No fewer than five Ferrari Driver Academy drivers are all set for the start of the FIA Formula 2 Championship. The FDA group has high hopes, as what looks likes being a busy and exciting season is about to get underway at the Spielberg track in Austria.
After waiting 122 days since they last tried their cars at the Bahrain test back in March, the Formula 2 drivers will be back behind the wheel. After the long enforced pause, the season is going to be pretty demanding, with eight rounds taking place in the space of ten weeks, a tour de force which starts tomorrow with the first round in Spielberg, Austria.
The experts. Two of the five Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) students taking part in the series are rookies in this category. For Giuliano Alesi, Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher, 2020 is their second year in Formula 2, which is a solid base to start from in a series that gets ever more difficult for newcomers. Schumacher races for the Prema team, while Ilott and Alesi have both changed teams this year, the former with UNI-Virtuosi Racing, the latter with HWA Racelab.
The rookies. Making their FIA Formula 2 debut this weekend will be Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman, who moved up to the series after a great Formula 3 season last year, in which the Russian took the title and the New Zealander came second. Shwartzman teams up with Schumacher at Prema, while Armstrong drives for ART Grand Prix.
Solid base. We have laid the groundwork which we now hope will see our drivers do well,” said the FDA’s Technical Director Marco Matassa. “They can count on our support and also that of their very competent teams. I think our presence in the FIA Formula 2 championship is significant not just in terms of the number of drivers, but also because of the quality of each element. Giuliano, Callum and Mick now have a good idea of what’s involved and will be expected to capitalise on their 2019 experience, but I think that, after a short while, Marcus and Robert will also be capable of getting good results, given their performance last year.”
Unusual season. The 2020 season will be very different to usual, because so many races are being run in such a short space of time. It means that getting off to a good start will be essential. “The lack of time between events means there is less time to stop and look at any possible problems,” reckoned Matassa. “It’s therefore very important to have a good start to the season to be able to work calmly. All our guys know the Austrian track well, so that they should be able to deal with any variations of the track.”
Programme. The Spielberg weekend gets underway with free practice at 12:55 on Friday, followed by qualifying at 17:00. The first race starts at 16:45 on Saturday, with the second one on Sunday at 11:10.