Plans to revive the FIA Formula Two Championship came a step closer with the recent announcement of details for the new race series.
MotorSport Vision (MSV), having won the tender last month to supply the cars and operational expertise, wasted no time in getting the ball rolling.
MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer has stated that the cars, to be designed by Williams F1, will utilise a turbocharged 1.8 litre Audi engine and will be built to Formula One-level safety standards.
"The return of Formula Two after 25 years is an enormously significant time in the history of motorsport,' said Palmer. "We are thrilled and very privileged to have Williams F1 as our partner in this project.
"Williams are one of the few independent F1 teams and their engineering-led approach has won them 113 Grands Prix and nine World Constructors Championships." he added.
Formula 2 can trace it roots back to 1948, initially named Formula B it was set up by FIA as a smaller and cheaper complement to the Grand Prix cars of the era. Interest in the series dwindled in the eighties as costs soared and it eventually merged into F3000 in 1984, and F3000 in turn morphed into GP2 in 2005.
The announcement by the FIA in June 2008 as a cut price feeder series for F1 is significant as the costs are projected to be in the region of 250,000 Euro;s for the entire event schedule. The new series hopes to attract young talented drivers who will have the opportunity to race in a top flight international championship at a reasonable cost.
'There is no doubt the FIA's eagerness to create a prestigious high performance new championship at a sensationally low cost is perfectly timed.' States Palmer
Parmer has taken up the challenge of Formula 2 having himself benefited from the series. After winning the Formula 2 championship in 1983 driving a Ralt-Honda he progressed into Formula 1. His initial drive was in a TAG Williams FW08C at the European Grand Prix of 1983, he recorded a 13th place finish. Palmer went on to race in Formula 1 driving for the Skoal Bandit Formula 1 Team, West Zakspeed Racing, Data General Team Tyrrell and Tyrrell Racing team with a best carfeer finish of 4th in the Australian Grand prix of 1997.
FIA President Max Mosely commenting about the new race series stated 'The objective is to make top-level international single-seater racing available to drivers who at present have difficulty in raising enough money to demonstrate their talent. Formula One and other major championships will benefit by being able to draw on a far larger pool of drivers'
"We hope to reveal talent that might otherwise never have emerged and we look forward to seeing drivers coming into Formula One with Super Licences gained in Formula 2."
MSV has extensive experience in supplying race cars and promoting motor racing events. MSV owns and operates five circuits in the UK and has run the Formula Palmer Audi racing championship for the last 11 years. MSV is also the commercial and organisational rights holder for the British Superbike Championship.
The cars will have identical 1.8-litre Audi engines based on the 20 valve block and head, as used in Formula Palmer Audi, although they will be pure race engines rather than incorporating standard road car components. The upgraded engines are expected to develop a continuous maximum engine power of 400bhp at 8250 rpm. The F2 car will additionally feature over boost with 450bhp being available for 6 seconds. This will be available 10 times during each race.
The chassis will be designed by a six man team from Williams F1, led by Director of Engineering Patrick Head. Cars will feature a survival cell is of carbon fibre composite and are designed to comply with the 2005 FIA F1 Technical Regulations. Protection will conform to the latest 2009 F1 standards and will incorporate many safety features including wheel tethers.
The aerodynamics have been developed using the Williams F1 CFD computer simulation which enables many different configurations to be tested without the need to actually build the parts and test in the wind tunnel. The car will have over 2000lbs of downforce at 150mph - compared with, for example, F3 at 1750lbs.
The F2 vehicles will be assembled and prepared between races at MotorSport Vision's Bedford Autodrome facility, with testing sessions scheduled at circuits around the UK.. The first prototype car is on schedule for its testing debut in November 2008, with the Championship due to start in May 2009 and comprising 16 races over eight events.