2022 Formula 2 Predictions
Written by the Divebomb Team, Edited by Harshi Vashee
With the 2022 season of FIA Formula 2 set to open this weekend in Bahrain, a team of our writers took a look at the talent and came up with their predictions as to how it will all play out.
Dennis Hauger: Prema have been the team behind the drivers’ champion for the past 2 seasons in the form of Mick Schumacher and Oscar Piastri; in 2022, I think they’ll make it 3 with Dennis Hauger. The Red Bull-backed Norwegian won the Formula 3 title last year in dominant fashion with the Prema team who he remains with as he steps up to F2, the final step in the ladder before F1. Three of the last five F2 champions won F3 the season before their F2 championship win and two of them were with Prema, so Hauger’s odds are very good. The F2 grid, however, is full of amazing young talent with the likes of Theo Pourchaire, Liam Lawson, and Jehan Daruvala all contesting Hauger for the title, so it will be far from a cake-walk for him.
Liam Lawson: Lawson’s rookie year in Formula 2 got off to a good start as he qualified eighth and went on to win the very first race of the season. The rest of his year, however, was marred by unreliability and mistakes, most of which were not his fault. He finished ninth in 2021, but a switch from Hitech to Carlin means he’ll likely have more of an opportunity to fight for the championship, and he’ll be coming back ready to fight for the results he missed out on last year. The title fight will likely be close, as it always is in Formula 2, but I predict that Lawson will be the one to get consistently good results and end up the champion when all is said and done.
Liam Lawson: 2022 looks to be a real mix between experience and talent in the battle for the championship, and I believe that a driver with both qualities will win the title, in Liam Lawson. Lawson showed superb moments in 2021, a debut win in Bahrain, and was cruelly denied an epic win in Monaco after a technical fault. But with a year's experience, and his raw pace being undeniable, we could see Lawson as a real contender, particularly after his move to Carlin, a team traditionally higher up the grid. All these factors could give the Kiwi a great opportunity to win the championship in 2022.
Prema Racing: It’s often naive to bet on the favourite, but in the case of Prema, I fancy my chances. The Italian outfit have netted the F2 drivers’ title three times in the past five years, as well as the teams’ championship for the past two seasons. Their driver pairing is arguably the best on the grid, as it is most years, with Jehan Daruvala and Dennis Hauger sure to be fighting for wins throughout the 26-race season. In terms of the other teams competing against them; Carlin are the only ones who I can see challenging them, but I still back the seasoned winners at Prema, as most will.
Carlin: Throughout the past two years, Prema have been a dominant force, winning the team’s championship in every category they competed in during the 2020 season. In 2021 they lost their grip on the Formula 3 title and Trident won, and I believe that this year they’ll lose their grip on the Formula 2 title. While Dennis Hauger comes into the team as the reigning Formula 3 Champion and is joined by Jehan Daruvala in his third Formula 2 season, I have a feeling they’ll be outpaced by their rivals at Carlin Racing. With Red Bull backed Lawson having a year of experience under his belt, Carlin have paired him with Williams Academy driver Logan Sargeant. The team has proved themselves to be able to fight at the top in Formula 2 in the past, and with a strong lineup they might be able to finally take the team’s title back from Prema.
Carlin: Prema will be undeniably the favourites for 2022, after their domination of the last 2 seasons. Their Red Bull Junior line-up of Jehan Daruvala and Dennis Hauger are particularly strong too. But, I predict it will be Carlin who wins the team's championship. I have already predicted Liam Lawson to win the drivers, and Logan Sargeant is no slouch either. The American finished an impressive 7th in an unfancied Charouz in F3, and with his new Williams backing, he could be exactly the person Lawson and Carlin needs to support a championship push.
Anthoine Hubert Award (Rookie of the Year)
Dennis Hauger: For Rookie of the Year, I’ve gone for the same man who I’ve predicted as my champion, Dennis Hauger. There are 4 or 5 very talented rookies stepping up to F2 this year, but for me, Hauger is the pick of the bunch. It’s not unnatural for an F2 rookie to take the title, and so I expect Hauger to do that with his main rookie competition likely coming in the form of Jack Doohan or Logan Sargeant. Doohan proved very pacey at the closing 2 rounds last year, during his 2-weekend debut with MP, but with the Virtuosi team, they may not be able to deliver him the tools required to take the fight to the Premas. In Sargeant’s case, I just don’t see him bursting onto the scene like some fans might hope he will.
Logan Sargeant: The American driver narrowly missed a chance at a Formula 2 seat in 2021 after nearly missing the Formula 3 title the previous season. But an incident in the final race meant that the seat at Prema’s Formula 2 team went to Oscar Piastri, and funding issues meant that Sargeant was stuck in Formula 3 for another season. He signed with Charouz, a team much further down the field than Prema, but managed to continually fight his way up the field in a season full of impressive performances. In a car that his teammates struggled to control, Sargeant qualified in the top 12 every single weekend, and managed several podiums and a race win. After being signed to Williams’ driver academy, he’ll finally be getting his chance in Formula 2, alongside Lawson at Carlin. There will be a lot for him to prove, especially against other talented rookies like Dennis Hauger and Jack Doohan. But he’s a fast driver who is likely to get at least one pole position throughout the season, and if he’s consistent enough and stays out of trouble, he could just manage to snag the rookie of the year award.
