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Michel Formula 2 Formula 3
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 20: Juri Vips of Estonia and Hitech Grand Prix (8) and Ralph Boschung of Switzerland and Campos Racing (15) lead the field into turn one at the start during the Round 1:Sakhir Feature Race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 20, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Bruno Michel: 2023 F2 grid is ‘one of the strongest we’ve seen’

Formula 2 has ten talented rookies and 12 veterans on its grid this season, making it one to watch for 2023

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It’s going to be an exciting year for Formula 2, according to the F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel.

Michel Formula 2 Formula 3
The seven Formula 3 title contenders (L-R) Jak Crawford, Zane Maloney, Roman Stanek, Victor Martins, Isack Hadjar, Oliver Bearman, and Arthur Leclerc (Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images)

In a roundtable with select press, Michel talked to FormulaNerds about which drivers he’s excited about this season, and what he expects from the championship.

Exciting new rookies

In 2023, a grand total of ten rookies are making the step from Formula 3 to Formula 2. Of those ten, seven of them were the top seven in the 2022 Formula 3 standings. From reigning champion Victor Martins to 23rd-placed Brad Benavides, there’s a lot of promising talent coming in to fight against more experienced Formula 2 drivers.

For Michel, this combination of drivers is great news, and something to look forward to.

“The grid is going to be incredibly strong this season in F2,” he told FormulaNerds. “Definitely one of the strongest we’ve had for a few years I must say. It’s fantastic because we have almost half of the grid coming from Formula 3 because we had a very strong grid in Formula 3 last year. 

“So it’s going to be very, very interesting to see how young drivers like Martins, [Isack] Hadjar, [Zane] Maloney, [Oliver] Bearman, are going to do against more experienced drivers, starting with Theo [Pourchaire] who’s coming back, but also Jack Doohan, also [Dennis] Hauger, also [Enzo] Fittipaldi will be in his second year.”

Title favourite?

Formula 2 and Formula 3 completed pre-season testing last week in Bahrain. A few drivers came to the top more than others, but it’s hard to judge the full season based on a few days of testing.

When asked by FormulaNerds if he had any drivers that stood out to him, Michel commented: “It’s very difficult to draw any conclusion about what we’ve seen at the test, because you don’t know exactly what strategies the cars are on, the drivers are on, some of them are doing race simulations where others are doing quali, so finding some interesting information on the pre-season testing is always something that is quite complicated. 

“But what I know for sure is that those young guys coming into the system are going to give a lot of work to do for the second or third year drivers. And we’ve seen in the past that when you have completely outstanding drivers coming from Formula 3 as a rookie, they can win in Formula 2 in the first year, and that’s something that we might see this year so let’s follow that up but it’s going to be interesting.

“I don’t want to give any favourite for the season, it’s too difficult to do that, but on the other hand, it’s going to be very open, that’s for sure.”

After months of off-season for the Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers, the season finally kicks off next weekend in Bahrain. If Michel is right about the title fight, it will be a season well worth watching.

Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images

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