Dallara F2 2018
The Dallara F2 2018 (originally known as the Dallara F2/18) is an open-wheel racing car developed by Italian manufacturer Dallara for use in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, a feeder series for Formula One. The F2 2018 is the second car used by the FIA Formula 2 Championship and was introduced for the 2018 championship as a replacement for the aging Dallara GP2/11 chassis. It is planned to remain in service until the end of the 2020 championship. As the Formula 2 Championship is a spec series, the F2 2018 is raced by every team and driver competing in the series. The F2 2018 was Dallara's first ever turbo-powered Formula 2 car to date as well as the first turbo-powered Formula 1 junior feeder series car since the Dallara GP3/10, which was used from 2010–2012 when the GP3 Series used a turbocharged engine and also first turbo-powered Formula 2 car since Williams JPH1, which was used from 2009-2012 when the Palmer-owned MSV Formula 2 used a turbocharged engine.
|Category||FIA Formula 2|
|Successor||Dallara F2 2021|
|Chassis||Carbon fibre monocoque with honeycomb structure|
|Suspension (front)||Pushrod operated double steel wishbones with twin dampers and torsion bars suspension|
|Suspension (rear)||Pushrod operated double steel wishbones with twin dampers and spring suspension|
|Length||5,224 mm (206 in)|
|Width||1,900 mm (75 in)|
|Height||1,097 mm (43 in)|
|Wheelbase||3,135 mm (123 in)|
|Engine||Mecachrome V634T 3.4 L (207 cu in) V6 engine with 95° cylinder bank with 4-stroke piston Otto cycle single-turbocharged, longitudinally mounted in a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout|
|Transmission||Hewland LFSC-200 semi-automatic sequential gearbox with six forward (and one reverse) speeds|
|Power||620 hp (462 kW)|
|Weight||720 kg (1,587 lb) in 2018 later 755 kg (1,664 lb) in 2019-present|
|Fuel||Elf LMS 89.6 MON, 101.6 RON unleaded|
|Lubricants||Elf HTX 840|
|Brakes||Carbone Industrie carbon brake discs with Brembo six-piston calipers and pads|
|Tyres||Pirelli P Zero (dry) and Pirelli Cinturato (intermediate and wet) tyres|
O.Z. racing wheels
|Clutch||ZF Sachs carbon clutch|
|Debut||2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship, Bahrain round|
The design of the car incorporates a lower nose, wider and lower rear wing and a more narrow front wing compared to the Dallara GP2/11 as the series adopts regulations more aesthetically in line with Formula One. The "shark fin" engine cover—a carbon fibre panel extending backwards from the engine cowling—was retained but its profile was lowered. While most of the car's mechanical parts were developed specifically for the F2 2018, the car continued to use the same tyres, fuel tank and brakes as the GP2/11.
The F2 2018 features a brand-new engine package built specifically for the car. The aging Mecachrome 4.0 L (244 cu in) V8 naturally-aspirated engine—which had been used since the inaugural season of the GP2 Series—was replaced by a 3.4 L (207 cu in) V6 turbocharged direct-injected engine developed by Mecachrome Motorsport. During the car's shakedown and preliminary testing phase at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, drivers noted that the change from natural aspiration to a turbocharger meant that the F2 2018 required a different driving style to its predecessor, the GP2/11, as the turbocharger produced more torque and thus required the driver to exercise greater control over the throttle.
The F2 2018 went through a development programme after its début, with the car's launch control being the initial focus. The software of the electronic control unit was rewritten, introducing a new throttle map in a bid to prevent the car from stalling. The issue was attributed to difficulty in finding the bite point, or the point where the clutch engaged with the driveline to launch the car. Further updates were introduced to the car in June 2018 that were aimed at improving reliability and making the car easier to start.
The car gained a reputation as being difficult to drive as the turbocharged engine required a more delicate touch on the throttle than the GP2/11. The opening five rounds of the 2018 championship saw several drivers stalling on the starting grid, prompting criticism of the design, led by drivers Artem Markelov, Lando Norris and George Russell. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile—the governing body of motorsport—also expressed concerns, with race director Charlie Whiting regularly examining the system. With no apparent solution to the problems, Norris expressed concerns that the stalling issue would ultimately settle the drivers' championship title, while Arjun Maini suggested that it was causing irreparable damage to their careers. Further criticism was also directed at reliability issues that prevented drivers from starting races. Series organiser Bruno Michel acknowledged that the car had too many problems at its launch, but argued that the introduction of the F2 2018 was necessary in light of the obsolete GP2/11 chassis, a view shared by team principals. The series introduced rolling starts as a temporary solution to the problem. The changes were introduced as the 2018 calendar featured three rounds over three consecutive weeks, making the introduction of a lasting solution difficult. Drivers expressed disappointment with the decision to use rolling starts, but also noted its necessity on safety grounds. A start-line accident in a Formula 3 race saw Ameya Vaidyanathan, starting from the eleventh row of the grid, crash into the stationary car of Dan Ticktum after Ticktum stalled, prompting concerns of a similar accident happening in Formula 2. A similar accident happened at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi when Nicholas Latifi stalled on the grid and Arjun Maini was unable to avoid hitting him. Both drivers escaped unhurt.
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