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FIA Formula 2 - Three-pronged attack for FDA in Bahrain


The Formula 1 Championship will be back on track in Bahrain for the second race of the season. The Sakhir weekend will also host the first round of the FIA Formula 2 series, which opens its 2019 in the Middle East. Ten teams and 20 drivers are all set to do battle after a 2018 championship that confirmed the value of the series, with the promotion to Formula 1 of the top three, George Russell, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon.

New cycle. Formula 2 started a new cycle in 2017, taking over from the GP2 Series and becoming a championship run under by the International Federation. Last year the class saw a significant technical change, with the debut of a new single-seater (updated with the new FIA specifications that included the use of the HALO system) and a V6 turbo engine in place of the previous aspirated 4-litre V8. The other features stay the same: a 12-round calendar, each of which is held on Formula 1 weekends, with two races per weekend. This yearís innovation in Formula 1, the point for the fastest lap, has long been in Formula 2 sporting regulations, which also assigns four points to the poleman.

Giuliano. The Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) will see three of its drivers on track in the 2019 championship, all in their first full season in the class. After completing his two-year stint in the GP3 Series (with the 19-year-old Frenchman notching up four wins in 2017 and 2018), Giuliano Alesi will start his third season with the Trident team. His teammate will be the Swiss Ralph Boschung, in his third season in the series.

Callum. Callum Ilott cannot officially be considered a rookie, given that the 20-year-old Briton raced in one round of the 2017 Championship, but statistics aside, this will be his proper debut season. After finishing third in the last GP3 Series championship, Ilott will start with the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz, with the US driver Juan Manuel Correa as his teammate.

Mick. Mick Schumacherís debut is also highly anticipated. After winning the European Formula 3 Championship, the 19-year-old German is ready to move up a class, as confirmed by the positive results of the pre-championship tests. Like Alesi, Schumacher has also stayed with the team with which he competed in the previous series, so will race for Prema, flanked by the Indonesian Sean Gelael.

Generational change. This year sees a substantial generational change, with 10 of the 20 drivers about to take part in their first full season in the series. The two test sessions of recent weeks on the Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona tracks saw Nick De Vries (ART Grand Prix) and Luca Ghiotto (Uni Virtuosi Racing) in the top positions. Both drivers are in their third season in the class. The pair, together with the Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara (DAMS), will be the benchmark for all their opponents as the season gets underway.

Programme. The Bahraini weekend will start on Friday with the free practice session, followed by qualifying for Race-1, which starts on Saturday at 1.10 pm. The starting grid for Race-2, scheduled for Sunday at 2.15 pm, will be an inversion of the top eight positions of Race-1.

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