ART Team Principal on the tight battle in F2: ‘No-one has done three good rounds’

So far, the Formula 2 season has provided numerous unexpected results and race winners. As a result, both teams’ and drivers’ championships are wide open. ART’s Théo Pourchaire leads the championship by two points over MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich, whereas Richard Verschoor started the season off strongly with Trident and is currently in P5. F1 Feeder Series had the opportunity to speak to the team bosses of ART, MP Motorsport and Trident during the ongoing break for F2.

By Tyler Foster

We asked the three team leaders about the championship battle and whether they were happy with how their own teams have fared so far. Speaking to ART Grand Prix Team Principal, Sébastien Philippe, he recognised that while they could have even more points at the cost of their own mistakes, they have started strongly and been impressive.

“Let’s say that when you look at the championship at the moment, when I see the job that we have done as a team so far, I’m very happy with the position. Now, as a team, I think we have some issues. Clearly, I think Théo did some mistakes. Also, in Jeddah, we had some mechanical issues. Let’s say I’m happy with the points we have considering the start of the season that we had. Clearly, we were expecting a better start to the season.”

“As I said in the beginning, I’m very happy that no-one has done three good rounds. I think Felipe did some very good races and some others where he has been very unlucky. So, at the end of the day I’m not going to complain where we are in the championship, even if I would have hoped to be a bit better than today.”

Theo Pourchaire (centre) won two out of six races so far | Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

It seems that things at MP Motorsport couldn’t be better since their reunion with Felipe Drugovich, but their Team Principal Sander Dorsman believes that like his ART counterpart, things could be even better for the Dutch outfit. 

“I think also our three races have been mixed. Our qualifying in Bahrain wasn’t great but at least we came home with decent points finishes, Jeddah was really good for us and Imola was not the greatest of all weekends. It’s nice to have him back. For some reason, we just have a good match. He works very well together with the team. Still, we have a lot of work to do and we need some more weekends like Jeddah, that’s for sure.”

It appears that both ART and MP Motorsport have strong pace and are expected to remain competitive for the rest of the season, especially with the strong quality of their experienced drivers: Pourchaire and Drugovich. 

Felipe Drugovich scored points in all six races | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

However, for the Trident team, things are the best they have ever been. Trident have historically struggled in Formula 2, with last season being their most successful to date despite finishing only ninth. Nevertheless, this year they have already beaten last year’s total of 35 points and are looking to improve dramatically after their impressive start with Richard Verschoor. With a race win and a further podium, it looks as if the Trident team have finally unlocked their potential at this level.

We asked their Team Principal, Giacomo Ricci, whether they would be able to keep up this competitiveness for the rest of the season.

“With Richard, we had a strong start of the season. He’s experienced and he knows most of the circuits and on our side, I am convinced that we will be able to provide him with a capable car. Imola has been the exception with very tricky weather conditions and unfortunately things didn’t play on our side. But again, we have a good reference with the car. I really believe in my people inside the team. I believe that we will be able to compete as a front-runner always.”

Richard Verschoor was surprisingly strong in both Bahrain and Jeddah, before dropping down the order in Imola | Credit: Dutch Photo Agency

With just three rounds gone from this (current) thirteen round championship, the battle between the teams seems unpredictable in a way that we haven’t seen in Formula 2 for years. It seems more akin to that of Formula 3, with multiple race winners and a lot of parity. As Formula 2 returns next weekend for Round 4 in Barcelona, the question remains of just whom is the strongest team so far this season.

F2 Drivers’ standings after three rounds
1. Theo Pourchaire, 52 pts
2. Felipe Drugovich, 50 pts
3. Jehan Daruvala, 36 pts
4. Liam Lawson, 35 pts
5. Richard Verschoor, 32 pts

F2 Teams’ standings after three rounds
1. MP Motorsport, 62 pts
2. ART Grand Prix, 60 pts
3. Hitech Grand Prix, 60 pts
4. Carlin, 53 pts
5. Prema Racing, 50 pts

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd.

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