Can Andy Soucek jump from F2 to F1?

Andy Soucek (left, with Sebastien Buemi and Bruno Senna) was in GP2 before F2

Andy Soucek (left, with Sebastien Buemi and Bruno Senna) was in GP2 before F2

Andy Soucek became the first winner of the re-formed Formula Two championship at Imola this weekend. The 24-year-old Spanish driver now hopes to join countrymen Fernando Alonso and Jaime Alguersuari in F1 in 2010.

The re-launched series is intended to be a new, low-cost proving ground for drivers aiming to step up to Formula 1. Soucek’s title win will be the first test of whether it has been successful or not.

Arguably, there has never been a better time for aspiring drivers hoping to break into F1. There will be at least three four new teams in the shape of Campos, Manor, USF1 and Lotus in 2010, and The Team Formerly known as BMW may hang in as well. That could create up to eight new berths.

Soucek wrapped up the title quite emphatically – winning four races and notching up an unassailable 32-point lead with three of the 16 rounds still to run.

However some would argue that Soucek has done only what was expected of him. He went into F2 with (almost) two full seasons of GP2 under his belt. His best result was two second places, although he did not drive for one of GP2’s top teams. Few if any of his F2 rivals had comparable experience.

Although F2 is intended to be just as viable an entry into F1 as GP2 is, F2 cars have much less power. In normal running they produce 400bhp, and the driver can use an occasional extra boost of 50bhp. GP2 cars have around 580bhp.

Soucek also did a season in World Series by Renault (425bhp) and before that four years in Formula Three, culminating in his Spanish series title in 2005.

None of this is to say that Soucek isn’t talented or that he doesn’t deserve a drive in F1. But if he does get a drive in the championship next year it may at least be in part to his experience in other formulae.

He will now get an F1 test drive for Williams, who build the chassis for F2. However their test driver and GP2 champion Nico H???lkenberg will be one of his rivals for the seat (unless Williams are happy to start 2010 with two rookies).

The genuine acid test for F2 is what the other leading drivers in the series do next year – the likes of Mikhail Aleshin, Robert Wickens, Julien Jousse and Mirko Bortolotti, who along with Soucek fill the top five positions in the championship at the moment.

Will they choose to stay another year in F2 in the hope of gaining the title? Or will they look for a GP2 seat which brings experience of a more powerful car, on several tracks that appear on the F1 calendar?

That, as much as what happens to Soucek, will inform us whether F2 is a credible last step on the ladder before a driver is ready for F1.

Do you think Soucek can – or should – move up to F1? Have your say in the comments.

Image (C) Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service

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31 comments on Can Andy Soucek jump from F2 to F1?

  1. Michael said on 19th September 2009, 20:01

    he should stay in f2 i think ;]
    he is so young for f1 :D
    now he is only f2-fanatic :D

    • ?? He is older than Hamilton, Vettel, 5 years older than Alguersuari !

      • Maksutov said on 20th September 2009, 13:44

        I say if he is that old as you say, then why not. But otherwise no way. Young turdlings such as Alguersuari should stay away in other Formula classes until they mature, no matter how good they think they are.

        Personally I am not interesting in watching bloody kids race. If they are really really good, then im sure they will get even better by the age of 25!

        Aghmm..yeah ok back to the point, so if he is 21+ then why not…

  2. It might be good to give him a test drive role in Williams, to see if he’s up to it or not.

  3. i just do’t think he’s up to it…. he’s going further from F1 he should have stayed in gp2

  4. The competition in this year’s F2 hasn’t been anything to write home about. Soucek isn’t F1 material and should head back to GP2 first to try and prove his worth.

  5. I always wondered what the point of F2 was. It hasn’t proven to be a match for GP2, and with GP3 on the way it’s even less viable as a stepping stone.

    • This. Why have two similar series, with one that uses most of the same circuits and takes part in much of the same tour as F1, and the other is its poor cousin? Seems to me it’s just diluting the talent.

      • Because Max Mosley didn’t want Bernie controlling all the feeder series…

      • Remember we also have World Series which is also above F3 and has slightly more powerful cars than F2. WSR has a good track record (current champs in F1: Alonso, Heikki, Kubica, also Vettel was leading when he got Speed’s seat), F2 is still a long way from that.

