsport

Zane Maloney continued to set the pace in the final day of the Sakhir pre-season test, as the Rodin Motorsport driver set a 1:42.468 late in the afternoon session to top the timesheets.

Maloney was consistently near or at the top of the times on the second day of pre-season testing in Sakhir, with the Rodin Motorsport driver ending up fastest overall.

Maloney, who is preparing for his second F2 campaign with Rodin Motorsport, finished his rookie campaign 10th in the Drivers’ Championship after taking four podiums across the season.

Prior to F2, Maloney starred in FIA Formula 3, competing for the 2022 title, and taking three Feature Race victories in his one and only season in the Championship, ultimately ending up as runner up in the Standings by five points. Maloney will become a Reserve Driver for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber in 2024 alongside joining the Sauber Academy driver development programme for the upcoming season.

Jak Crawford – DAMS Lucas Oil

Jak Crawford ended the final day of pre-season testing in second position but that didn’t leave him downbeat in the desert. Across all three days of testing in Sakhir, the DAMS Lucas Oil driver was a consistent presence at or near the top of the timing screens.

Crawford made the move to the French team over the winter break and is learning quickly in his new surroundings. During the event, Crawford was announced as the latest recruit at the Aston Martin Formula 1 team, joining the British outfit’s Driver Development Programme.

Jak Crawford arrives at DAMS on the back of a learning year as a Formula 2 rookie. The American scored five podiums in 2023 including a maiden F2 victory and best result that, came in the Spielberg Sprint Race.

Four of those podiums came in Sprints and it wasn’t until Zandvoort’s Feature Race that he secured P3 on a Sunday after starting the race from pole. Crawford was perhaps unlucky to not convert that pole position into race victory after a Safety Car arrived at a crucial point in the race, allowing those on the alternative strategy to benefit and jump ahead of Crawford.

It was a marked step in a rookie campaign peppered with misfortune and retirements, something he will be keen to address this time around with the French team. A rise in level of consistency will reward Crawford with much more regular high-scoring finishes, something he has proven capable of in his career thus far.

Dennis Hauger – MP Motorsport

Dennis Hauger topped the first test session of the year, setting a 1:53.175 for MP Motorsport to end up fastest of all on a day dominated by rain.

During the two seasons of F2 racing so far, Hauger has notched up four race victories, four fastest laps and eight podium finishes, with two wins and four podiums coming in the 2023 campaign.

Before joining F2, Hauger rose through the ranks enjoying plenty of success. Finishing his maiden single seater season fourth in British F4, he completed a dual effort in 2019 across Italian and ADAC Formula 4. He finished second in the latter and won the Italian Championship in dominant fashion, taking 12 wins and 16 podiums.

From there, he graduated to FIA Formula 3 in 2020, finishing his rookie season 17th before returning in 2021 to win the Championship ahead of his F2 promotion.

Victor Martins – ART

On one side of the garage ART have Martins, who produced a stellar debut season in Formula 2, with 150 points he accumulated across the year enough to see him finish fifth in the Standings.The Alpine Academy Driver was extremely competitive throughout the year, tying Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti, who finished second in the Championship, for the most podiums with 10 – which includes his impressive victory in the Silverstone Feature Race.

But despite his impressive pace and performances, Martins’ title challenge never quite gathered enough steam as a few unfortunate incidents, especially in the early part of the season, put him on the back foot. also know that he has previous for putting together championship winning seasons, having won the Formula 3 title just two years ago. We he know that if he can build on the experience gained from last year, paired with his and the team’s pace, a sustained title challenge should be the target.

Martins’ relationship with ART extends back to 2020 and has proven a successful one with the Frenchman having won his first championship with the team in the Formula Renault Eurocup that year – winning seven races to go along with 14 podiums that season.

He reunited with the team in 2022 for his second campaign in FIA Formula 3, and enjoyed a successful year as he became ART’s first F3 champion in the modern era after coming out on top in a tight championship battle.

