FIA Formula 2 heads to Paul Ricard Circuit, France - preview

FIA Formula 2 heads to Paul Ricard Circuit, France - preview

20.07.2022: FIA FORMULA 2 Championship Lenovo Grand Prix de France Paul Ricard, Le Castellet 22-24 July 2022 Eight rounds down and only six to go - the title fight enters its next frontier as the FIA Formula 2 Championship heads to Le Castellet for the n

FIA FORMULA 2 Championship
Lenovo Grand Prix de France
Paul Ricard, Le Castellet
22-24 July 2022

Eight rounds down and only six to go - the title fight enters its next frontier as the FIA Formula 2 Championship heads to Le Castellet for the ninth round of the 2022 campaign.

Returning to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the first time since 2019, the tyres might have changed since the last time our stars went racing around the French track, but the battles certainly haven’t gone anywhere!  


    Logan Sargeant is on a charge after back-to-back Feature Race wins, scoring 77 points in the last three rounds - more than double the number of points he scored in the first five rounds of the season.

    Felipe Drugovich remains the only driver to score points in every round of the campaign so far, with 14 points finishes from 16 races.

    Olli Caldwell collected his maiden points in the second tier after his sixth-place finish in the Feature Race at Red Bull Ring, meaning there are now 20 points scorers on the current Formula 2 grid.

    A victory for Felipe Drugovich in Le Castellet would see the Brazilian driver equal the record for race wins in Formula 2, an accolade currently jointly held by 2019 F2 Champion Nyck de Vries and Artem Markelov.

    The lap record at Le Castellet is 1:42.226, set by Lando Norris with Carlin in 2018.

    The 5.842 KM long Circuit Paul Ricard re-joins the Formula 2 calendar in 2022. The Championship last visited the French circuit in 2019.


Failing to score for only the second time this season last time out in Spielberg, Felipe Drugovich nevertheless holds on to the lead in the Drivers’ Championship by 39 points.

However, there’s a new title challenger in the form of Logan Sargeant. Back-to-back Feature Race victories has helped catapult him into second, one point separates him and third-place man, Théo Pourchaire.

Even with an underwhelming weekend in Austria, Jehan Daruvala holds firm in fourth on 80 points, while Enzo Fittipaldi’s growing consistency has begun to pay dividends as the Charouz Racing System driver has broken into the top five, now on 75 points.  

It’s a three-horse race at the top of the Teams’ Championship. A 72-point haul across the last two rounds has allowed Carlin to slash MP Motorsport’s advantage out front to a single point on 176. While it has been leapfrogged by the British team, ART Grand Prix is close behind on 170 and don’t count out PREMA Racing and Hitech Grand Prix, who round out the top five, only 40 points behind the long-time leaders.  


David Beckmann makes a return to the F2 grid once again behind the wheel of the Jake Hughes’ black and orange Van Amersfoort Racing car for the upcoming rounds in Le Castellet and Budapest, after the British driver tested positive for Covid-19.


Surrounded by the picturesque Austrian hills, the peace and quiet didn’t last for long as the 22 drivers roared into action at the Red Bull Ring. The eighth round had all the hallmarks of a classic F2 weekend, from last-second gambles, dominant displays, heartbreaks and triumphs, as one driver emerged from the chaos with the momentum to fight for the title.

After his maiden victory in Baku, Frederik Vesti added another first to his achievements this season as he claimed an unexpected pole position. Track limit violations meant it was all or nothing for the ART driver who languished at the bottom end of the timing sheets, and he rose to the occasion, clocking in a rapid 1:14.123. Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips was pipped to second by only 0.035s, as Sargeant slotted into a promising third.  

While his season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster this year, there wasn’t an up or down in sight as Marcus Armstrong took commanding lights-to-flag victory in the Sprint Race. Executing a dream getaway from reverse grid pole allowed the Hitech driver to pull away from his rivals, while Pourchaire got his elbows out to hold on to second ahead of Jack Doohan.

The Feature Race saw the field face the most formidable of foes – the weather. Overnight downpours left the teams facing a huge conundrum: do they opt for the wets or gamble on the line being dry enough to risk running on slicks? Rolling the dice on the dry tyres proved to be the making of Richard Verschoor as he stormed up the order from eighth to stamp his authority on the race with a 13.7s lead at the chequered flag.

However, the taste of glory was short-lived as the Trident driver ground to a halt on the cooldown lap. The Dutchman was later disqualified after his team was unable to provide enough fuel for the post-race sample required by the technical regulations.  

Although Jehan Daruvala crossed the line second, the PREMA racer was demoted to 12th following a post-race penalty for a starting grid infringement. As a result, Sargeant was promoted to the top step of the podium and secured the crucial 25 points on offer after recovering from starting on the alternate strategy, ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi and Roberto Merhi, who substituted in for Campos’ Ralph Boschung.


The drivers will have the red-walled soft and white Pirelli hard tyres to play with this weekend around the 5.842km circuit.

Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“With this being Formula 2’s first race weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit since 2019, it will be the first time we have seen the championship racing there on 18-inch tyres. The track will provide a varied challenge for the tyres with some long straights as well as several corners with high lateral loads, particularly in the final sector.

At the same time, the surface roughness is about average, and this means that degradation should be generally low on the hard tyre. High temperatures are a given in the south of France in July so the drivers will need to manage the P Zero Red soft tyre carefully, while the extra step to the P Zero White hard tyre should provide some exciting differences

- Alexa Quintin, photo Formula Motorsport Ltd  Getty Images


20.07.2022 / MaP

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