SECOND GENERATION DRIVERS GEAR UP FOR NEW F1 FEEDER SERIES BRUNDLE, SURTEES AND PALMER TO MAKE F2 DEBUT IN VALENCIA THIS SATURDAY Three sons of former F1 drivers will be among a contingent of British racers competing in the inaugural round...
SECOND GENERATION DRIVERS GEAR UP FOR NEW F1 FEEDER SERIES
BRUNDLE, SURTEES AND PALMER TO MAKE F2 DEBUT IN VALENCIA THIS SATURDAY
Three sons of former F1 drivers will be among a contingent of British racers competing in the inaugural round of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship at Valencia, Spain this weekend (29/30/31 May).
Henry Surtees, Alex Brundle and Jolyon Palmer have all impressed in pre-season testing. Alex Brundle topped the time sheets for much of the F2 test at Snetterton earlier this month, eventually finishing third fastest. His father Martin competed in Formula One in the 1990s and now commentates on the sport for the BBC.
Henry Surtees - son of John, the only man in history to have won world championships on two and four wheels - also impressed in pre-season testing, finishing over a second quicker than the rest of the field at Silverstone two weeks ago. Meanwhile Jolyon Palmer, whose father Jonathan won the 1983 Formula Two championship before competing in F1 in the 1980s, finished sixth quickest at the Northamptonshire Grand Prix circuit.
The trio, who at 18-years-old are three of the UK's outstanding young driving prospects, will be joined by fellow Brits Jack Clarke -- stepson of ex F1 driver Julian Bailey - Jason Moore and Tom Gladdis at Valencia this weekend.
Formula One success also runs in the family of F2's only female driver, Natacha Gachnang from Switzerland. 21-year-old Gachnang's cousin Sebastien Buemi is racing with the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team in 2009, and Gachnang herself has a career goal of being the first female driver to reach Formula One in nearly two decades.
The full 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship driver line-up will boast a continental crop of 25 young talented drivers from 15 countries and four continents. Red Bull has placed three drivers from their Junior Team -- which produced current F1 stars Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi -- in Formula Two in 2009.
This weekend's event at Valencia marks the return of Formula Two to the tarmac for the first time in 25 years. The 2009 championship, created from an FIA initiative to encourage cost effective top level international single seater racing, will run as a direct feeder series to Formula One.
The inaugural Formula Two champion will receive a full test with the AT&T Williams F1 team and the top three finishers will qualify for an FIA Superlicence -- required to compete in F1 Grands Prix. Williams F1 has been heavily involved in the championship from the outset, having designed the F2 car and lent its technical expertise throughout the development stages.
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of series organiser MotorSport Vision, said: "The return of Formula Two is a hugely significant occasion and I really believe we're making history. Formula Two is going to create a revolution in motorsport. The combination of high performance, F1 safety standards and 16 races all for just GBP200,000 was disbelieved when the FIA first invited tenders, but now with a full grid of drivers and the cars all complete, the reality has arrived."
The opening race of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship will be held on Saturday 30 May, and will be broadcast on Eurosport 2 at 17.00 BST. Race Two will be broadcast live on British Eurosport and Eurosport HD on Sunday 31 May at 12.45pm. Races can also be viewed live on the official Formula Two website, www.formulatwo.com.