Martins now returns for a second go round in F2 after enjoying a stellar first year in 2023, one which saw him earn the prize of the best rookie.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Oliver Bearman – PREMA Racing

With two Teams’ Championships and three Drivers’ titles to their name, PREMA Racing are statistically the most successful team in Formula 2 history. But the Venetian outfit have not won either championship since 2021, despite achieving 13 of their 36 wins during that period.

Oliver Bearman is back for a second go round with the team, while they also welcome onboard Mercedes protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli. But do they have what it takes to ensure PREMA return to their title-winning ways?.

Bearman entered the F2 paddock last year with a stellar résumé, having won both the Italian and ADAC Formula 4 Championships in 2021. He also narrowly lost out on the Formula 3 title in 2022 as a rookie – with Victor Martins beating him to the crown.

He then played a starring role in his first year in F2, with the Scuderia Ferrari Driver Academy member’s four wins the second most behind teammate Frederik Vesti’s six. He also tied Martins for the most pole positions with three and scored six podiums, which was the fourth most on the grid. Graduating to the second tier in 2023, he delivered an impressive rookie campaign, earning four wins and three pole positions to finish sixth overall. How will the call up as Ferrari an Haas reserve driver help with the progress of the promising Brit?.

As for Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old is still fairly new to single seater racing having only made the move from karting in 2021. But his rise over the last three years meant that PREMA and Mercedes felt comfortable to promote the Italian ace to Formula 2 for this season.

Since 2021, he has won five titles, three of those have been with PREMA, including the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships. He won both at a canter, scoring 22 wins in his 35 races across both categories.

But Formula 2 is a big step, and it would be understandable if Antonelli took some time to adjust to the change in surroundings, although his previous successes show that he does not take long to get up to speed.

What will ease the transition is that he is doing it with a team that he has called his “second family.” In what will be unknown territory, making the move in a familiar environment could be extremely helpful.

Additionally, taking part on all three days of the post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit last year, as well as the shakedown of the 2024 car should help. With the huge news of Lewis Hamilton departing Mercedes for the 2025 season, many in the know have spoke about the possibility of Antonelli making the huge leap to the F1 giants in 2025 supporting George Russell, this of course depends hugely on his success this season.

The Dynamics of the 2024 Formula 2 Season

As these five drivers prepare for the challenges of the 2024 Formula 2 season, several dynamics will shape the narrative of this highly competitive championship. The interplay of talent, team strategies, and the ability to navigate the technical intricacies of the race cars will determine who emerges as the frontrunners in the quest for the championship title.

Team Dynamics and Development

The role of the team is pivotal in Formula 2, where drivers not only showcase their individual talents but also collaborate closely with their respective teams to optimize car performance. Each of the mentioned drivers is aligned with a team known for its developmental prowess and success in grooming talents for higher tiers of motorsport.

The synergy between the driver and the team, including race engineers, strategists, and mechanics, plays a crucial role in navigating the complexities of a Formula 2 campaign. The ability to communicate effectively, provide valuable feedback on car setup, and adapt to the team’s development trajectory is paramount for success.

Technical Advancements and Car Performance

Formula 2, like Formula 1, relies heavily on technical advancements and the performance of the race cars. The 2024 season is likely to bring innovations and upgrades to the machinery, influencing the competitive landscape. The drivers’ ability to adapt quickly to new technical developments and extract optimal performance from the cars will be a key determinant of success.

Understanding the nuances of aerodynamics, tire management, and race strategy becomes imperative in a series where margins are often razor-thin. The collaboration between the technical team and the drivers in fine-tuning the car’s setup can make a significant difference in the highly competitive environment of Formula 2.

Consistency vs. Racecraft Brilliance

Formula 2 demands a delicate balance between consistency and racecraft brilliance. While podium finishes and race victories are undoubtedly important, consistency in accumulating points throughout the season is equally vital for championship contention. Drivers need to navigate the fine line between calculated risk-taking and minimizing errors that could prove costly in the championship standings.