Jack Doohan: Dennis Hauger will be fancied by many for the Anthoine Hubert award, but I don’t think he will be quite up to the expected pace, despite being in a Prema. Instead, I think Jack Doohan will win the award, in his first full season. Doohan competed in the last 2 rounds of 2021, and was impressive in both weekends, finishing 5th in Sprint Race 2 in Saudi Arabia, and qualifying 2nd in Abu Dhabi, all this in an MP. And, with his new Alpine backing, and in a Virtuosi, who should be toward the higher end of the field, the promise that Doohan has shown that he will be right up in the higher end of the pecking order in 2022.
Surprise of the Year
Jack Doohan: For me, it’s Virtuosi’s hotshot rookie, Jack Doohan. The 19 year old Aussie makes his full-time F2 debut this year with the frontrunning Virtuosi team, following Guanyu Zhou and Felipe Drugovich’s departures from the team. In F3 last season, Dennis Hauger consistently stole the show, while Doohan remained in the passenger seat of the championship fight for the majority of the season, missing out on F3 glory by just 26 points. Following the end of the F3 season, Doohan made his F2 debut with MP Motorsport, a solid midfield outfit. In just his second weekend, at Abu Dhabi, Doohan put his MP car on the frontrow, alongside eventual champion Oscar Piastri. Doohan’s glory was short-lived, with an incident early on ending his race. The point stands, though, that Doohan made magnificent pace with an average team, and so I’m very excited to see what he can do with Virtuosi throughout 2022.
Marcus Armstrong: Armstrong is coming into his third year of Formula 2, and with his third team as well. After two podiums in his first two weekends, Armstrong struggled to get into the points for the rest of his debut season with ART Grand Prix, and moved on to DAMS for 2021. Here he managed one win and one podium, but again struggled in the midfield, and finished 12th in the standings (the same as he did in 2020). For 2022, Armstrong signed with Hitech, and has also lost the backing of the Ferrari Driver Academy, meaning his Formula 1 hopes are as good as gone. This could mean he’ll have less confidence, but I believe he has nothing to lose at this point, and will come back stronger and more willing to take risks. He’s spent two seasons under the radar and at this point his stock is pretty low, but my prediction is that he’ll take a step up in 2022 and put in a lot of strong performances.
Marcus Armstrong: I’d summarise Marcus Armstrong’s two years in F2 as disappointing, but I do think that 2022 will be the year that a bit of luck finally strings together for the Kiwi. He has shown signs of potential in his two seasons, and won his first race in Jeddah last year. Armstrong now finds himself in Hitech, where he can be challenging for wins on a semi-regular basis. Armstrong now has a wealth of experience and should be challenging at the front more regularly. With many not taking particular note of the ex-Ferrari academy driver, it really could be a great opportunity to spring a surprise
Struggle of the Year
Frederik Vesti: The ART second driver curse is well known amongst F2 fans, and I can’t help but feel like Frederik Vesti will be a victim of it in 2022. Despite being a Mercedes junior, Vesti joins F2 with a team that has seen its “second” driver be leaps and bounds off of their teammate. While you could argue Vesti might not be the second driver, he’s racing for ART alongside Theo Pourchaire, who’s a favourite to be going for the title this year at just 18 years old. There is a chance Vesti can hold his ground and fight for the title, the odds are against him and I just don’t see it happening.
Jehan Daruvala: Daruvala is facing a tough challenge in 2022, proof that racing with the best team in a series isn’t always the best situation. He’ll be in his third season of Formula 2, and racing against Hauger, a rookie as well as a fellow Red Bull driver. Hauger comes in with an impressive resume and off the back of a championship win, while Daruvala has much more to prove. The sad fact is that after drivers like George Russell, Charles Leclerc, or Oscar Piastri come through and win Formula 2 in their rookie year, anyone who doesn’t win as a rookie is seen as incompetent. Even if Daruvala takes the title, people will still claim he should have done it earlier, or that it’s not as impressive because of how long it took him to win. In order to truly impress, Daruvala will have to dominate the title fight, which I don’t believe he’s going to do. Hauger is more likely to come out on top of that teammate battle, which would doubtless mean a very hard season for Daruvala.
Olli Caldwell: Caldwell had a measly performance in F3 last year, but gained a promotion to F2 for the last two rounds of 2021. The Brit finished 8th for the Prema outfit, probably not up to the standard required of F2, but due to his large financial backing, he has secured himself a Campos drive. The Brit has also received Alpine backing, but in his two races last year he was significantly off the pace and had numerous incidents. And this year, I cannot see him in the points regularly or at all, and will therefore be the struggle of the year.
Let us know about your F2 predictions in the comments!
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