Head designs new F2 racer

Williams design legend Patrick Head is leading the team creating the Formula 2 spec car that will reintroduce the category to contemporary motor sport next year.

Former F2 champion Jonathan Palmer, who has been tasked by the FIA to run the new series, revealed Head’s involvement during a presentation at Williams’ Grove base in October. Palmer’s MotorSport Vision company will run all 20 cars centrally, as it has done for the successful Formula Palmer Audi junior category.

The FIA commissioned the new F2 to be a cheaper alternative to other Grand Prix feeder formulas. Palmer said his series will cost £195,000 plus VAT for a season, “around one sixth of the budget for GP2”.

“The return of F2 after 25 years is an enormously significant time in the history of motor sport,” he said. “There is no doubt the FIA’s eagerness to create a prestigious high performance new championship at a radically low cost is perfectly timed.”

The car, built to 2005 FIA Formula 1 safety regulations, will be powered by a new 1.8-litre turbocharged Audi engine producing 400bhp. That pitches the series between Formula 3 and F1, close to the performance of Renault’s World Series. A power boost button will aid overtaking, offering a six-second burst of 50bhp 10 times during a race.

Palmer said: “The car will have a high level of downforce, but they will be able to follow each other closely. Forty per cent of the downforce will come from the underside of the car, just like GP2.”

Two 40-minute races will be run at eight events, the second race featuring a mandatory pitstop in which the driver must remain stationary for 10 seconds. At most events F2 will share the bill with the World Touring Car Championship.

Along with the cost, the biggest carrot for drivers will be a full Williams F1 test for the champion and entitlement to the FIA superlicence required to race in GPs.