FIA Formula 2

Carlin among new entrants to Formula 2 for 2018 season

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Carlin will expand its racing duties to encompass FIA Formula 2 from the 2018 season, with signs pointing to a link up with McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris for a title bid next year.

Carlin raced in GP2 between 2011 and 2016 before stepping away from the category ahead of its rebranding as F2 for 2017, allowing it to focus more on its racing interests in series such as Indy Lights, where it won the title last year with Ed Jones.

The team has worked with Norris since 2015 when he won the British Formula 4 title, with their relationship yielding a maiden crown in the FIA European Formula 3 series this year.

Norris is set to move into either Super Formula or F2 for 2018, making his debut in the latter next weekend in Abu Dhabi, but looks set to line up in Carlin colors next year after its return to the category was confirmed.

In an official release issued by F2 on Thursday, it was confirmed that Carlin, Fortec Motorsports and Charouz Racing System will all join the series next year, with Russian Time and Rapax departing.

A slot has also been left ‘TBC’ amid significant interest for a 12th entry to F2 for the 2018 season.

“We’re happy to announce our line-up for next season. We have decided to remain loyal to the majority of our existing teams who know the Championship well and are strong assets to nurture young drivers,” F2 CEO Bruno Michel said.

“We are pleased to welcome Carlin, Fortec and Charouz to the grid. They will get their first taste of F2 early 2018 at the new car shakedown which date will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We have received high-quality requests from many teams who wish to join our championship. Therefore, we keep open the possibility to add a 12th team to our line-up before the end of this year.”

Carlin is also poised to expand to the Verizon IndyCar Series as well in 2018, although the team has not confirmed those intentions or rumors that have percolated over the last several months.

2018 FIA Formula 2 – Entry List

Arden International (GBR)
ART Grand Prix (FRA)
Campos Racing (ESP)
Carlin (GBR)
Charouz Racing System (CZE)
DAMS (FRA)
Fortec Motorsports (GBR)
MP Motorsport (NLD)
PREMA Racing (ITA)
Racing Engineering (ESP)
Trident (ITA)
TBC

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.