The ability to adapt to different circuits, varying weather conditions, and the unique challenges posed by each race weekend showcases the maturity of a driver. As these five drivers aim to leave an indel

ible mark in the 2024 season, their approach to balancing consistency with standout performances will be a storyline worth following. The interplay between strategic decision-making and on-track aggression will shape each driver’s journey and contribute to the overall excitement of the Formula 2 championship.

Impact of External Factors and Rising Competition

External factors, inherent to the unpredictability of motorsport, can play a decisive role in the Formula 2 championship. Unexpected incidents during races, variable weather conditions, and the competitive nature of the grid contribute to the complexity of the series. How drivers respond to unforeseen challenges, make strategic decisions, and adapt during races will be a testament to their resilience and skill.

Moreover, the rising competition within Formula 2 adds another layer of excitement. The grid comprises a diverse range of talents, each eager to make their mark and progress further in their racing careers. The battles on the track will not only be against the clock but also against a formidable field of competitors. The ability to consistently outperform rivals and rise to the top in such a competitive environment is a hallmark of a future Formula 1 contender.

The Road Ahead: Formula 1 Aspirations and Beyond

For these five drivers, the 2024 Formula 2 season is a critical juncture in their racing journeys. While the immediate goal is championship success in Formula 2, the ultimate aspiration for many is a progression to Formula 1 – the pinnacle of motorsport. Historically, Formula 2 has served as a launching pad for numerous Formula 1 stars, and the 2024 season presents an opportunity for these drivers to stake their claim.

Scouting Eyes and Team Alliances

The Formula 1 fraternity closely monitors the performances of Formula 2 drivers, seeking the next generation of talents to bolster their teams. Each driver on this watchlist has the potential to attract the attention of Formula 1 team principals and scouts. Alignments with junior programs, such as Sauber for Zane Maloney, Victor Martins with Alpine and Aston Martin for Jak Crawford, provide additional pathways to Formula 1.

Scouts look beyond race results; they evaluate a driver’s adaptability, resilience, and ability to contribute to the overall development of a Formula 1 team. As these drivers aim to shine in the 2024 season, their performances will be scrutinized not just for their immediate success but also for their potential impact in the premier racing series.

Development as Drivers and Personal Growth

Formula 2 represents a critical phase in the development of racing drivers. Beyond the pursuit of championship glory, the experiences gained in Formula 2 contribute significantly to a driver’s growth. The demanding race calendar, exposure to diverse tracks, and the intense competition foster a rapid learning curve. The ability to handle the pressure, collaborate with the team, and showcase consistent improvement are crucial elements of a driver’s development.

Furthermore, the personal growth that occurs during a Formula 2 campaign is invaluable. The resilience forged through challenging moments, the camaraderie within the team, and the exposure to the global racing community shape these drivers not only as racers but as individuals. The Formula 2 journey is a transformative experience that prepares them for the rigors of a potential Formula 1 career.

Conclusion

As the 2024 Formula 2 season kicks off, the motorsport world is poised for a thrilling spectacle featuring such extraordinary talents. Each driver brings a unique blend of skill, determination, and potential to the grid, setting the stage for intense battles and captivating storylines throughout the championship.

The dynamics of Formula 2, with its emphasis on talent development, strategic racing, and the pursuit of Formula 1 aspirations, create an environment where drivers are not only competing for individual success but also for the opportunity to join the elite ranks of motorsport. The 2024 season is a pivotal chapter in their racing narratives, and the impact of their performances will resonate far beyond the checkered flags.

As fans, pundits, and team principals observe the twists and turns of this exciting championship. The grid is set, the engines roar to life, and the quest for Formula 2 supremacy begins – a journey that holds the promise of future racing legends emerging on the global stage.

How does our choice of five Formula 2 drivers to watch in 2024 match up with your predictions?

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