PREMA and DAMS have confirmed their driver line-ups for 2022 F2 season, with two junior drivers set to graduate from F3 into the second-tier feeder series.
PREMA have confirmed that 2021 F3 champion, Dennis Hauger will step up to F2 with the team and partner fellow Red Bull junior, Jehan Daruvala who moves across from Carlin after two seasons with the British team.
Speaking about his decision to stay with PREMA and step up to F2, Hauger said: “I’m delighted to continue with PREMA in 2022.
“We had a good year in 2021 with some amazing teamwork, and I really enjoyed it. I’m extremely happy that they keep believing in me, and I’m looking forward to carrying on the hard work we put in together this season as well.”
PREMA Team Principal, Rene Rosin added that he and everyone else at PREMA “are delighted to continue the work we started with Dennis last year in F3 and that led to so many great results.”
Rosin though warned that it isn’t always “straightforward” for a rookie to make an instant impact in F2, despite three of the last five F2 champions coming in the form of rookie drivers in their first season in the category.
Hauger will partner Jehan Daruvala who returns to the team for the first time since finishing third in 2019 F3 season for the Italian outfit.
Speaking about his return to PREMA, Daruvala said: “I’m really happy to be back at PREMA and continue to be part of the Red Bull Junior Team for the 2022 FIA F2 Championship.
“We have worked together in the past and share a fantastic relationship. PREMA is a champion team and I can’t wait to get started and look forward to a successful F2 campaign.”
Rosin added that having enjoyed “a great relationship” with Daruvala in the inaugural F3 season in 2019, PREMA hold “deep respect for his skills and work ethics.”
Acknowledging that Daruvala is returning after two seasons with Carlin in F2 which yielded three race victories, Rosin said: ” think he fits our team very well and I’m looking forward to see how much progress he has made in the last couple of years.”
Rosin also spoke highly of Daruvala’s strong 2021 post season test performance and has vowed to help the Indian fight for the title, as he commented: “Together with the Red Bull Junior program, we will provide him with all the support he needs to pursue his goals.”
Ayumu Iwasa Joins DAMS as Red Bull Finalise Junior Placements
DAMS have signed Honda junior, Ayumu Iwasa to partner Roy Nissany with the Japanese youngster graduating to F2 from F3.
Speaking about his move to F2, Iwasa said: “I’m very excited to take on my first year of F2 with DAMS.
“We worked together at the test in December and I learnt a lot about the car and the team. We collected plenty of data, which will be useful ahead of the pre-season test.”
This season will see Iwasa experience eight new circuits which the 20 year-old believes will pose “a challenge” but is “looking forward to developing my skills throughout the season.”
DAMS Co-Team Owners, Gregory and Olivier Driot spoke of their “extremely happy” feeling about welcoming Iwasa to the team after a positive 2021 post-season test last month.
Gregory and Olivier Driot both iterated that 2022 though won’t be an easy task, as they added: “This year is going to be a whole new challenge for him in F2 but Ayumu showed during the Abu Dhabi test that he has the potential to perform at this level.”
Red Bull Motorsports Advisor, Dr Helmut Marko also commented on Iwasa’s move in which he stated that Red Bull are “very happy” to reunite with DAMS, after the French outfit previously ran a car for Pierre Gasly in 2015 GP2 season.
Reflecting on Iwasa’s potential, Dr Marko said: “Ayumu is a young and promising Japanese driver who we hope will be able to make his way to F1. He showed his talent in F3 last year, so we are confident he can have a successful F2 season.
“We’re excited to see Ayumu’s development in 2022 and looking forward to positive results on the track.”
Hitech GP meanwhile have confirmed that Juri Vips will remain with the team for this season with the Estonian “thrilled” to stay with the British based constructor who took him to two wins in Baku and four other podiums in 2021.
Speaking about his decision to re-join Hitech GP, Vips said: “We built a strong relationship in 2021, which enabled me to get to grips with the car and work closely with the team to ensure we gave our very best throughout the season.
“I’m looking forward to fighting for more victories. Massive thanks to Red Bull for their continuous support.”
Liam Lawson though has departed Hitech GP to replace Daruvala at Carlin where he will partner Logan Sargeant this season, having finished ninth overall in his rookie season in 2021 with one race victory.
The New Zealander is “super excited” to join Carlin after a positive post-season test which he felt “was a completely different experience to what I’ve been used to.
“The whole team is really focused on the right things and all super motivated going into the season.”
Carlin Team Principal, Trevor Carlin added that the team is “delighted” to sign Lawson as he praised the 19 year-old
Speaking about his decision to sign Lawson, Carlin said: “He is a great talent and we’ve watched him with interest over the last few seasons.
“We’re very proud and thankful that Red Bull and Rodin have entrusted us with this next stage in Liam’s career.
“Liam did a great job in the post-season official tests in Abu Dhabi and slotted straight into the team. I expect him to be a championship contender this year.”