With Formula 2 pre-season testing now finished, let’s look at five takeaways from the three days, including early title contenders.
With just over two weeks left before the season commences with Round 1 in Bahrain, pre-season testing is the closest way of determining what to expect for the upcoming campaign. Here are five takeaways from the three days of Formula 2 testing.
1. Theo Pourchaire is a top title contender
Nineteen-year-old Theo Pourchaire will be entering his third season in Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix. The Sauber Academy member finished vice-champion during the 2022 season behind Felipe Drugovich but has put himself in strong contention this year as he’s partnered up with 2022 Formula 3 champion Victor Martins. Having topped the first two sessions, Pourchaire stayed in the top ten during the race runs. A strong indication both the car and driver are ready for the fight.
2. Arthur Leclerc impresses for DAMS
Arthur Leclerc had quite a mixed couple of seasons during his time in Formula 3. Finishing tenth and sixth in the championships, Leclerc announced he would be joining Formula 2 for 2023 – a move that many deemed premature. However, the past three days of pre-testing showed the Ferrari Driver Academy member has strong pace as he finished in the top five in four out of the six sessions. Partnered with Ayumu Iwasa, Leclerc will be chasing the Anthoine Hubert Award along with nine other rookies.
3. Is Ralph Boschung finally in contention?
During the final two days of testing, attention turned to race simulation with Formula 2 veteran Ralph Boschung finishing in the top five during three of the four sessions. Boschung has been in Formula 2 since its inception in 2017, the Swiss driver has since suffered from health problems and has had to miss portions of the season to recover. Racing for a fourth season with Campos Racing, could this be the year Boschung puts it all together?
TOP TEN – END OF SESSION 🏁
Ralph Boschung 📸
Juan Manuel Correa#F2 #F2Testing pic.twitter.com/3upSZKz0P4
— Formula 2 (@Formula2) February 16, 2023
4. Hitech Pulse-Eight’s struggle
The recently renamed Hitech Pulse-Eight team announced an all-rookie lineup for the 2023 season with Red Bull Junior members Isack Hadjar and Jak Crawford joining them. Both drivers graduated from Formula 3 with Hadjar doing so after his 2022 debut season. With Hadjar quickly rising through the ranks many people had high hopes for the Frenchman but those hopes have slightly diminished after both drivers only finished in the top ten on one occasion. Is this the start of a difficult season for the team?
5. Can MP Motorsport retain its title?
The Dutch-based team are the reigning champion after snatching it from PREMA in 2022. With a new lineup of ex-PREMA drivers Dennis Hauger and Jehan Deruvula, the team looked far off the pace compared to its rivals Trident, ART Grand Prix, and PREMA.
What was your biggest takeaway from the Formula 2 pre-season testing? Who are your title contenders?