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F2 CEO Bruno Michel reveals his thoughts on ‘interesting’ championship battle

The 2023 season of the FIA Formula 2's Championship has seen a tight battle for the championship with four potential contenders only halfway into the season

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Bruno Michel, the CEO of the Formula 2 and Formula 3 feeder series, revealed his thoughts on the 2023 F2 championship battle, which has already seen the lead change hands between multiple drivers.

Vesti F2 Pourchaire Bearman Iwasa Michel Formula 2
Race winner Frederik Vesti celebrates on the podium during the Round 7:Barcelona Sprint race. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

This coming weekend, Formula 2 heads to Austria for the eighth round of the season around the Red Bull Ring. In 2022, it was Marcus Armstrong and Logan Sargeant who took victory around Spielberg. However, it was Frederik Vesti who secured pole position last year.

Vesti currently leads the Formula 2 Championship by 11 points to Théo Pourchaire. Ayumu Iwasa is in third, 17 points behind the Frenchman whilst PREMA Racing’s Oliver Bearman sits in fourth. The top four drivers are also all part of an F1 team’s academy with Vesti being Mercedes, Pourchaire being Sauber, Iwasa being Red Bull and Bearman being a part of Ferrari.

However, the battle for the championship is tight as the lead has swapped hands many times already this year. After Race One in Bahrain, Pourchaire took the lead after securing victory in the Feature Race. After Jeddah, the championship lead swapped hands to Ralph Boschung as F2 headed to Melbourne for the first time.

But then Ayumu Iwasa joined the championship battle, leading on 58 points as F2 raced in Baku for round four. From there, the feeder series raced in Monaco and Barcelona, missing the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend due to its cancellation.

Coming from Monaco, Vesti led the championship on 89 points after taking the win in the Monte Carlo Feature Race. In Barcelona, it was a double PREMA win as both Vesti and Bearman won a race each.

Speaking to Bruno Michel

With such a tight championship battle already, only halfway into the season, FormulaNerds asked Bruno Michel, the F2 and F3 CEO, what he thought of the championship.

Michel told FormulaNerds that the championship battle this year is a rather “interesting” one. He said he couldn’t give a name as to who he thought would take the title but he did offer his opinion on the championship so far.

Speaking to FormulaNerds, and other selected media in a media roundtable, Michel said:

“It’s very interesting because as you say, we’ve had drivers do incredible performances and then disappearing the weekend after and then coming back the weekend after. It’s a little bit of a consistency issue.

“But if you look at the drivers in front at the moment, of course, Vesti has been doing quite a consistent job, I would say. Probably he’s the one that’s been the most consistent since the beginning of the season, even though he had some bad weekends as well. Théo has been having ups and downs as well. He was not settling.”

So far this season, Vesti has won three races; the Dane won the Saudi Arabian and Monaco Feature Races and then the Barcelona Sprint Race. Pourchaire, who was deemed to be a title contender coming from 2022, has only won one race this season and that was the Bahrain Feature Race. The ART Grand Prix driver has, however, secured some more podiums throughout the other race weekends.

Bearman’s ‘absolutely extraordinary’ but lacks consistency

Michel also gave his thoughts on Bearman, who has had some dominant weekends in his rookie F2 season. The young Brit dominated the Baku race weekend after going fastest in free practice, taking pole in qualifying and victory in both races. Bearman was also victorious in Barcelona in the Feature Race. As a result of Bearman and Vesti’s victories, PREMA Racing lead the Teams’ Championship.

Speaking on Bearman, Michel said:

“And the first rookie we have, Bearman, it’s the same as well. He’s been having some incredible weekends but he’s been having weekends with almost no points.

“It’s quite an interesting championship and I just mentioned the first four but you can continue and then you’ll have the same situation with the following drivers. So it’s really really difficult to say who’s going to come out on top.

“Sometimes in some seasons you have a driver mid-season that is already quite ahead and showing very very strong hope at winning the championship.

“At the moment, I would say, I mentioned the first four drivers and they are really the best ones at the beginning of the season. But with a little bit of lack of consistency as well, which makes them not be there all the time.

“I think it’s interesting to see that out of those four drivers, we have just one rookie, which is quite amazing because when he’s [Bearman] there, he’s absolutely extraordinary.

“But he’s not there all weekend either so that’s something that we’ll see. If he continues under the same level as he’s been in Barcelona or Baku, then yes he’ll be there at the end as well.”

There are seven rounds left of the 2023 F2 season. Vesti is leading the charge but the drivers behind will continue to battle him. With such a close championship battle and a strong field of drivers, only time will tell who will come out on top.

Headline Image: GettyImages

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