“Thoughts on the loss of Formula 2”

The news that MotorSport Vision have agreed not to run the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2013 is a disappointing decision, but ultimately not unexpected.

Reappearing in 2009, the low cost series struggled for numbers and despite some good racing; its placement in the ladder system has raised questions.

In its four-year lifespan, Formula 2 proved somewhat directionless, with its outgoing talent feeding into no particular championship, while no series’ actively led to it.
With that, MSV have curtailed their support one year before the contract’s natural conclusion.

The series proved to be something of a cul-de-sac for a number of hopefuls – and ultimately no hopers. Once one looked beyond Formula 2’s top ranks, the field tended to be a collection of drivers who could drive, but were never destined to be challenging for wins and that perception hurt the series badly.
As well as that, Formula 2’s absence from a support slot with an international championship of credible standing significantly weakened its position, robbing the series any chance of building a respectable brochure.

Of its champions from 2009 to 2011, none have yet to progress significantly {note 1}. Unfortunately, a Williams F1 test – something that appeared to reduce in importance with each year – proved not enough of a pull either.

Launched during a time of great economic challenge, the position of the series also compromised by a technological refocus that shifted the championship’s already ambiguous position.
According to Palmer, “F2 has always provided outstanding value and equality for its competitors. However, it has become progressively clear that the single operating team concept that enables these benefits has compromises that have, overall, reduced its appeal to drivers.
“Other championships at F2’s level have also increased their appeal through recent performance upgrades, and it is logical to conclude that in F2’s final year grid numbers would reduce, perhaps significantly. I believe we have a responsibility to competitors planning their 2013 seasons and careers not to operate F2 if we are not confident of another strong season, and have therefore discussed this matter with the FIA who understand and accept our recommendation not to continue.”

The FIA commented “the Federation has been pleased to support F2 throughout these four competitive years. The FIA is determined to develop a clear path for young drivers from karting to F1 and therefore reiterates our commitment to single seater racing series.”

It is a shame that F2 will not be supported, but when one considers how dreadfully cluttered the feeder ladder is, the series was ultimately unnecessary.
Once again, the forgotten people in this decision will be the ones who now find themselves out of work during an extremely tough economic period.

{note 1}
It must be added that 2010 Formula 2 champion Dean Stoneman was sidelined at the end of that year with testicular cancer. After a year off in 2011, the Englishman took part in two races in the Radical European Masters at Silverstone in April.
Meanwhile, inaugural champion Andy Soucek competed in several Superleague races and one Blancpain Endurance Series event, after being fired as Virgin F1’s reserve driver in 2010. Last year’s champion Mirko Bortolotti ran several races in the ADAC GT Masters.

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