F2 boss glad to see non-academy drivers succeed

Jamie Woodhouse
Felipe Drugovich looks into the camera as he celebrates. Saudi Arabia, March 2022.

Felipe Drugovich looks into the camera, celebrating with both fists clenched. Saudi Arabia, March 2022.

Drivers not linked to academies have started the 2022 Formula 2 season strong, which pleases the series’ boss Bruno Michel.

For young drivers working their way up the junior ranks, the golden ticket into Formula 1 is securing the backing of one of the team’s through their academy programme.

Currently Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Alpine, McLaren, Williams and Sauber all have active programmes which look to recruit promising young drivers, with the view to developing them to ultimately become a Formula 1 driver.

Out of those teams, Ferrari, Red Bull, Alpine and Williams prefer to cast their nets wider and pool together larger groups of talent.

This in itself can be a problem notes Michel, the CEO of Formula 2 and Formula 3.

“Now you also have some academies that have too many drivers sometimes,” he told FormulaNerds.

“And they are in a situation where they don’t know how to arbitrate between one driver and another because they have two or three drivers that are very strong in Formula 2 or in Formula 3. That’s something that happens, and then who do you support?”

Understandably then, it is usually these academy-backed drivers who shine in Formula 2, but that has not exclusively been the case so far this season.

Instead, 21-year-old Brazilian racer Felipe Drugovich, who has no F1 affiliation, currently leads the standings, while Dutchman Richard Verschoor, who again has no F1 backing, is P3.

Michel explained that Drugovich “had an absolutely fantastic weekend in Jeddah”, while it is “interesting” to see Verschoor make such a hot start to the season too.

Focusing on Drugovich, Michel said it is “important to underline” what the Brazilian’s early success means for other racers who are not members of an academy.

“It shows one thing for sure: you don’t need to be a part of an academy to shine,” he said.

“The reason why most of the time the drivers of the academies are shining is because the academies are trying to recruit the best drivers. If they are doing a proper job, and most of them are doing a very strong job, they have strong drivers in their academies for sure.

“I think it proves that you don’t need to be a part of an academy to do a good job. I’m really happy to see drivers outside Formula 1 academies do well, and I hope it continues.”


Being a part of an academy and even winning the F2 title does not guarantee a driver promotion to Formula 1, just ask Alpine-backed Oscar Piastri.

He won the F3 and F2 titles back-to-back, yet had to be content with being Alpine’s reserve driver for 2022, since no seat was available.

Michel is confident though that Piastri’s “time will come”.