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A look into PREMA’s disappointing Formula 2 results

Written by Silvia Cojocaru, Edited by Tarun Suresh

Image Credit - Prema Racing

Following their highly successful 2023 campaign, where Frederik Vesti was challenging Théo Pourchaire for the Drivers Championship, expectations were high for  PREMA’s Formula 2 team. However, now nearly halfway through the season, PREMA is only 7th in the standings, with both their drivers failing to reach the podium in a feature race so far.

At a glance, the PREMA driver pairing seems unstoppable, with both Kimi Antonelli and Ollie Bearman being sought after by Formula 1 teams for a seat as early as next year. 

Bearman has even competed in the Formula 1 Championship this year, replacing Carlos Sainz for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and scoring points. On the other hand, Antonelli is allegedly one of Mercedes’ favourite picks to replace Hamilton in 2025. 

Credit - Prema Racing

Ever since the start of the Formula 2 season, the PREMA car did not seem to be running at a competitive level, with the first session of qualifying seeing the duo taking only 17th and 18th on the grid. 

The race was not all that better for Bearman, who only finished 15th, while Antonelli netted his first point in Formula 2, finishing 10th.

After some decent races, having both drivers claim a best-finish of 4th in a feature race, things seemed to be looking up for the team. That was until the race in Barcelona where neither Antonelli nor Bearman were able to score any points. 

Bearman won the Sprint race in Austria, but his teammate was out of the points. Even so, this win only feels like an outlier. Is there a possible cause for these lacklustre results, or is it simply down to bad luck? 

Firstly, we need to consider the many technical difficulties the team has struggled with. Bearman reported engine and balance issues in Spain, and due to a problem on the formation lap, Antonelli had to start the race from the pit lane. 

Balance issues and an overall lack of pace, especially on the harder tyre compounds are things that the team has tried to fix ever since the start of the season, and although on some race tracks they seem to have learned to manage these issues, outliers still exist.

When it comes to strategy, there haven’t been any particularly bad calls made by the team, but rather unfortunate timing with some safety cars or errors down the pit lane. It’s not surprising then that the team’s only victory has come in the sprint race in 

Austria, where there were no mandatory pit stops and Bearman could simply display his talent.

What could’ve been the team’s best weekend, in Imola, finished with Ollie Bearman taking 19th place after his engine stopped when he went to pit.

Antonelli had his best finish of 4th in front of his home crowd, yet considering that he also started 4th on the grid, it was obvious that both himself and the team expected more from the weekend. Melbourne proved similarly unlucky, with a Virtual Safety Car messing with both drivers’ strategies.

Image Credit - Prema Racing

Overall, the team are determined to get to the bottom of their pace issues, and they surely have the drivers to accommodate any challenges that may arise. 

With no major changes within PREMA’s leadership over the past year, all the ingredients for a proper comeback are in place. The main question remains whether it is too late for the Italian team to take advantage of their phenomenal driver line-up. 

While it may be unfortunate not to see these drivers reach their full potential during races, it is great to see that Formula 1 teams don’t seem to value results alone when it comes to spotting future talents. 

This may also give hope to other young drivers performing in smaller teams, who are not able to necessarily compete at the front, that they may also be taken into account by motorsport’s biggest names.


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