These are the 3 F2 drivers most likely to make it to F1

FIA Formula 2 is bursting at the seams with talent, the spec series enabling the best junior drivers in the world to show what they’re truly capable of. Their talent, of course, does not go unnoticed by the prying eyes of Formula 1 teams. There are so many drivers affiliated with teams in the pinnacle of motorsport and many more with the ability to get to where they all want to be: Formula 1. Here are the three Formula 2 drivers most likely to do so.

By George Brabner

Théo Pourchaire

There’s no doubting Pourchaire’s claim to a Formula 1 seat – the 18-year-old ART Grand Prix driver is someone who’s proven himself as one of the fastest many a time throughout his junior career. Sitting just a point off second in the Formula 2 drivers’ standings, Pourchaire has come into his own in his second year in the series and wrapped his arms around two winner’s trophies so far.

You don’t need to look too far beyond his successes this season in Formula 2 to find more impressive results. In 2020, he took the title fight in Formula 3 to eventual champion Oscar Piastri and finished just three points behind the Australian, which is no easy feat considering how impressive Piastri was in F2 last year.

But what is it that really makes a driver? Their approach to on-track combat is just as important as their results. In practice, Pourchaire is one of the most charismatic drivers when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing, showing the aggression and grit that you look for in future F1 champions. Watching him do battle really makes you smile.

What really makes him one of the drivers most likely to reach Formula 1, though, is his affiliation to Alfa Romeo through the Sauber Academy. Being picked up by the programme in 2019, Pourchaire has got himself a perfect path into a Formula 1 seat – a luxury not everyone on the Formula 2 grid has. He’s due to make the step into an Alfa Romeo seat as soon as one becomes vacant.

Théo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix) | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Dennis Hauger

2021 Formula 3 champion and Red Bull junior Hauger has hit the ground running in 2022, showing good pace along the way. He stepped into reigning champions Prema Racing with the task of filling a highly pressurised seat – a job not everyone on the grid would be able to take on successfully. Having scored his first race win at Monaco in May and with momentum on his side, Hauger is turning around what was an unlucky start to the season and forging a path to Formula 1.

Of course, that victory at Monaco put his name firmly on the list of top talents on this year’s grid. Owing to crashes in the Baku Sprint Race and off the line in Imola’s Feature Race, his points tally is not representative of his true performance, but his ability to recover from a painful Sprint Race in Baku and claim victory in the Feature Race shot him to fifth place at the time. He now occupies seventh in the standings, just 13 points off teammate Jehan Daruvala in fourth.

We must talk about Hauger’s Red Bull affiliation in addition to his on-track performance. Red Bull Junior Team director Helmut Marko has a keen eye for talent, picking up Hauger back in 2017 almost as soon as he’d graduated from karting. It’s clear he saw a glint of Formula 1 potential in the Norwegian from the roots of his career. With neither of Alpha Tauri’s drivers locked into lengthy contracts and the known volatility of Red Bull’s stable, the battle of the Red Bull juniors in Formula 2 is heating up.

Daruvala, Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa – the other F2 drivers in the Red Bull Junior Team – are all great shouts for a future in F1, but right now, Hauger’s looking the strongest candidate for a future seat at AlphaTauri. One more season in Formula 2 and Hauger can make our prediction come true.

Dennis Hauger (Prema Racing) | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Felipe Drugovich

It must be said that this choice is a bit predictable considering Drugovich’s form so far this season, but it’s for good reason. Touted as Brazil’s next Formula 1 driver, Drugovich is a free agent as of now, but a free agent with a whole lot of pace, consistency and fire in his stomach. All aboard the ‘Drugo’ hype train!

MP Motorsport picked up a piece of gold for themselves in 2022, as the Brazilian made the switch from UNI-Virtuosi for his third season in the series. Picking up four victories already, including that magical back-to-back sweep at Barcelona, Drugovich is making himself right at home at the top of the standings, sitting comfortably ahead of our other F1 pick Pourchaire by 40 points.

Even on weekends when he’s not at the very top, Drugovich is scoring consistently and isn’t fazed by tough races – qualities crucial to climbing the motorsport ladder. At this point, he’s proving his worth in wheel-to-wheel combat and high-pressure situations and extracting raw pace from his car, showing that his results haven’t just been a flash in the pan. Yes, he isn’t signed to a Formula 1 junior programme, but right now, that’s almost playing to his advantage. The big dogs are certainly watching, and with no tie to a specific team, Drugovich is in with a shot of going just about anywhere.

Felipe Drugovich (MP Motorsport) | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Honourable mentions

Whilst these three drivers are our picks for those most likely to step from F2 to F1, they aren’t lacking competition.

Williams Academy driver Logan Sargeant has planted the roots to entering the pinnacle, especially with what’s so far been an impressive turn of pace in his rookie season. The problem is that the Williams drive wouldn’t be uncontested, with Alexander Albon’s seat looking fairly concrete and Nicholas Latifi still having a contract in place despite rumours that 2021 Formula 2 champion Piastri has links to his seat.

Meanwhile, Alpine Academy driver Jack Doohan has shown his hand of pace on multiple occasions this year. Alpine aren’t short of talent under their roof, but even with Fernando Alonso’s current contract ending as early as this season, it may well be too early for the relatively inexperienced Doohan to earn a promotion to F1. When it comes to making the hop from Formula 2 to Formula 1, luck, as well as skill, has to be on your side.

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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