Their journey towards Formula 1 continues as 10 stars from Formula 3’s class of 2022 will be making the step up to Formula 2 for the 2023 campaign. Let’s explore where our graduates are heading this season...
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Oscar Piastri by achieving back-to-back Championships, 2022 F3 Champion Victor Martins enters the new season with many expectations and is targeting a rookie title charge.
Sticking with the familiarity of his ART Grand Prix family, the Frenchman knows that adapting to F2 won’t be easy, but his motivation and confidence will be at an all-time high. Lining up alongside compatriot Théo Pourchaire, the Alpine junior recognises the benefit of having a strong teammate as his benchmark and as a drive to push himself forward throughout the year.
2022 proved to be a monumental year for Zane Maloney. Claiming F3 Vice Champion honours in style with three consecutive Feature Race victories, the Bajan driver not only earned the FIA Rookie of the Year award, but a coveted spot in the Red Bull Junior Team, alongside a reserve driver role.
Now the 19-year-old will be reuniting with Carlin, a team that helped him to British F4 success in 2019, and one that proved itself to be a formidable force in F2 last year. Whilst the early stages of the ‘23 season will be focused on building his experience, his previous performances indicate that Maloney could really come into his own as his F2 mileage grows.
Having brought home a win in every single-seater season he’s competed in since his debut in 2020, Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman will have his heart set on a fourth victorious year in 2023. Having quickly moved up the ranks after success in Italian and German F4 and F3, the 17-year-old will be the youngest driver on the grid.
Part of a new-look PREMA Racing roster in F2, he’ll have Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti for company and the Danish driver should prove to be a strong benchmark to beat. Making consistent podium scoring the hallmark of his F3 season, Bearman knows he’ll be one to watch this year, but will want to eliminate the rookie mistakes that he reckons held him back from title glory.
Becoming one of the season’s standout performers last year, Isack Hadjar will be eager to repeat the same feat as he continues his partnership with Hitech Grand Prix. One of six Red Bull juniors keen to impress in F2, the Frenchman’s strong working relationship with British team should help smooth his transition to the second tier.
Noting that one of his biggest takeaways from his rookie year was the need for consistency, the 18-year-old's mature approach could be his not-so secret weapon in a campaign that should prove to be a marathon rather than a sprint.
Continuity is the name of the game for Roman Stanek, as he remains with Trident for the 2023 F2 season. Instead of needing settling in time, the Czech driver’s focus has shifted towards an intense physical fitness plan, which should help him cope with not only the physical demands of the car, but also the variety of demanding tracks on the 14-round calendar.
Focusing on finding but not exceeding the limit, Stanek knows from his experience that not wasting any track time will be of paramount importance, particularly with several new circuits early on to contend with.
After two seasons with PREMA Racing in F3, Arthur Leclerc has swapped from the Italian team to French outfit DAMS for his rookie F2 season. Whilst a fully-fledged title charge failed to materialise last year with a sixth-place finish in the Standings, the Ferrari junior will be brimming with confidence at the potential DAMS has to put him right in the mix this time around.
Partnering highly rated Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa, Leclerc joins a DAMS squad that finished their 2022 season on a high, netting a front row lockout in the final Qualifying session of the year and a Feature Race victory. Although Leclerc’s Qualifying performances have proved to be a thorn in his side, if he can master his one-lap pace quickly, then his race pace and overtaking abilities have already shown he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Completing Hitech’s all Red Bull line-up alongside fellow graduate Isack Hadjar, 2023 is a homecoming for Jak Crawford as he reunites with the team that gave him his F3 debut for his maiden F2 campaign. Despite being disappointed at his seventh-place finish in the Championship last season, there are plenty of positives and lessons the American can draw upon.
After a disappointing opening round in Sakhir, Crawford was able to turn his fortunes around and vault himself back into title contention all the way to the final round. Demonstrating the determination and perseverance needed to succeed in F2, the 17-year-old knows how to fight back and bring home points, even when the odds are stacked against him.
JUAN MANUEL CORREA
A true comeback story for the ages, Juan Manuel Correa will return to the F2 grid just over three years after the tragic events at Spa-Francorchamps, as he partners up with Van Amersfoort Racing. His two seasons in F3 had seen the American driver go from strength-to-strength, including earning an emotional maiden podium in Zandvoort, but Correa’s hungrier than ever to continue that upward trend.
The upcoming campaign presents a major opportunity for both Correa and the team, who’ll also be fielding the experienced Richard Verschoor. The Dutch squad’s debut season brought solid results and their consistent top 10 pace towards the latter stages of the year will have given them a strong foundation to build upon to try to bring the fight to frontrunners in 2023.
One of the earliest signings for the ‘23 season, Kush Maini has been making the most of his preparation time with Campos Racing. Believing that the F2 car is more suited to his style of driving than the F3 car, the Indian racer certainly showed it in post-season testing, where he secured four top 10 finishes.
Adjusting well to his new environment at Campos, the confidence boosting end to 2022 gave Maini the perfect platform to continue his development with the team over the winter break. Putting in the work early on should pay dividends as there’s still lots for the 22-year-old to master before the opening race of the year.
Taking on the challenge of F2 after a single season in F3, Brad Benavides has a huge hurdle to overcome this year, but it’s one that the American driver is relishing. Lining up for newcomers PHM Racing by Charouz, Benavides’ rookie season will be a learning curve and a test for how quickly the 21-year-old can get to grips with his new machinery.
However, if post-season testing in Abu Dhabi is anything to go by, Benavides and his new team seem to be right at home as he clocked in 171 laps in total across the three days. With his best performance last year being in the whirling Spa-Francorchamps Sprint Race, he’s proven that he can handle the challenge in front of him and will be hoping to repeat similar performances this time around.