  6. Williams will offer him the test and reserve position.

  7. If F2 wants to be a feeder series to F1 the winner should get a seat. Soucek did not win slightly he won by a landslide and deserves a chance in f1

  8. I’m sorry but I believe there are far more drivers with more potential before this chap.
    apart from young Senna, Daniel Ricciardo is IMHO the most promising talent not in f1 @ the moment.

    F2, GP2, F3, World Series by Renault, Formula BMW, AIGP….etc etc

    What is going to be the feeder series? we do need a world standard to make things a little easier for future drivers so they can follow a path unlike current setup, where it seems to change to what ever is this years latest fad.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 20th September 2009, 1:58

    I doubt Soucek will make the cut. He’d been racing in feeder series long before the rest of the F2 grid, so he naturally had an advantage. On the other hand, his time in GP2 was pretty disappointing.

    To make matters worse, teams may have their reservations about signing him because he could be a Piquet-esque liability. After all, he had Coloni’s cars impounded when his issue was with Fisichella Motorsport. Teams may not like the idea of signing him if his first reaction to being dropped by them if e doesn’t perform is legal action.

    • Soucek’s time in F2 wasn’t too bad considering the teams he ran for. DPR has never performed that well and he consistently beat his team-mate. He was also brilliant for Supernova last season and was on a par with his team-mate most of the way through the season, even though he didn’t start the season with them.

      I don’t really understand what you mean by Piquet-esque liability. The following point you make seems to have no relation as he never got the chance to drive for FMS. It wasn’t due to poor performances, it was simply that FMS stabbed him in the back. The courts found FMS had treated Soucek unlawfully and so they owed him compensation. When Colini bought the team, that debt doesn’t just disappear. He picks up the debt and no-one was paying up. Therefore, the cars were impounded.

      As far as I’m concerned, Soucek does have the ability to make it into F1. He might take a season to get used to it, but I believe he has the pace and the focus on the job at hand to be successful.

    • Actually, Fisichella Motor Sport took his money upfront and dropped him before a single race without giving a penny back. I think it’s fair to have impounded the team’s cars to get them to pay their debt.

      As for F1, I think his talent is evident and a team should give him a go.

  10. peterg said on 20th September 2009, 6:50

    I concur, that Coloni/FMS suit won him no fans in the GP2 paddock.

    As a driver he is good but there is nothing to mark him out as special in the way Rosberg & Hamilton won their GP2 titles……Wickens on the other hand may be the one to watch, he was very handy in the rough & tumble of A1GP.

  11. Bigbadderboom said on 20th September 2009, 10:08

    Soucek has already tested in F1 2 years ago and was found to be short on talent then. Part of his prize is the Williams test, but from what I’ve seen of him (a bit of f2 and GP2) he is competent but doesn’t stand out for me, and there are plenty in GP2 that do that.

  12. I’m still to be convinced by F2 as well, apart from the obvious name sounding like an F1 feeder series, it’s no GP2 from what I’ve seen. Surely though, if Soucek is good enough, an F1 move isn’t completely ridiculous? Didn’t Kimi get a super license after Formula BMW to get into F1 or something silly like that?!? – Was a great move in hindsight…

    You can read more about F2 and Mr Soucek here on Badger’s F2 section.

  13. When watching F2 the commentator mentioned that the cars use ground affects more than surface aerodynamics, does anyone know if this is the case and where more information is availible?

  14. According to Jonathan Palmer, the cars are indeed ground effect systems and I think more information can be found here.

    But in all seriousness it’s a great achievement and I personally don’t agree with Dank as I’ve been up close to these machines on more than one occasion and the racing is TIGHT!

  15. It still seems a bit early to try and judge F2’s potential as the main runner-up series for F1. However, what I think it does provide is, as advertised, a more financially viable alternative in preparation for drivers who can’t mount a budget to do a full GP2 season — or for whatever reason don’t think they’ll get a car in a top team there.

    As for Andy Soucek, he had considerable more experience than many of the drivers on the grid in 2009, so I’d agree he could have been expected to win the championship. The fact that he did deliver on these expectations people could have had of him, in my opinion, might well be an indication that he’s able to use his comparative experience and achieve something with it. So, I think the F1 test he’s going to get is well deserved. Whether anything more will happen for 2010 depends on many factors, we’ll see what happens in time.

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