Just over three months since the racing was set to begin in Bahrain, we’ll be back in Austria for a second week to continue with the Formula 2 season. We’ll be racing back to back at Spielberg with qualifying on the 3rd and 10th July, the Feature Race on the 4th and 11th July and the Sprint Race on the 5th and 12th July. If you’re looking to keep up to date with all of the racing this weekend, your schedule is as followed: Friday will see Practice at 12:55 pm until 1:40 pm and Qualifying at 5:00 pm until 5:30 pm, Saturday will see the Feature Race at 4:45 pm until 5:45 pm and Sunday will see the Sprint Race at 11:10 am until 11:55 am. All times are local track times.
As the potential of the season hung by a thread, Jess and I chose to not let the bad news dwell and set ahead our predictions for the year back in April. Today, we sit down to look at how the race weekend will go ahead along with an audience of people.
Goodbye Softs and Hards, Hello Super softs and Mediums.
Taking into account last weeks racing, I can see my predictions becoming more and more like last weeks. However, with the tyre change to spice up the weekend (last weekend we saw the softs and the hards, this weekend we’ll see the super softs and mediums) we’ll have more focus on the tyre management compared to who can push their car to the extremes. With that being said, I can still see both UNI-Virtuosi boys doing well. We saw Callum take his first Formula 2 win and I can see Zhou taking his this weekend. I feel like Ilott will still make it onto the podium at some point this weekend. Both FDA rookies had a strong weekend last week and I feel like that will happen again. Armstrong nearly placed himself on the podium twice and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see that happen again.
I’d like to see Louis Deletraz and Dan Ticktum on the podium again along with Felipe Drugovich. A couple new faces I can see hitting the podiums this weekend is Schumacher and Lundgaard. I held faith in them both last time however, after experiencing some problems they didn’t manage to pull through. Aside from this, I can see Zhou taking pole again.
Looking into fastest lap, I can see Zhou taking it for the feature race. I feel like he will come out with a triple threat; taking a win, pole and fastest lap. He will definitely make his come back this weekend. I can also see Shwartzman taking a fastest lap in the sprint race. This weekend, regarding teams, I’m turning my attention from Prema to ART. Although I feel like UNI-Virtuosi will take the most points this weekend, I feel like ART will be a close second with Armstrong and Lundgaard.
With the tyre compounds being one step up softer than last week, it’s all about tyre management from the drivers. There will be a significant amount more of action at the start of the races because the tyres heating up quicker due to a softer compound. I believe Zhou, Ilott, Shwartzman, Armstrong and Delétraz can all capitalise on this and make some step ups on the grid, per se, if they aren’t in the front. I also wouldn’t be shocked if I saw Lundgaard or the MP Motorsport duo of Drugovich and Matsushita up there either. All three were very competitive during the weekend, especially Drugovich who produced a masterclass of a race in his second Formula 2 drive. Through raw speed last weekend, I can definitely see Zhou fighting it for pole and feature race. For the sprint race, I think at least one of the Ferrari Driver Academy drivers being there to fight for the win, if not, for the podium.
To look out for, I’d keep an eye out for Alesi and Ticktum. Both had an absolutely smashing race in the feature and sprint race, plus with HWA having a crazy but effective overcut strategy. I also want to see Ghiotto making his redemption after the unfortunate incidents last weekend with a double retirement. He is a competitive driver, finishing 3rd in the standings last year with double seconds in Spielberg, so it would be quite a comeback.
I’m sticking with the teams last weekend, where I said I’d see UNI-Virtuosi first and ART Grand Prix second. Those two both have very talented drivers with a highly determined mindset. Last weekend, it was very close with ART in first with 36 points, meaning there was a 5 points difference. If these two switch positions or even MP Motorsport arriving into the battle, we’re in for a real treat of a season.
HWA had a crazy but effective overcut strategy.
THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
Jess and I both share the opinion that we feel we will see Zhou, Ilott, Shwartzman, Armstrong, Deletraz, Lundgaard and Drugovich all fighting for podium positions this weeend. However, while I can also see Schumacher placing quite high, Jess’ bets lay on Matsushita. Aside from this, we both would like to see Ticktum do well. He did great during his debut and we believe that he is only going to get better from here. Although I had no other names to mention, Jess also feels that Alesi and Ghiotto will have a great weekend this year.
Compared to last weekend, Jess and I now share the similarities in teams. We both believe ART and UNI will finish on top with points however, Jess see’s MP picking up the pace.
For pole position this weekend, 50% of the people said that they can see Zhou on pole position. After his successful weekend regarding pole last weekend, I’m not surprised he’s on top of the peoples predictions. Callum Ilott went on to take 33.3% of the votes while Marcus Armstrong went on to take 16.7%. The results flipped when we came to look at who will finish on top. Armstrong took 50% of the votes while Zhou and Ilott both took 16.7% each. Deletraz was also thrown into the mix, taking a further 16.7%. Heading into the runner up, Ilott took the majority with 33.3% while Armstrong, Schumacher, Shwartzman and Zhou each took 16.7%. The results were almost the exact same when we looked at who would finish third with Ilott taking 33.3% again and Schumacher, Zhou and Armstrong taking 16.7% however, we saw Lundgaard in the mix to take 16.7% of the results.
The Sprint race results through a few new names into the mix. On top, we saw Lundgaard and Deletraz each taking 33.3% for who would win. Ilott and Armstrong finished up the results with 16.7% each. Runner up, we saw Shwartzman take 50% of the results while Drugovich, Armstrong and Ticktum took 16.7% each. The name on top for third place was Armstrong with 33.3% while we saw Aitken, Schumacher, Zhou and Ilott take 16.7% each.
Drugovich and Lundgaard both went on to take 33.3% of the votes each for the most surprising drivers of the weekend. Joined by them was Schumacher and Piquet, a name we are yet to hear mentioned, with 16.7%. Marcus Armstrong remained a favourite when we looked at fastest lap, taking 50% for he Feature Race and 33.3% for the Sprint Race. Ilott was also a favourable name as he took 33.3% of the votes for the Feature Race and 16.7% for the Sprint Race. Ticktum finished off the Feature Race fastest lap predictions with 16.7% of the votes while Zhou took 33.3% and Shwartzman took 16.7% in the Sprint race.
Looking at the teams on top for the weekend, UNI-Virtuosi sit as the most favourable. The Norfolk Based team took 50% of the votes, closely followed by Prema with 33.3% and ART with 16.7%.
Between Audience, Jess and I, there are a lot of mixed opinions up in the air. Ilott, Zhou, Armstrong, Deletraz and Shwartzman are all popular names for taking points and podiums this weekend but with the forecast ahead, who knows what could happen. UNI-Virtuosi, Prema and ART are looking to be the three teams that people believe have the best fighting chance this weekend. Will the boys in red take the points?
We will see you Monday at 5pm BST Time with your race rundown and Wednesday at 5pm BST for our race review. Keep a look out if you want a chance at having your say on the Formula 3 Austrian Grand Prix 2020.