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What is behind the current problem in the step up from F2 to F1?

 In the last season, too many F2 drivers did not make it to F1. What is the reason behind this negative trend?

In recent years there has been a strange phenomenon in the world of the minor series of Formula 1. Many F2 drivers have some difficulties getting into F1 and are forced to look elsewhere, as in IndyCar, or have reserve roles in the team. Is it due to a problem in the Formula 1 market or has the level in the smaller categories dropped? 

Past and present F2 Champions: what went wrong?

In 2017, Charles Leclerc won the new FIA Formula 2 Championship. With 8 pole positions (out of 11 races) turned to victory seven times, Leclerc quickly proved to be the talent he still is today. He won the championship with 72 points ahead of Artem Markelov. In 2018, he made his debut in F1 with Sauber. A year later, he started his career in Ferrari. A similar dynamic for George Russell, who grew up in the Mercedes ranks. Lando Norris and Alexander Albon also managed to get into Formula 1. 

However, something began to go wrong in 2019, when F2 champion Nyck de Vries did not find any F1 seat for the following year. The Dutchman then took part in the Formula E championship, where in 2021 he became champion. He joined the F1 lineup in 2023 with AlphaTauri but due to poor resultshe was replaced. From 2019 until now, six drivers have arrived in Formula 1 from F2. Only Oscar Piastri is in a top team. The Australian is also the only recent winner of the series (2021) who managed to arrive in F1. 

2022 champion Felipe Drugovich, who dominated the 2022 season is still third driver for Aston Martin. His future in the Formula 1 Circus with Aston Martin does not seem to be clear, as the Alonso-Stroll pair seems to be armored. Theo Pourchaire was crowned champion of the 2023 F2 season in Abu Dhabi, after a controversial championship. Last year it seemed that the title had to go to Frederick Vesti but, from Spa on, the orders in the ranking changed. Pourchaire won the title but had to stop there, despite Sauber seeming to have promised him an F1 seat. Among the other names much talked about in the paddock there are Jack Doohan, Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa. All excellent drivers but still seem far from the world of Formula 1, some more than others.

Too much inconsistency 

After the shake-up of Lewis Hamilton’s transfer to Ferrari, the Formula 1 grid is still changing. The teams need to take on more challenges with the younger players who showed their talent on the track. A revolution that must start from the smaller teams to extend to the bigger names, as has always happened. However, what seems to be holding them back is the lowering of the performance level of recent editions. Last year, despite the victory, Pourchaire did not seem to have convinced Sauber with his performances, at times inconsistent. As well as Vesti, Iwasa, and Doohan are experienced drivers but have made several mistakes that cost them the victory in the championship. This is why in F1 they prefer not to risk while waiting for new talents to come out of F2.

2025 F1 driver market 

With several contracts expiring in F1 and the arrival of Audi in 2026, many things could change. In addition, some Formula 2 drivers already seem to be on the radar of some teams. For example, Oliver Bearman who, after his debut in Saudi Arabia, surprised many teams. Especially Ferrari and Haas. Also, his teammate in Prema, Kimi Antonelli, is one of the most talked about names for 2025 and beyond. However, besides these two, there are a few other names related to the world of Formula 1 for now. The feeder series has always been a means by which drivers could practice and show off for the biggest series of Motorsport. The top names in the current Formula 2 championship must show in all ways what it takes to reach the top series of Motorsport, showing their skills but also their constancy in getting good results.


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