These are Formula 2’s youngest ever race winners

Théo Pourchaire successfully became the youngest ever Formula 2 race winner following a dominant win in the 2021 Monaco Feature Race. So which F2 race winners did the Frenchman knock further down the order once he took his first win at The Principality?

By Jakub Czekalski

The origins of second tier formula racing go back 74 years to 1948 when the FIA created the ‘first’ Formula 2 Championship (known then as Formula B). The championship saw some impeccable drivers with the likes of Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda and Jack Brabham be crowned champions and move up the ladder to Formula 1.

In 1985 the FIA introduced the International Formula 3000 in place of the folded Formula 2 Championship. The championship got its name from 3.0L engines that were used to power the cars. Notable drivers include Jean Alesi who won the 1989 championship with Eddie Jordan Racing, Olivier Panis winning with French team DAMS in 1993 and Juan Pablo Montoya with Super Nova’s second consecutive champion in 1998. By 2002 expenses rose exponentially meaning entries and sponsors rapidly dwindled and the series experienced tough competition from European F3000. The series closed its doors in 2004 which paved the way for a new championship in 2005 – GP2.

Launched by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Britatore, GP2 replaced International Formula 3000 as the second tier of formula racing. Intended to make racing better and become an improved training ground for life in Formula 1, GP2 made it mandatory that all teams use the same engine, chassis and tyre supplier in an attempt to better reflect the ability of the drivers. To boost the series’ profile, all but three races took place as support races at Formula One weekends which also gave drivers experience of the Grand Prix environment.

On the 23rd January 2017, the takeover of Formula One by American company Liberty Media was completed. The GP2 series was immediately rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship alongside the FIA Formula 3 Championship ahead of the 2017 season. The new CEO of the Formula One group, Chase Carey, said that their priority was to strengthen junior motorsport categories and the rebranding was likely their first step in that direction.

F1 Feeder Series takes a look at the youngest drivers to win a Formula 2 race and how they did it. It’s no coincidence they’re all from the modern era. In order of oldest to youngest:

Liam Lawson – 19 years, 1 month & 10 days

FIA Formula 2 – 2021 Bahrain Sprint Race 1

The Kiwi started the first Sprint race in third place behind Théo Pourchaire and David Beckmann. Lawson got and incredible start off the line jumping both drivers in front of him and leading into turn 1. Pourchaire and Beckmann trading places throughout the first lap allowed Lawson to extend his advantage to over 1 second, a gap which he managed to hold until lap 13.

After hunting Lawson for over half the race, Pourchaire’s engine gave way which handed the Red Bull Junior driver some breathing room until fellow academy driver Jehan Daruvala managed to close to the gap to Lawson to just under a second on the penultimate lap of the race.

On lap 23 Liam Lawson crossed the line in what was a dominant display to win his first F2 race on his debut, 0.925s ahead of Jehan Daruvala, while David Beckmann rounded off the podium finishing in third, 14.382s behind Lawson.

Liam Lawson at Carlin in 2021 | Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Lundgaard – 18 years, 11 months & 20 days

FIA Formula 2 – 2020 Styrian Sprint Race 2

Starting on the second row behind Dan Ticktum and Marcus Armstrong, Lundgaard was in a strong position to go for the win.

After a good getaway, the Dane managed to overtake Armstrong into turn one. However, the long run down into turn three means anything can happen and after going side-by-side with Armstrong into the tight, uphill corner, Lundgaard managed to get a better exit after Armstrong was compromised by having to take a tighter line.

On lap 4, Lundgaard was on a charge and just set the fastest lap of the race. A powerful slipstream brought the Danish driver alongside Ticktum heading into turn four and pushed the Brit to the gravel, compromising his exit and stealing the lead in the process.

After Mick Schumacher’s fire extinguisher exploded in the car on lap 13, the race was uneventful and Lundgaard crossed the line 2 seconds ahead of Dan Ticktum to take his first win in Formula 2.

Lundgaard F2 ART 2020
Christian Lundgaard on the podium at the Red Bull Rings after his first-ever Formula 2 win in 2020 | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Lando Norris – 18 years, 4 months & 25 days

FIA Formula 2 – 2018 Bahrain Feature Race

A new era of Formula 2 has begun, the Dallara F2 2018 chassis was the (overall) fourth generation of Formula 2 cars with characteristics closer to Formula 1 cars than previous generations. It was an exciting start to the next generation of F2 as the top three (Norris, Russell and Albon) qualified within 0.089s of each other.

As the five lights went out both Albon and Russell had wheel-spin off the line and dropped down the order. Norris’ teammate, Sergio Sette Camara, jumped from 6th to 2nd heading into turn 1 whilst Norris created a gap of over a second to the rest of the pack. ART GP driver Nyck De Vries overtook the Brazilian on the second lap and set after the Briton.

After nine laps Norris was leading De Vries by over 8 seconds and didn’t look like slowing down any time soon. On lap 12, Camara overtook the Dutch driver into Turn 1, Alex Albon followed close by and stole 3rd place from De Vries.

After 31 laps of controlling the race comfortably, Norris crossed the line to win in hi first full season of Formula 2 by over 8 seconds to teammate Camara to give Carlin to their first 1-2 finish of the new era.

Lando Norris winning with Carlin in F2 at Bahrain in 2018 | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Théo Pourchaire – 17 years, 9 months & 2 days

FIA Formula 2 – 2021 Monaco Feature Race

The youngest ever FIA Formula 2 race winner started on pole after an excellent qualifying session at the Principality with the Premas of Robert Shwartzman and Oscar Piastri starting second and third. The ART GP driver comfortably held first place heading into turn one although having been put under pressure from a faster starting Shwartzman off the line.

With the top three spots being identical to how it started, it was anyone’s game and Piastri was first to blink coming into the pits on lap 28 with a clean stop. On lap 30, the second Prema driver came in and wasn’t met with the same slick drills as his teammate as Shwartzman’s left rear wouldn’t go on properly, leaving him stationary for over 10 seconds.

Pourchaire benefitted from a free pitstop after a Marcus Armstrong mistake on lap 31, when the Kiwi binned it at Rascasse bringing out the VSC. Lap 32, Lirim Zendelli locks up and ended up in the wall at Rascasse bringing out the yellow flags. Two laps later and Dan Ticktum also found himself in the barrier, at Rascasse, after being pushed wide by Oscar Piastri.

On lap 42, Théo Pourchaire, in scintillating fashion took home his first win of the 2021 season and breaking the record held by Lando Norris as the youngest F2 race winner. With the minimum age limit set at 17-years-old exactly to race in Formula 2 there’s still plenty of room for a fledgling talent to take the title of youngest F2 winner from Théo Pourchaire. Who do you think it will be?

Pourchaire F2 2021
Theo Pourchaire wins at Monaco in 2021 | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Header photo credit: XPB Images

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