One way to measure the level of competition in a championship is to divide the points earned by the runner-up by the champion’s points. Expressed as a percentage, this quantity is between 0 and 100. Measured by it, ADAC Formula 4 was the most competitive championship in 2020, while Formula 1 was the least competitive.
Omitted: a few series I don’t bother reading about
Consider that FR Americas uses the same scoring system as F1, and its season also had 17 races. Lundqvist won 15 out of 17 (finishing P2 and P6 in the other two), and even that championship was closer than F1.
A major change on top of the standings table, with Shvartsman dropping from 1st to 3rd after scoring just 4 points in 4 races. But let’s look at the larger picture: what are the chances of Shvartsman driving in F1 in 2021? I don’t think there are any to speak of. The driver market is tight (Alonso coming back, Hulkenberg trying to come back, the number of seats does not increase…) and any F1 team would be right to be concerned about Shvartsman’s one-lap pace: so far, he qualified in positions 8, 6, 11, 18, 11 in F2. Winning F2 championship without having a F1 seat lined up is not a great career move: it rules out another season in F2 and none of other series would be a step forward in single-seater racing career.
So, Shvartsman’s target in the 2020 championship ought to be the 2nd place, not for the 1st. From the FDA pipeline perspective, it would be logical to promote Ilott, drop Alesi, and keep Armstrong, Schumacher, and Shvartsman for another year in F2.
Back to the graphs of 1-2 finishes. Unusually, there are two large components with 5 vertices each: Ilott’s component and Shwartsman’s component. The former has mostly European drivers (plus Armstrong), the latter has drivers from Russia and Asia (plus Schumacher). And the small Deletraz-Drugovich component remains isolated.
Combined 70th anniversaty podium (by total points earned):
Most consistent in 2020 so far: Mazepin, finished in top 14 in every race. Since “top 14” does not sound that great, I’ll add he also scored in the last 7 races, the longest active scoring streak.
Unbeaten in intra-team qualifying competition: Aitken, Drugovich, Lundgaard, Ticktum.
Combined 70th anniversary podium (by total points earned):
Most consistent in 2020 so far: Beckmann, finished in top 10 in every race. In other words, the only driver who scored in every race so far.
Unbeaten in intra-team qualifying competition: Peroni. His teammates at Campos do not appear to threaten his qualifying record.
Bonus feeder series
Formula Regional Americas Championship has a very simple graph: Lundqvist won all 8 races held so far.
Incidentally, here is Lundqvist showing off one of his eight FRAC trophies on Swedish TV.
Remembering the names of Prema drivers isn’t so hard: a driver usually has the same name in 2020 as in 2019. But their affiliation with Ferrari Driver Academy is less stable. A Venn diagram of who is in Prema, who is in FDA, and who is in both, is called for.
But since the drivers are also divided by level, I will use a table instead.
Prema and FDA
Mick Schumacher Robert Shwartzman
Giuliano Alesi Marcus Armstrong Callum Ilott
Oscar Piastri Frederik Vesti Logan Sargeant
Oliver Rasmussen Jamie Chadwick
Arthur Leclerc Gianluca Petecof
Sebastian Montoya Gabriele Mini Gabriele Bortoleto
FDA is currently top-heavy, with 5 of 9 drivers competing in F2. This necessitates placing three of them outside of Prema’s F2 team. There is only one instance of Prema running non-FDA drivers while an FDA driver is left outside… this does not inspire confidence in Enzo Fittipaldi’s future in FDA.
Overall, the events went well, considering the circumstances: the pandemic, stormy weather on the track, technical issues with the broadcast. I appreciated the rare opportunity to understand the work of a broadcast director, given by the glitch that for half of the first race put through director’s voice instead of the commentators. The audience reached 1000 viewers during FRAC Race 2; the audience of USF4 topped at around 250.
FAN uses Vimeo to stream races. A few times I got stuck in a video stream that was not the current one: the solution was to refresh the page and click Live Streaming again, which moved me from an old stream (previous race or “this event has not started yet”) to the live picture.
It would be nice to have an archive of past FAN races. Hopefully this is something FAN is planning to add, along with a YouTube channel.
Both series feature strong grids in 2020, thanks in part to reduced competition (no Indy Lights in 2020, etc). There were 17 drivers in the FRAC event, including some familiar names: Lundqvist, Car, Pedersen,…. With 33 competitors in USF4, many of them new to single-seaters, it is no wonder that the first event had several delays due to accidents.
Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) entered with 6 drivers in USF4 and consistently took a few of the top spots. Previously, two of their F4 drivers were 1-2 in a testing session, which set up a joint interview with Christian Bogle (6’4” / 205 lbs) and Nolan Siegel (5’4” / 100 lbs). Apparently the former has been cutting weight while the latter eats a cupcake before each race, so the contrast in appearance might be getting smaller with time.
So far, JHDD appears to put more emphasis on driver promotion than most USF4/FRAC teams. Not nearly as much as Prema does in European series, but that’s a high bar to meet…
By the way, this video was shot before Roman Stanek was replaced by Jamie Chadwick in Prema’s FREC lineup. Roman appears in group shots while Jamie’s solo shots are obviously late additions.