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Formula 2 Preview: Monza

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Sasha Macmillen

Credit: Lars Baron

After a chaotic weekend at Zandvoort, the Formula 2 caravan moves onto the penultimate round of the season, at Monza. And one driver heads into this round with one hand on that coveted Formula 2 title. Yes, Felipe Drugovich can wrap up the Formula 2 title at the sprint race in Monza itself.

Formula 2 once again returns to the Temple Of Speed that is Monza. Spreading across the Royal Villa of Monza park, the 5.793 km (3.6 mi) long track has two DRS zones, one on the start-finish straight, from the pit lane entry to the Rettifilo chicane, and the other between the second Lesmo curve and the Ascari chicane. One can expect to see overtakes being made into the Rettifilo chicane and the Ascari chicane with the help of DRS, and also into the Della Roggia chicane, with the chasing car keeping close with the help of slipstream along the Curva Grande. Another overtaking zone on the track is the final corner, Curva Alboreto, formerly known as Parabolica. Despite being a challenging corner, it is still possible to make an overtake going onto the start-finish straight.

There is a change in the driver pairing at DAMS for this weekend, as veteran Italian driver Luca Ghiotto makes a surprise return to Formula 2 for his first race since 2020, in place of Roy Nissany, who has been banned for a round after exceeding 12 penalty points.

Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli

Last year’s Formula 2 race weekend at Monza saw the likes of Theo Pourchaire and Jehan Daruvala take victories in action-packed sprint races, and Oscar Piastri convert his second-consecutive pole position into the first of a streak of four consecutive feature race victories. While Piastri has been announced as a McLaren driver for the 2023 season, the likes of Pourchaire and Daruvala are still competing in the F2 championship, with the Frenchman the only driver still able to win the championship other than Drugovich.

The returnee, Luca Ghiotto has taken back-to-back second place finishes in the feature races at Monza. He drove an excellent race from 13th on the grid to finish second at the flag in 2019. In 2020, he qualified an excellent third on the grid, and finished second in the Feature Race, behind Mick Schumacher. He will be looking to take another strong result in his one-off appearance for the ongoing season.

Current championship leader Drugovich had a torrid weekend at Monza last year, for UNI Virtuosi. Contact with Dan Ticktum into the first chicane damaged his front wing and brought out the Safety Car. He would eventually retire from the race, and had non-scores in the other races of the weekend. Pourchaire won Sprint Race One and took a fourth place finish in the feature race, capping off a strong weekend. Jehan Daruvala won Sprint Race Two, and finished behind Pourchaire in the feature race. Another driver who performed strongly at Monza last year is Carlin driver Liam Lawson, who took two top five finishes in the sprint races. Hitech driver Juri Vips too scored points in the sprint races. Neither driver finished the feature race, though. Current Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR) driver David Beckmann managed to finish fifth in the second sprint race last season.

Credit: Alex Pantling

However, this season, the fortunes have turned around completely for Drugovich, and he comes into Monza with a massive 69-point lead over his closest rival, Theo Pourchaire. The Brazilian driver took victory in the Feature Race at Zandvoort, and will be looking to do the same at Monza, and wrap up the title. The likes of Pourchaire, Logan Sargeant, and Jack Doohan will be looking to bounce back after tough weekends in Zandvoort. Elsewhere, Drugovich’s teammate Clement Novalak will be looking to build on his success at Zandvoort, the site of his first F2 podium, while Richard Verschoor of Trident will be looking to continue his strong form, having scored in each of the last five races. In contrast, Jehan Daruvala has managed to score only one point since the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, and will be looking to take inspiration from his triumph at Monza last year, in order to improve his position in the standings. Red Bull Driver Academy proteges Liam Lawson, Juri Vips, Ayumu Iwasa, and Dennis Hauger will once again be in the spotlight over the course of the weekend, with the quartet of drivers putting in impressive performances across the weekend at Zandvoort.

Another exciting weekend of racing beckons. Tune in to the Formula 2 action at Monza from Friday, at 9:25am BST.


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