Schumacher v Ilott in battle for F2 crown
Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott will battle it out for the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship this weekend at the outer version of the Bahrain International Circuit.
After eleven rounds, Prema Racing’s Mick Schumacher leads UNI-Virtuosi driver Callum Ilott by 14 points with a total of 48 points still up for grabs this weekend.
It has been announced this week that Schumacher will drive for Haas F1 Team for the 2021 Formula 1 season despite the fact that the title has not been decided.
Mathematically, the top five drivers are still in the fight (Schumacher, Ilott, Nikita Mazepin, Robert Shwartzman and Yuki Tsunoda), but realistically the fight is still between Schumacher and Ilott.
The second Haas F1 seat has been given to Nikita Mazepin who is third in the championship and 43 points off Schumacher.
This is the first time that Formula 2 has used this configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit which has been described by many as ‘an oval’. The 2.277 mile circuit has eleven corners and will feature two DRS zones, one between turns three and four, and the other down the start-finish straight.
The long straights will mean qualifying will be as crazy as ever, and with four points up for grabs for pole position, it could mark a sizable shift if one of the championship contenders ends up with top spot.
So far this year, Ilott has taken pole position five times this year while Schumacher is yet to start on the front row this season. It is a remarkable statistic and one that could prove crucial this weekend.
Behind the championship fight, it is an important weekend for Carlin racer Yuki Tsunoda as the Japanese driver is currently fifth in the points standings, but he needs a top four finish to get the necessary super licence points to compete in Formula 1 next year.
Tsunoda has performed exemplary this year, but with only one prior season in single-seaters, he needs a top four finish to be able to compete in F1 in 2021.
Other stories to watch out for is how the likes of Louis Deletraz and Guanyu Zhou perform in what is likely to be their final weekend in the championship. Both have had a good run in F2, but as they are getting older, it is likely that they will move on in 2021.
Last but not least, with Jack Aitken making his Grand Prix debut this weekend, Ralph Boschung makes a premature return to the category with Campos Racing. The Swiss driver will be re-joining Campos full-time next season and will substitute Jack this weekend.
This weekend is a complete unknown with a new track, drivers under circumstances unknown to them before, with a title on the line.
The outer circuit in Bahrain is likely to create chaos, drama and will require both men to dig deep in order to prevail as champion at the end of it.
Mick Schumacher has to be the pre-weekend favourite with a 14-point buffer over Ilott. Now the Haas F1 news has been made public, the question remains whether he can he coax the title home or will a rejuvenated Ilott snap it from within his grasp..?