GP2 Series

GP2 Series becomes FIA Formula 2 for 2017

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The World Motor Sport Council has confirmed that the GP2 Series will be known as Formula 2 with immediate effect.

FIA president Jean Todt has pushed throughout his presidency to reform the junior single-seater ladder, with the creation of national Formula 4 championships and the strengthening of the European Formula 3 series being key achievements.

Reviving F2 was a key aim for Todt, the category last being run by Motorsport Vision from 2009 to 2012 before collapsing, and the creation of a new series was approved by the WMSC back in 2015.

Following the sale of the Formula One Group to Liberty Media, talks to rebrand GP2 as F2 has sped up, with the change for 2017 being confirmed on Thursday.

“The World Motor Sport Council approved the creation of the FIA Formula 2 Championship for 2017 onwards,” a statement reads.

“The FIA reached an agreement with the Formula One Group regarding the transition of the GP2 Series to FIA Formula 2, and the series will support the FIA Formula One World Championship in all but one of the dates.”

The calendar for F2 in 2017 remains unchanged from that of GP2, supporting Formula 1 at 10 rounds and enjoying a standalone event at Jerez in October.

“Completing this process with Formula One Group and bringing FIA Formula 2 to life is a very important step,” Todt said.

“The championship will provide the final level for junior drivers who are looking to reach the ultimate goal of Formula One, and we have achieved a key target for the FIA in completing our single-seater pyramid.

“In recent years we have developed a hugely successful program of FIA Formula 4 championships in 12 countries around the world, the FIA F3 European Championship has become very strong and competitive, and now we have this final piece of the puzzle.

“I am also very pleased to see that we are already working in the same direction as Formula One Group, and I am sure that this positive relationship will continue to benefit our sport.”

2017 FIA Formula 2 Calendar

1. Sakhir, Bahrain – 14-16 April
2. Barcelona, Spain – 12-14 May
3. Monte Carlo, Monaco – 25-27 May
4. Baku, Azerbaijan – 23-25 June
5. Spielberg, Austria – 7-9 July
6. Silverstone, Great Britain – 14-16 July
7. Budapest, Hungary – 28-30 July
8. Spa, Belgium – 25-27 August
9. Monza, Italy – 1-3 September
10. Jerez, Spain – 6-8 October
11. Abu Dhabi – 24-26 November

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.