Why success in Formula 3 isn’t guaranteed in Formula 2

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 24: Jack Doohan of Australia and Virtuosi Racing (3) and Ayumu Iwasa of Japan and DAMS (17) lead the field into turn one at the start during the Round 9:Le Castellet Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Following a successful season in Formula 3, drivers typically graduate to Formula 2. However, most tend to struggle with the transition.

Formula 2 and Formula 3 are feeder series that help nurture young drivers in their pursuit to reach Formula 1. Drivers work their way through the junior ranks to gather enough Super Licence points and experience to put themselves in contention for a seat in F1.

Some Formula 1 drivers have made the transition from Formula 3 to 2 look easy. Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, George Russell & Oscar Piastri all won both back-to-back championships in their rookie seasons. While the most recent example, Dennis Hauger struggled in F2 after arriving as the 2021 Formula 3 Champion. He endured a subpar debut season in Formula 2 finishing tenth in the standings.

The difference between F3 and F2

There are several differences between the two cars that equate to the shift in performance. Firstly, the speed and weight of the car. An F3 car weighs 550kg with the driver inside whereas it weighs 755kg in F2. The maximum speed an F3 car can is 300 km/h compared to F2 at 335 km/h.

Formula 2 cars use a V6 3.4-liter engine which is closer to the engine used in F1, which is a V6 1.6-litre engine. F3 cars use a 3.4-liter Bespoke Mecachrome engine. The Formula 2 season is longer and visits more circuits. In 2023, F2 will race at fourteen venues compared to F3’s scheduled ten.


Despite their differences, the format between the two series is similar in terms of racing. Both have Sprint and Feature Races throughout the weekend. Sprint Races can earn a driver a maximum of ten points and twenty-five in the Feature. Many of the same programs run teams in both Formula 2 and Formula 3.

Every season several Formula 3 drivers make the move into Formula 2. Next season will the likes of Ollie Bearman struggle with the transition after just one year in F3? Or could he repeat the success of so many future F1 drivers?

Featured Image Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images