Prediction time! With the Formula 2 season about to kick off, some of the F1 Feeder Series editors sat down and thought long and hard about who will be crowned champion, the rookie of 2020, the surprise package and the team of the year. If your having a hard time deciding who is going to be on top this year, check out our predictions.
Who will win the drivers’ championship, and who’ll be involved in the title fight?
Floris Visman: As much as I would like to say Robert Shwartzman (because I think he’s really talented), in this experienced field I’m going to go with a battle of the titans between the two Virtuosi guys. Callum Ilott and Guanyu Zhou both showed promise last year and they are both in their second year. With that combination of talent and experience they’ve got to be favourites.
Italian driver Luca Ghiotto would’ve been a contender too, but he’ll miss several rounds because of his GT commitments. A dark horse for me is Mick Schumacher. I thought he disappointed last year, but he usually shines in his second year. I’m curious to see if he can show his promise in the final step to F1.
Adam Dickinson: I’m going a bit left-field and backing Nobuharu Matsushita. He came on strong after a tough start last season to take two feature race wins (one at the Red Bull Ring). It feels like a make-or-break year for Jack Aitken, now aged 24, after three years as an F1 test driver he’ll want to make the permanent step up. Luca Ghiotto should be in the mix again, although he’ll balance F2 with an endurance racing campaign.
It will be interesting to see who emerges out of the Zhou-Ilott-Schumacher-Shwartzman pack to challenge for the title, if Zhou can be a frontrunner he’ll have his eye on Daniel Riccardo’s vacated 2021 Renault seat while the Alfa Romeo seat could also be up for grabs, with the three Ferrari Academy drivers in a potential shootout for it.
Jeroen Demmendaal: I am rooting for Guanyou Zhou. Sympathetic kid, with bags of ability and who could just be China’s first real Formula 1 driver. As for who needs to be involved in the title fight: that can only be Mick Schumacher. He can’t be blamed for the hype that follows with his last name, but to become a serious candidate for an Alfa Romeo F1 seat, he actually needs to prove he is F1 material after a pretty mediocre rookie campaign.
Regardless, he will have his work cut out. His teammate, Robert Shwartzman, is a massive talent and might very well beat him over the course of the season. My dark horse for the title is Marcus Armstrong. Landing a seat with defending champions ART might just give him the edge over the competition. Above all, the title fight promises to be a spectacle.
Aaron Gillard: With a highly rated grid, it’s very difficult to pick a selection of drivers, let alone three. I personally believe with the experience and growth shown last year, 2020 will be Jack Aitken’s year in Formula 2. It’ll be a close fight. I expect the likes of Robert Shwartzman, Marcus Armstrong, Guanyu Zhou, Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher & Christian Lundgaard to all have a close fight for the championship this year.
Who will be the surprise package?
FV: I might get scolded, but if Dan Ticktum gets his act together and and he grabs that last straw DAMS gave him, he might surprise a few people. He’s definitely got some raw speed. Another one might be Christian Lundgaard, although he has a slight advantage over other rookies because he already drove last year’s final round. He is still the youngest driver in the field, so I think a lot of people don’t expect him to shine just yet.
AD: It was an underwhelming first season for Mick Schumacher, finishing 12th, but historically he’s improved in his second season in a series. In European F3 he turned a debut season 12th to a championship win, and made similar gains in two years of ADAC F4 so I think he’ll repeat this and could be in the title fight.
I’d also keep an eye out for Louis Deletraz and Dan Ticktum – test drivers for Haas and Williams respectively, there could be seats opening up for them next year but both had disappointing 2019s, this will be a big season for them.
JD: I am curious to see how Christian Lundgaard will do. He is still incredibly young and you wonder if he wouldn’t have benefited from another year in F3, but his talent is undeniable. I am also rather interested to see how Carlin will perform: the pairing of Jehan Daruvala and Yuki Tsunoda is a rather tantalising one and could deliver some real fireworks this season.
AG: BWT HWA Racelab may seem like a new team entering FIA Formula 2, but in reality the team will continue where Arden left off last year. I expect the team to cause a few surprises this year, as they did in their debut season in FIA Formula 3 last year. With Artem Markelov and Giuliano Alesi onboard, expect the team to collect a few shock results this season.
Which rookie will have the best season?
FV: Without a doubt that should be Robert Shwartzman. The 2019 FIA F3 champion seems to have got what it takes. He’s level headed and has proven that he can perform when the pressure’s on. And I already touched on it a little bit, but Marcus Armstrong and Christian Lundgaard might pick up the honours if Shwartzman drops the ball.
AD: It’s hard to look past reigning FIA F3 champion Robert Shwartzman, who was incredibly consistent winning the championship only finishing outside the top 5 twice. He won the Toyota Racing Series, and came third in his first European F3 season so has strong pedigree in his debut campaigns too.
Five of the top six from last season’s F3 have been promoted, and Armstrong-Daruvala and Piquet-Lungaard were two battles decided by a single point, how will that transfer to F2?
JD: Have to agree with Adam. I have more personal affinity for Armstrong, but Shwartzman has had a small yet consistent edge over his Kiwi rival in recent years. But again, Shwartzman needs Prema to deliver the goods; if they don’t, I fully expect Armstrong and ART to benefit and run away with rookie honours (and maybe even the championship).
AG: It’ll be a straight fight between Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong for Rookie of the Year. But I believe Shwartzman will have the edge over his former PREMA teammate once again, but it’ll be close between the two. A rivalry well-known and shown in FIA Formula 3 will no doubt continue, but will be interesting how it’ll develop now the two will not be teammates for the first time in years.
Who will win the Teams’ Championship?
FV: Last year Nyck de Vries (ART) dominated, but DAMS took the teams’ championship because of the experienced duo of Nicholas Latifi and Sergio Sette Camara. But if my prediction comes true this year the team’s championship will end up with the team of the winning driver. UNI-Virtuosi might even break records if everything goes well with Zhou and Ilott.
AD: With Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott on board, UNI-Virtuosi have two experienced drivers with plenty to race for. But the Ferrari-themed Prema get my vote, Schumacher and Shwartzman have a lot of potential and the inter-team rivalry will drive performance.
Charouz could be an outside bet if Deletraz can make the leap to a title challenger and Pedro Piquet can start strong… but they’re possibilities rather than probabilities.
JD: I can tell you who will NOT win it: DAMS. Traditionally a powerhouse, the French squad has done itself quite a disservice by hiring Sean Gelael, who is simply out of his depth and should not be in an F2 seat. So my money is on one of the usual suspects: Prema might do it, as might ART. Strongest candidate is probably UNI-Virtuosi: I am rooting for Zhou to win the title, and Callum Ilott is a decent driver who should break into the top-10 regularly this year.
AG: Think with the consistent pairing of Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott, UNI-Virtuosi will produce solid results, podiums and potential wins that will cement into a strong championship charge for the British team. I expect the ART, Prema & Carlin to make a challenge for the top spots in the teams’ standings this year.