A broad spectrum of period F2 cars offer hope for the future
There is a point beyond which Formula 1 cars become impractical, due to excess complexity and software obsolescence, and there is unlikely to be a demand to assemble fields of post-1996 F3000 or GP2 chassis: one-make racing flies in the face of historic motor sport’s essence (though Goodwood’s occasional flirtations with Austin A35s, Ford GT40s or Jaguar E-types seem to be tolerated).
In single-seater terms, then, ‘proper’ history has yet to advance much beyond DFV-era F1 or the pre-ground effect European F2 Championship (1967-78).
The good news? Period F2 cars are blessed with proportional elegance, a rasping soundtrack and boundless diversity: March, Chevron, Ralt, Lola, Lotus, Brabham, Tecno, Surtees and others are all represented – symbols of an age when volume manufacture extended far beyond Dallara.
There were fears that Historic F2’s strength could be diluted when Peter Auto established its own such series in 2017, in direct competition with the Historic Sports Car Club’s well-established championship, but to date that appears to have backfired. Peter Auto struggled to attract strong fields last season and stumbled into the new campaign with a seven-car entry for its opening meeting in Barcelona: only six cars started, two finishing the opening race and five the second.
Perhaps, in time, self-interest will be cast aside in favour of a single series based on the HSCC’s stronger alternative, which continues to attract grids of 20 or more and is set to be embellished by several freshly restored cars – including a brace of ex-Frank Williams Racing Cars March 712s. There are two rounds in the UK this season, at Brands Hatch (May 26-27) and Silverstone (June 16-17).
If time is going to stand still, this is not too bad a place to be frozen.