Ahead of the Formula 2 2021 season, Jess and I have decided to sit down and discuss what we believe could happen this season. Like every year, the season lays to be unpredictable and making predictions ahead of knowing anything is very risky but also adds a factor of fun. In today’s post, we talk about our personal predictions and look at how our audience goes on to predict the season.
With the season running a little bit differently this year, it’ll open up a new field of talent and allow drivers different opportunities to score points. With a fresh, new grid, we’ll be watching drivers push their cars to the limits to continue to make a name for themselves. With Formula 2 being the last step prior to Formula 1, its anybody’s game for that paid seat. With that being said, after the previous season, I can see Ticktum going forward to take the title. Carlin are a powerful team with a great car behind them and with such a talented driver, I can see them going above and beyond to place themselves back at the top. 2020 was a rocky year for the team as they went from winning the championship in 2018 to finishing third in 2020 behind Italy’s own Prema and the Norfolk based team of UNI Virtuosi. Looking at that, I can see Shwartzman and Drugovich both battling for the title. The cars were close the entire season last year and it would be ridiculous to believe that neither drivers would be close to the top. With that being said, I can see Shwartzman finishing as runner up with Drugovich close behind.
This season, I would love to see Zendeli and Vips do well. I think they both have a great opportunity to be fighting for race wins and podiums and creating a lot of midfield battles. Although I can’t see either of the drivers taking the championship title, I’d love to see them both pushing towards the top. If both drivers were to stay on until 2021, I can see them contending for the championship title. With that being said, I can see Zendeli or Piastri being the rookie of the year. With Piastri being in the Prema while being an insanely powerful driver, I think he has a great chance at finding himself on the podium throughout the season. Without a doubt, the Australian will be in for a great chance at taking the award. I feel as if the most surprising driver of the season will be Guilherme Samaia. He had a rough first year in the sport but throughout testing, he’s proved that he is good behind the wheel and I feel as if he’ll be pushing for points and will go forward to shock everybody.
As an overall, I think a driver we should keep an eye out for is Zhou. The UNI Virtuosi is a great car with an even better team behind them and Zhou is a talented and experienced driver. He’ll definitely be pushing for points this season and I think will be closer to the top than ever before. With that being said, I can see him taking a lot of pole positions this season and potentially be in for a chance to make his move up to Formula 1 with Alpine. I can also see Shwartzman and Ticktum looking at Formula 1 seats with Alfa Romeo and Williams. Regarding teams, I would love to see UNI Virtuosi take the teams championship this year with Prema and Carlin fighting closely behind. I think UNI have a very strong line up with Zhou and Drugovich and both are very capable and experienced enough to be fighting for championship titles.
Instead of the usual two races, we are faced with three, giving drivers another opportunity to climb the ranks and challenge each other to their limits. I’m sure this year will be one of the most competitive seasons, especially when looking at the grid. I gave my full support to UNI Virtuosi last year with Ilott and Zhou, and I don’t think it’s going to stop there. I often supported Drugovich last year and on many occasions, he surprised me with his capabilities. I’d love to say that one of them will take the championship, but honestly, I think that title will go to Robert Shwartzman. After a very successful season, though combined with weekends where he was unlucky, in his rookie year, I think he has more than enough talent to take it. Prema have significantly advanced from previous years so I hope they are capable of powering both Shwartzman and Piastri near the front. However, I will stick Drugovich as my runner up. I’m not sure behind the reasoning, but I want to believe in him, and so this is my top two for the 2021 season. In terms of teams, I really wanted Virtuosi last year. Change may be good, but I feel like it wouldn’t be my prediction if I didn’t attempt to stick Virtuosi as my title winners, so for another season, I’m hoping UNI Virtuosi win, with Prema in second.
It wouldn’t be a ‘Jess’ prediction without a single mention of Theo Pourchaire. I decided to support him during our research for driver profiles last year for the 2020 season and ever since, I’ve always been excited to watch him race. As much as I would love him to be at the top, fighting for wins, I’m expecting more of a midfield fight. If the opportunity ever arises for a win, then I’m sure he’s up for the challenge, however I’m not expecting “glory days” in his rookie season. In terms of my surprise driver, I’m putting Matteo Nannini. I was considering Liam Lawson, but with a driver that had less of a trophy hunting season and more of a drive for the points, it’s definitely a large step up. He will also be competing in Formula 3 as well in the off weekends, so he will have a lot on his plate to work on. Yet, I somehow believe he will achieve in Formula 2, maybe not for wins, but for points. HWA aren’t exactly title-winning cars, at least from last year’s results, so I’m not expecting wonders, but I just hope that Nannini lives up to his surname, who already has a history in the Formula 1 museum.
There are a lot of new rookies this year and there are a lot I would love to have as my top rookie, but with only one name allowed, I gave it to Piastri. He had a fantastic season overall last year and definitely surprised me, so this year I’m hoping this momentum carries on, especially after staying with Prema for another season. My other honourable mentions were Verschoor, Petecof, Zendeli and Lawson as they all had a good year in Formula 3 last season.
Both Jess and I share similar views in the sense that we both feel like Shwartzman is going to have his best season and challenge for the championship. However, that also holds its differences with Jess believing he will go on to win while I feel like he’ll finish as runner up. We also share similarities in teams where we both feel as if Virtuosi will be taking the title. Jess and I also agree that Piastri will fall as the rookie on top.
