After three race weekends in the space of four weeks in July, the FIA Formula 2 Championship now starts a three week summer break before the next round in Belgium.
F2 is sometimes described as a university for racing drivers, teaching them lots of things they need to know before they get to Formula 1. This includes managing the tyres, which are designed by Pirelli to degrade during a race and promote wheel-to-wheel racing.
And just like in any university, some of the students will be using the break to gain some extra work experience to help them in their budding careers. For F2 drivers, that means spending time with F1 teams. Some will get lots of hours on the simulator, but a lucky few get to try the real thing.
After the Hungaroring, the F2 teams packed up and headed back to base to begin the break, but the F1 teams have all stayed on there for two days of testing. And some of the F2 drivers are with them.
The championship leader Charles Leclerc has been rewarded for his performances so far this season with a run out for Ferrari. It’s not his first taste of F1, but still it’s a crucial opportunity to impress ahead of what he hopes will be a 2018 race seat somewhere in F1.
For others, the test marks a special milestone in their ambitions to reach F1. For Nicholas Latifi, it is his first time driving in an official test with Renault. This week he is sharing duties with Robert Kubica, and the grand prix winner is sure to get more than the lion’s share of the media attention, but Latifi comes into the test off the back of some strong form in F2.
Other drivers are getting their first ever run in an F1 car, like Luca Ghiotto at Williams, and Sauber’s all-F2 duo of Nobuharu Matsushita and Gustav Malja. Sean Gelael gets his second outing of the season with Toro Rosso and new F2 racer Santino Ferrucci is in action for Haas.
All will gain valuable experience and hope to impress those who matter, and will no doubt have a lot of fun too. It certainly beats sitting on a beach.
Here is a recap of the tyre strategies during last week’s Feature Race in Budapest.
Rowland – Soft (new) 10 laps // Medium (used) 26 laps
Latifi – Soft (new) 12 laps // Medium (used) 24 laps
De Vries – Soft (new) 12 laps // Medium (used) 24 laps
Matsushita – Soft (new) 9 laps // Medium (used) 26 laps
Ghiotto – Soft (new) 12 laps // Medium (new) 24 laps
Nato – Soft (new) 7 laps // Medium (used) 29 laps
Gelael – Soft (new) 12 laps // Medium (used) 24 laps
Ferrucci – Soft (new) 8 laps // Medium (new) 28 laps
Boschung – Soft (new) 11 laps // Medium (used) 25 laps
Jeffri – Soft (new) 10 laps // Medium (new) 16 laps // Soft (used) 10 laps
Malja – Soft (new) 6 laps // Medium (used) 30 laps
King – Soft (new) 9 laps // Medium (used) 27 laps
Markelov – Soft (new) 11 laps // Medium (new) 22 laps
Visoiu – Soft (new) 8 laps // Medium (used) 16 laps
Canamasas – Soft (new) 9 laps // Medium (used) 15 laps
Fuoco – Soft (new) 11 laps
Leclerc – Medium (new) 22 laps // Soft (used) 14 laps
Albon – Medium (new) 21 laps // Soft (used) 15 laps
Delétraz – Medium (new) 23 laps // Soft (used) 13 laps
Sette Camara – Medium (new) 23 laps // Soft (used) 13 laps