Round 9 of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship takes the series to the Ardenne Forests, home of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. After the summer break, the teams and drivers will be back on track to kick off the final four rounds of the series, with back-to-back weekends to come for the series. Here is what to keep an eye out for this weekend’s FIA Formula 2.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME OUT IN BELGIUM?
Last year saw the feature race end in controversial fashion with Charles Leclerc and Oliver Rowland being disqualified after the race for excessive wear to the under floor plank. Leclerc crossed the line first in an dominance performance ahead of Rowland and Artem Mareklov, who both battled hard on the final lap for second place. Rowland forced the Russian off track at the final corner but Markelov was able to gain an advantage by passing the British driver before the line. Markelov benefited from Leclerc’ and Rowland’s exclusion.
In the sprint race, it was Sergio Sette Câmara who gave MP Motorsport a surprise win at Spa ahead of Nyck de Vries and Luca Ghiotto. ART Grand Prix‘s Nobuharu Matsushita suffered a massive accident at the top of Eau Rouge but escaped with no injuries.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR THIS YEAR?
With the summer break now over with, the teams and drivers will have their batteries recharged up for the second stage of the season, with four rounds to go in this year’s championship. There’s plenty of battles to look forward to for the last eight races, both drivers’ and team’s championships are still in contention the respected teams of George Russell and Lando Norris both battling for both trophies.
Fourth place sees three drivers within two points of each other as Artem Markelov, Nyck de Vries and Antonio Fuoco are all contending for a spot in the top five of the drivers table. In the race for the team’s title, Carlin Motorsport lead the way with 265 points over ART’s 232. DAMS lead ahead of Charous Racing System‘s for third by a single point whilst Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing and Russian Time both squabble for fifth.
ART’s George Russell will be looking to bounce back from the woes of Budapest and resume his championship charge. The British driver only salvage one point from that weekend and his lead is now cut down to 12 points between him and Norris. Russell however, does return to winning ground as he claimed victory in the first race in GP3 last year and will be hoping to repeat that this weekend.
It’s set to be a busy weekend for Lando Norris as he will be piloting two different Formulas, standing in for Fernando Alonso for Free Practice 1 in Formula 1. But Norris will be hoping to repeat his double success from last year, winning two of the three races in last year’s FIA European Formula 3 Series. He hasn’t win F2 since the season opener in Bahrain, but the 4.3 mile circuit seems like the perfect place to end that win drought.
Third place in the championship, Alexander Albon is looking to be the outsider in the race for the championship after taking two wins in the last four races. The DAMS driver is only 18 points behind Norris in the drivers’ table and with his good form lately, Albon could be a driver to watch out for as an underdog in both races and in the championship battle.
Jack Aitken was a winner around Spa in 2016, claiming his first ever GP3 win in the series. After what has been a mixed start for the ART Grand Prix driver, Aitken will be hoping to turn that around after ending his seven race points drought in Budapest with a fourth place result. Aitken is confident that Spa will see a change of fortune for his season by aiming for wins and pole positions for the rest of the season.
After losing out on victory to Albon last time out in the sprint race at the Hungaroring, Luca Ghiotto will be seeking vengeance and aims to grab his first win of the season. Himself and Charouz’ Louis Delétraz are the only drivers in the top ten of the championship to have not won a race yet. The Italian grabbed two podiums here last year when he raced for Russian Time and will hope that he can improve on that this year with Campos Vexatec Racing.
This weekend will also see for the first time the halo used at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and will be interesting to see how the drivers will cope with the steep climb up Eau Rouge for the weekend.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEKEND?
FRIDAY 24TH AUGUST
Free Practice: 12:55PM (Belgium Time) / 11:55AM (UK Time)
Qualifying: 4:55PM (Belgium Time) / 3:55PM (UK Time)
SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST
Feature Race: 4:45PM (Belgium Time) / 3:45PM (UK Time)
SUNDAY 26TH AUGUST
Sprint Race: 10:50AM (Belgium Time) / 9:50AM (UK Time)
WHERE CAN I WATCH THE FORMULA 2 RACES?
You can watch all session lives from the FIA Formula 2 championship on Sky Sports F1 throughout the weekend in the UK and Ireland. Re-runs of the races will be shown over the week.
HOW CAN I KEEP UP WITH ALL OF THE ACTION OVER THE WEEKEND?
The Checkered Flag will provide the latest news and updates from 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship this weekend and throughout the season.