Between the both of us, we all share a few differences. I believe that Ticktum will go on to win the championship while his name isn’t in sight for Jess. Jess’ surprising driver also falls with Nannini while mine falls with Samaia, both for very different reasons. While I believe strongly in Vips and Zendeli, Jess is completely backing Pourchaire the entire time.
Alongside our own predictions, we spoke to some Formula 2 fans to gather more information on how differently people view the grid. The audiences results reflect quite strongly on Jess and I’s with 46.2% believing that Shwartzman would win while 38.5% believed that Ticktum would win. The remaining percentage was split with 7.7% going to Zhou and 3.8% going to Drugovich and Piastri. Runner up saw the same few names repeated with 30.8% believing that Shwartzman would finish second in the standings, 15.4% believing it would be either Zhou or Piastri, a further 11.5% believing in Lundgaard, 7.7% believing in Ticktum and Drugovich and the final 3.8%’s going to Armstrong, Zendeli and Pourchaire. From there, we moved on to who people would like to see on top, not essentially who they believe it could be. Ticktum finished on top with 26.9% while Vips and Armstrong were close behind with 15.4%. With 11.5%, we saw Petecof next followed by Piastri and Pourchaire with 7.7%. The final 3.8%’s were given to Zendeli and Zhou.
As we looked at pole position, Shwartzman and Ticktum were the keen favourites once again with the Russian driver taking 34.6% while the Brit took 15.4%. Zhou also went on to take 15.4% to round out the top three. 7.4% then went on to say Drugovich, Piastri, Armstrong and Lundgaard were their best bets for pole with the final 3.7% going to the Estonian driver, Juri Vips. We also looked at rookies and how the audience feel they would do. With a large lead, we found 85.2% believing the Prema’s Oscar Piastri would finish on top out of the eight rookies that will step onto the grid this season. The remaining 14.8% was split with 11.1% believing in Lawson and 3.7% believing in Zendeli.
For the most surprising driver, there were a range of answers. 22.2% believed that rookie, Liam Lawson, would be the most surprising on the grid. The Kiwi driver had a successful year in Formula 3 where he collected a large quantity of points over podiums and found himself battling for the championship. It’ll be interesting to see how he competes in his first year of Formula 2. Vips and Pourchaire were the next drivers on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Both drivers completed a couple of races in the Formula 2 championship last season, ruling them out of the ‘rookie’ label ahead of 2021 season. A further 7.4% was then split between Petecof, Piastri, Drugovich and Ticktum. It will be interesting to see how Petecof performs under the pressure of Formula 2 as he makes the jump from Formula REC, completely bypassing Formula 3. Drugovich and Ticktum are two names that are flittering amongst the paddock about whether or not they’ll be leading the pack or fighting in the middle so it will be interesting to see how that plays out for the two drivers. Piastri is another driver that people believe is going to break expectations. He headed into Formula 3 in 2020 as a rookie and went on to win the championship and land himself a seat in the current Formula 2 Champions car. With a great team mate in Shwartzman by his side, he is destined to create a rookie season that will leave his name engraved into the minds of every motorsport fan.
The remaining percentage was split between Zendeli, Beckmann, Samaia, Nissany, Armstrong and Viscaal. Zendeli, Beckmann and Viscaal are all entering their first term behind the wheel of the Formula 2 machinery, each with a passion to prove themselves different to the other rookies amongst the grid. Armstrong’s year in the unlucky second seat left people questioning his ability to prove himself and progress beyond Formula 2 and he’ll be looking for redemption with DAMS giving him the chance to show that it truly was the cursed second ART that saw him fall through the standings. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs alongside Nissany in a team that saw victory in 2019. Nissany’s season in F2 during 2020 saw a large fluctuation so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to find consistency in his future season. Samaia had a rough first year in Formula 2, finding himself always at the back of the grid and fighting with his car more than the grid. Hopefully 2021 and Charouz are able to give the Brazilian a fighting chance.
Across the grid, the most popular driver for graduating to Formula 1, with 70.4%, was Robert Shwartzman. We also found 55.6% believing that Ticktum would also graduate to Formula 1 with a further 40.7% believing in Zhou. Alongside the top three, we saw 22.2% say either Vips or Lundgaard would make the leap, 18.5% believing Lawson would, 14.8% believing in Piastri and Armstrong, 7.4% for Daruvala and 3.7% for Drugovich, Zendeli and Nissany.
For the winner of the teams championship, 63% believed that Prema would go for two and take the title once again in 2021. 25.9% also had faith that Carlin would take the title while the remaining 11.1% believed it would be UNI Virtuosi. The same results then reflected into who people believed would finish as runner up. Prema took the largest chunk with 33.3% believing it would be them while 25.9% believed in Carlin and 22.2% believed in UNI. 7.4% then went on to say they believe Hitech have a chance at second while 3.7% believed in Charouz, DAMS and ART.
Overall, this season will be one to remember and an interesting one at that. With the Formula 1 grid looking set for the following years bar the potential movements of George Russell to Mercedes and Pierre Gasly to Alpine, opening up a seat in Williams and a seat in Alpha Tauri, it’s going to be a tight fight to the finish line on who could be filling the seats of two of the biggest names in the current world of Formula 1.
This years championship will see an interesting battle between eight rookies and the returning drivers who will do anything to make their dreams of Formula 1 a reality.
Who do you think will be finishing at the top this season?