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Retrospective: 1984 European Formula Two Championship

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Mike Thackwell might be better known for being the youngest driver to start an F1 World Championship round in 1980, but 4 years later he achieved his greatest success, winning 1984 European F2 Championship for Ralt. He won 7 out of the 11 rounds, taking wins at Silverstone, Thruxton, Vallelunga, Mugello, Pau, Misano and Enna-Pergusa, and took the title by a massive 28 points.

Ralt dominated the season with the New Zealander’s team mate, Roberto Moreno, winning at Hockenheim and Donington Park and finishing 2nd to Thackwell. The other wins were shared between Frenchmen Pascal Fabre (PMC/BS – won the 2nd race at Hockenheim) and Philippe Streiff (AGS – won the final round of the season at Brands Hatch). Other notable contenders included future sportscar star Emanuele Pirro, F1 race winner Alessandro Nannini and German ace Christian Danner.

Standings
1) Mike Thackwell – Ralt – 72 pts (7 wins)
2) Roberto Moreno – Ralt – 44 pts (2 wins)
3) Michel Ferte – Martini/ORECA – 29 pts
4) Philippe Streiff – AGS – 27 pts (1 win)
5) Christian Danner – PMC/BS – 23 pts
6) Thierry Tassin – Onyx – 18 pts
6) Emanuele Pirro – Onyx – 18 pts
8) Pascal Fabre – PMC/BS – 13 pts (1 win)
9) Pierre Petit – Onyx – 10 pts
10) Alessandro Nannini – Minardi – 9 pts

Fast-forward to 2009 and to the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. The Formula Two Championship is reborn this weekend after an absence of 25 years. The format has changed considerably, as the series is now single-chassis with no specific teams (based on the format of Formula Palmer Audi), but the name is still the same. It is also FIA-accredited which gives it a big boost, and its low cost has attracted some of the hottest young prospects around, as well as a few pay drivers.

Leading the field in qualifying today was Red Bull-backed Canadian Robert Wickens. A race winner in A1 GP, he has been transfered to the series by the energy drink manufacturer along with Italian F3 champion Mirko Bortolotti, who they have picked up after his impressive test with Ferrari at Fiorano last year. The 3rd Red Bull starlet is Russian Mikhail Aleshin, who has spent the last 3 seasons in the World Series by Renault. They are joined by a host of other well-known young drivers, including former GP2 ace Andy Soucek, who lines up 3rd on the grid. Serbian Milos Pavlovic, Tobias Hegewald, Carlos Iaconelli, Julien Jousse, Edoardo Piscopo and Philipp Eng are all on the grid as well. There are also a few young Brits, including the names Palmer, Brundle and Surtees – that is Jolyon Palmer, Alex Brundle and Henry Surtees, sons of former F1 stars Jonathan (who is also series boss), Martin and John.

It will take time for it to become more attractive, as you can’t expect series to take off straight away, but it is an attractive options, especially to those who don’t have the money. The Williams-Audi cars are also gorgeous. Many are surprised the series has even materialised – I remember debating with members of GlobalF1 when it was announced, as they were adament that a series with such a low budget was impossible to create and it was little more than a political tool in Mosley’s battle to stay in power after “Spankgate”. But it’s here, and here’s the grid for tomorrow’s race:

1) Robert Wickens (Can)
2) Tobias Hegewald (Ger)
3) Andy Soucek (Esp)
4) Carlos Iaconelli (Brz)
5) Mikhail Aleshin (Rus)
6) Julien Jousse (Fra)
7) Edoardo Piscopo (Ita)
8) Milos Pavlovic (Ser)
9) Kazim Vasiliauskas (Lit)
10) Henry Surtees (GB)
11) Philipp Eng (Ger)
12) Mirko Bortolotti (Ita)
13) Jolyon Palmer (GB)
14) Natacha Gachnang (Swz)
15) Sebastian Hohenthal (Swe)
16) Alex Brundle (GB)
17) Jack Clarke (GB)
18) Nicola de Marco (Ita)
19) German Sanchez (Esp)
20) Armaan Ebrahim (Ind)
21) Henri Karjalainen (Fin)
22) Jens Hoing (Ger)
23) Tom Gladdis (GB)
24) Pietro Gandolfi (Ita)
25) Jason Moore (GB)

Calendar
1/2) Valencia (Esp)
3/4) Brno (Cze)
5/6) Spa-Francorchamps (Bel)
7/8) Brands Hatch (GB)
9/10) Donington Park (GB)
11/12) Oschersleben (Ger)
13/14) Imola (Ita)
15/16) Catalunya (Esp)

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Written by James Bennett

May 29, 2009 at 20:46

Posted in Junior series

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