Top 7 Common Formula 2 Racing Questions Answered:

As industry-leading motorsport insurance experts, we’ve put together this F2 primer to clarify some common questions around the sport. Whether you’re an F2 newcomer or a long-seasoned fan, we hope this information is useful and insightful!Let’s begin:

How does the F2 format work?

Perhaps the most significant difference between F1 and F2 is that all F2 cars are the same: the idea being that this will purely test drivers’ ability, rather than the combined expertise of the driver and their racing team. 

The structure of race weekends varies, too. In F2 there is a Friday qualifying session and a Saturday sprint race, rather than two qualifying sessions as would be seen in F1. The sprint race is another opportunity for drivers to earn points.

F1 and F2 races take place at the same meets, meaning they race on the same track. F2 events take place first. The races run for an hour or until 170 km have been covered: both lower than their F1 equivalents, meaning shorter events.

In terms of points, F1 and F2 are the same for 1st place through to 20th place. There are opportunities for F2 drivers to earn points that differ from F1:

  • The fastest lap in the main race gains a point
  • The fastest lap in the sprint race gains a point, if that driver finishes in positions 1-10
  • The pole position driver in the qualifying session receives 2 points

How long do drivers stay in F2?

There is no fixed answer for this question: a driver’s time in F2 is determined by several factors, including their performance, their broader career trajectory, the available opportunities in F1, and so on.

Some drivers bypass F2 entirely, although this is the exception rather than the rule. Max Verstappen, for example, who jumped from F3 to F1, or Kimi Räikkönen, who skipped F3 as well.

Other drivers spend longer than they might like in F2. Consider the list below, showing the five drivers with the most starts in F2 and GP2 (a precursor to the format):

  • Nicholas Latifi: 98
  • Julian Leal: 102
  • Luca Filippi: 110
  • Johnny Cecotto Jr: 126
  • Artem Markelov: 129

Do F2 races have pit stops?

Yes: feature F2 races have mandatory pit stops, meaning that drivers and their team must select the most strategically beneficial moment to utilise it. As the format is designed to test and refine drivers’ ability, requiring a pit stop gives them an opportunity to factor this element into their race strategy.

How much does it cost to be an F2 driver?

As with F1, the costs involved in F2 are high enough to be prohibitive for many drivers who might want to race. The costs for F2 are a fair bit lower, however. 

In 2022 an article estimated the cost of participating in an F2 season at $3 million US, and keep in mind this has probably increased since! Thankfully drivers aren’t expected to cover the costs themselves: funding usually comes from various sources including investors, sponsorships, driver development programs and more.

Can a F1 driver go back to F2 racing?

Following a rule change in 2019, it is now technically possible for F1 drivers to return to F2. However this is unusual (and not particularly desirable for drivers), meaning that few do it. Giorgio Pantano and Romain Grosjean are two drivers who have made the transition.

The previous rule:

  • (26.1) Any driver who previously won the GP2 Series or FIA Formula 2 Championship or any driver who completed a full season in the FIA Formula One World Championship will not be permitted to enter the Championship.

The updated rule:

No winner of a GP2 Series or FIA Formula 2 Championship may participate in two successive Championships.

What engines do F2 cars have?

F2 cars use a spec engine, meaning all are the same. As mentioned previously this decision ensures that drivers’ ability is being tested, rather than the engineering prowess of the engineers.

The current F2 engine, as detailed on the F2 website, is as follows:

  • V6 – 3.4 litre single turbo charged Mecachrome engine
  • Rated to 620 HP @ 8750 rpm
  • Maximum Torque 570 Nm @ 6000 rpm

Why do F2 cars Backfire?

The sound of an F2 car backfiring is a frequent part of the auditory mix on race day, and you may be wondering what causes it – or whether it’s anything drivers need to worry about.

The answer is no: backfiring is simply caused by the ignition of unburnt fuel in the exhaust system. When a driver decelerates or releases the throttle, excess fuel in the system may come into contact with hot components and combust, creating the audible backfire.

Any other questions?

Hopefully this F2 primer has helped clarify your understanding of this exciting sport. Take a look at our blog for other racing-related content, or get in touch with our team if you’d like information about what we do.

Ready to have complete peace of mind this race season?

Ready to have complete peace of mind this race season?

Call usEmail us