British race fans will have the chance to attend two race weekends on home soil with the 2010 Formula Two championship, including a season-opener at Silverstone.
The nine-meeting calendar also includes a provisional date in Morocco as well as visits to Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic.
This year’s inaugural season included two British dates, one at the Motorsport Vision-run Brands Hatch, the other at Donington Park. But Donington’s future is currently unclear with its promoters in administration.
Next year’s Brands date is pencilled in for the weekend of July 16-18, a week after F1’s British Grand Prix is supposed to be taking place.
In 2009 Andy Soucek became the first F2 champion for 25 years in a season that he dominated against varying strengths of opposition. His prize, along with the FIA super licence earned by the top three finishers, was the opportunity to test with Williams – this will be up for grabs again in 2010.
The season was a broad success – apart from a tragic accident at Brands Hatch in July which caused the death of Henry Surtees.
A safety investigation was initiated by series organiser Jonathan Palmer with input from car designers Williams F1. The results of that investigation have not yet been made public.
A car specification upgrade is in the works and for eight of the nine 2010 rounds F2 will accompany the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s European events. It will headline at the season-opener at Silverstone. Races are due to be televised live by Eurosport.
Entries are now open for the 25-car 2010 grid, with a season’s racing costing £275,000 plus VAT. For more details on entering, visit the series website. Winter testing is due to take place in Spain and Portugal during December.
Jonathan Palmer said of the new season: “When the FIA announced in September 2008 that MSV had won the tender to design and build a fleet of new Formula Two cars and operate the championship we knew we faced an enormous challenge to get 24 cars on the grid for the first race at Valencia.
“Williams F1 did an outstanding job designing our new JPH1 F2 car under the direction of Patrick Head. Our MSV F2 team headed by Giles Butterfield has worked phenomenally hard this year to both build the cars and run them so professionally in F2’s first year.
“There is no question F2 has been a great success already. We have had a full grid from the start to the end of the season. The unprecedented affordability of F2 has meant we have had drivers from 15 different nationalities competing.”
He said the series had been fiercely competitive, with eight different drivers winning races, and Andy Soucek getting a good opportunity to demonstrate his talent.
“However 2009 has just provided us with a solid base from which to aggressively enhance F2. Key areas that will be addressed for 2010 include a target of achieving 100 per cent car reliability, greater car performance and team operational efficiency.
“Early indications are that the 2010 grid will fill quickly with a high quality field of drivers and that our champion next year will be another talent destined for F1.”
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering at Williams F1, added: “I am pleased to see that the F2 championship in 2009 has been successful and has been won by the driver who not only had the best speed over the season, but who also was tactically ahead of his competition.
“Jonathan Palmer is never one to stand still, and amongst many other improvements wishes to raise the performance of the car by working on all the major performance controlling parameters; weight, power, tyre grip, downforce and drag.
“2009 champion Andy Soucek will be driving for a full day of our permitted three days testing allowance for young drivers in December, and I am sure he will perform well.
“Formula Two has made a mark in 2009 as a competitive championship, professionally run with equal cars, but everything can be improved and we intend that this shall be the case for F2 in 2010.”
The F2 calendar for 2010
- Silverstone, UK: April 16-18
- Marrakech, Morocco: April 30-May 2 *
- Monza, Italy: May 21-23
- Zolder, Belgium: June 18-20
- Algarve, Portugal: July 2-4
- Brands Hatch, UK: July 16-18
- Brno, Czech Republic: July 30-August 1
- Oschersleben, Germany: September 3-5
- Valencia, Spain: September 17-19
* Subject to the approval of the national sporting association