Mihai Marinescu, Will Bratt commit to F2 for 2011
Romanian Mihai Marinescu has confirmed he will return for a second season of F2, after an accomplished debut campaign last year. He will join the grid at Silverstone this weekend after receiving backing from the Romanian Tourism Department, the City of Brasov and KG Clean Energy. He becomes the 21st driver to be confirmed so far in the 2011 championship.
Mihai joined Formula Two on the back of a competitive year in Formula Renault 3.5 with the Interwetten team, and he scored nine points finishes over the course of the 2010 season. He made a composed start to his F2 campaign with two top eight results in the opening round at Silverstone, before superb qualifying performances at Monza saw him line up third and fifth for the two races – his best two results of the year. He finished fifth in the opening race, but clashed with Jack Clarke in the second and retired.
Points finishes in both races at Zolder followed, before Mihai took his best result of the year at Portimão – narrowly missing out on a maiden F2 podium after storming from tenth on the grid to fourth at the checkered flag. A sixth place finish in the second race at Brands Hatch followed, before he finished his season on a high with sixth place finishes at Oschersleben and Valencia, having qualified inside the top eight for both races. He finished the year a very respectable 11th overall.
Marinescu's racing career stretches back more than a decade to karting, when he won four consecutive national titles and enjoyed strong success internationally. He made his single seater debut in 2005, when he competed in a variety of Formula Renault categories alongside a full campaign in Formula Junior 1600 Italy, in which he finished runner-up at the first attempt - ahead of current Toro Rosso F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari. Mihai switched to Formula BMW Europe in 2008, finishing 11th overall, and won the Formula BMW Pacific race that supported the annual Formula Three Macau Grand Prix before moving into Formula Renault 3.5 for 2009.
Speaking ahead of this week’s opener at Silverstone, Mihai said: “Last year was really good and I’ll be putting that experience into good use this time. Silverstone testing went well and I feel confident with the track, so it’s a great opportunity for the podium. In the championship I want to finish in the top three but I have my eyes on the Williams F1 test.”
Formula Two Series Director Jonathan Palmer said: “It’s really great to have Mihai back for 2011. He showed great promise last year and given his impressive run in pre-season testing I’m sure he will be a strong contender for podiums, and maybe even race wins, starting from Silverstone this weekend.”
Will Bratt returns to F2
2010 frontrunner determined to win 2011 title
22-year-old Briton Will Bratt, who finished 5th in the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship, has confirmed his return to the category for an assault on the title this year, starting at Silverstone this weekend (16/17 April).
Will was one of the stand-out performers of F2 last season, claiming four podium finishes and remaining in contention for a top three finish in the championship until the very last round at Valencia, ultimately missing out by just 13 points.
Bratt didn't sit in a racing car again until the final pre-season F2 test at the new Snetterton 300 circuit on 30 March, but his pace was impressive from the outset and he finished second in the morning session.
Will's successful racing career dates back to 2004, when he won the T Cars championship in the UK. He went on to finish 2nd in the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship and 6th in Spanish F3 the following year, before claiming his first major title in 2009 by winning the Euroseries 3000 championship. After a brief foray into GP2 with the 2009/10 Asia Series, Will stepped up to F2, and with a year's experience in the MSV-run championship under his belt he is targeting a title win in 2011 and the prize test drive with the Williams F1 team.
"I really am very happy to return to F2 this year", said Bratt. "It's a fantastic championship with an incredible prize and we visit some of the very best circuits in the world. My sole aim is to win the title this year; that's my expectation and I intend to deliver. The deal is very late in the day, so we did miss the Silverstone test in March, but that shouldn't be a problem - I'm confident we'll be strong."
F2 Series Director Jonathan Palmer said: "I'm delighted Will is returning to F2. He is an extremely talented driver who could make a good job of an F1 drive. It is clear F2 is going to be very competitive in 2011 and Will is certain to be one of the favorites for the title."