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PREVIEW: 2022 FIA Formula 2 Round 1 – Sakhir

Two weeks after the grid completed pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, they return for the first round of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 season for another blockbuster year.

This season’s weekend format has reverted to the previous format of a single Sprint Race and Feature Race after the 2021 season saw two Sprint Race’s as well as a Feature Race spread across the weekend.

The Story So Far

PREMA Racing’s Jehan Daruvala was quickest on the Day One of Testing, setting a time which was half a second quicker than the rookie Calan Williams who set the second fastest time.

Carlin’s Liam Lawson was quickest on Day Two and became the first driver to delve inside the 1m42s. He too was half a second quicker Ralph Boschung and Théo Pourchaire who both set identical lap times to take second.

Credit: Dutch Photo Agency

MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich topped the timing sheets on the morning Day Three which saw a sandstorm forcing Race Control to abandon the afternoon session. He finished ahead of his team-mate and FIA Formula 3 graduate Clement Novalak to take the quickest time of the day.

A total of ten rookies will start their Formula 2 journey in Sakhir, including nine drivers who have made the step up from competing in Formula 3 last season. Out of the twenty-two on the grid, eighteen of them will be F3 alumni which includes last year’s champion, Dennis Hauger.

Pourchaire returns for his second season as the youngest driver on the grid again at just eighteen years old. The average age of the entire grid comes in at a youthful twenty-one years of age.

What Happened Last Year?

We had two rookies bursting onto the scene in the first two races of the season last year with Lawson and eventual champion Oscar Piastri winning the first two Sprint Races, respectively.

Credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

It is a favoured track by Lawson, who told Formula 2, “In terms of the track itself, I like driving it and, in the past, I’ve had some pretty good results here. I think the most unique thing about this place is the tyre degradation and how abrasive the surface is.”

He continued with, “In terms of the actual layout, it’s just a fun track. It’s got a mix of high speed and low speed sections with the big main straight so it’s just a nice circuit to drive.”

The latest recruit into the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Guanyu Zhou, was last years Feature Race winner after also taking pole position earlier in the weekend. He fended off Dan Ticktum and the Kiwi, Lawson, to start the season in the best possible way.

Track Facts

Distance: 5.412km (3.362 miles)
Total Turns: 15
DRS Zones: 3
Available Tyre Compounds: Hard/Soft
Lap Record: 1:38.907 by Charles Leclerc in 2017 (PREMA Racing)
2021 Pole Position: 1:42.848 by Guanyu Zhou (UNI-Virtuosi Racing)

Weekend Schedule

  • Free Practice: Friday @ 09:35 GMT (12:35 Local)
  • Qualifying: Friday @ 16:25 GMT (19:25 Local)
  • Sprint Race (23 Laps): Saturday @ 16:40 GMT (19:40 Local)
  • Feature Race (32 Laps): Sunday @ 10:40 GMT (13:40 Local)

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