The Dallara F2 was released in 2018, and is an open-wheel racing car, originally known as the F2/18. It was developed by Italian manufacturer Dallara for use in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, and this is a feeder-series for Formula One – the last major stepping stone, if you will.
It was introduced as the successor to the ageing chassis of Dallara’s GP2/11. The designer, Luca Pignacca, began drawing up concept images for the F2 back in 2015. By late 2015, the development and construction started to take shape, with the chassis being the primary focus. The first chassis was fully developed by May 2017, and the entire vehicle assembled by July of the same year. The complete chassis package costed around £60,000 per unit.
From the off, it had large shoes to fill. This was due to the fact that it was replacing the mightily successful Dallara GP2/11, which had been raced since 2011 and onwards – a car that had not only withstood the test of time, but also sustained interest and provided entertainment.
The Dallara F2 itself incorporates a much lower nose, alongside a wider and lower rear wing, alongside a more curved and broader front wing, when compared to its predecessor, the GP2/11. The rear wing also still incorporated the drag reduction system, or DRS, flap. The purpose of this is improved overtaking and manoeuvre assistance. It did retain the ‘shark fin’ engine cover, but the profile of the carbon fibre panel was lowered. It also used the same tyres, fuel tank and brakes as the GP2/11. What did see a large overhaul were the mechanical aspects of the car, which were newly developed for the F2.
Additionally, the F2 featured a halo cockpit protection device. This is a wishbone-shaped frame which is mounted to the monocoque. Its sole purpose is to deflect debris and any other detritus away from the driver’s head in the event of an accident.
As the Formula 2 Championship is a spec series, which means that all the racers must use the same vehicle, the F2 is raced by every team and every driver.
It gained an infamous reputation for being difficult to drive due to the turbocharged V6 engine. This required far more delicacy on the throttle compared to the needs of the GP2/11. Many drivers also stalled the F2 on the starting grid. The F2 2018 was also the first Dallara F2 chassis to suffer a fatality, to this date, whilst partaking in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. Anthoine Hubert was tragically killed in a wreck during the feature race at the 2019 Belgian round.
A year later, at the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship in Russia, Mick Schumacher and the F2 were victorious, securing a first-place finish.
Whilst the F2 certainly has a mixed history, it is undeniably an innovative piece of technology that has gone on to produce some highly entertaining races in the world of Formula Two.