24 cars make F2 debut
The 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship is officially underway as all 24 cars took to the track for the first time at Snetterton today (5 May).
After a formal introduction by Jonathan Palmer, the drivers got to familiarize themselves with their cars during a short stint of run-in and installation laps. Whilst no official timing was recorded today, the F2 drivers were able to steadily increase their pace and complete some solid runs as the day progressed. All 24 cars have run well throughout each session.
Testing is due to continue in grouped sessions tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, before the pit lane is opened for the first time to all drivers in the afternoon. Tomorrow will also be the first time that the cars run on bespoke Avon compounds and live timing will be made available on the official Formula Two website.
Spaniard Andy Soucek, who last season competed in GP2, was enthusiastic after his first run in the Williams JPH1 F2 car: "I have a very good feeling about this car and the championship. I have done four years of Formula 3, one year of Formula Renault 3.5 and two years of GP2, so I'm used to these type of cars, but the Williams JPH1 surprised me. The levels of downforce exceeded my expectations, the grip levels are good and once we have the new Avon tire tomorrow it should be even more fun to drive."
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"It is easier to follow another car than in F3 and GP2 as you don't lose so much aero. It means that being behind someone really permits you to get close to them, so I'm sure we will see a lot of overtaking this year."
21-year-old Swiss Natacha Gachnang was another who enthused after her maiden run: "The first session was really great. The car feels really nice, and although I wasn't pushing too hard you can feel that the car is really powerful and it will be a good apprenticeship towards Formula One."
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of series organizer MotorSport Vision, said: "This is a very proud moment. Today has gone far better than I had dared to expect; none of these cars had even turned a wheel before they arrived at Snetterton this morning and the whole MSV F2 team has done an absolutely phenomenal job in meeting the original date for the first test on time. All 24 F2 cars have run today and been amazingly trouble free.
"I really believe we are making history. The combination of high performance, F1 safety standards and 16 European races - all for just £200,000 - was disbelieved when the FIA first invited tenders, but now with a full grid of drivers and the cars all complete, the reality has arrived - Formula Two is going to create a revolution in motorsport.”