Ghiotto returns to F2 after all alongside Mazepin at Hitech

Formula 2

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Luca Ghiotto will not make his anticipated departure for Formula 2 this year after agreeing to return to the championship with new team Hitech.

The 24-year-old, who finished third in the championship last year behind Nyck de Vries and Nicholas Latifi, will start his fifth consecutive season in the series, previously known as GP2. Hitech will be Ghiotto’s fifth team in as many years, having previous driven for Trident, Russian Time, Campos and Virtuosi.

The five-times race winner will partner Nikita Mazepin in the team’s first F2 squad. Mazepin, who tested for Mercedes last year and previously drove for Hitech in F3, placed 18th on his F2 debut last year, at ART. Mazepin’s father Dmitry is the chairman of Uralchem, one of Hitech’s title partners.

The new Formula 2 season will begin on March 21st at the Bahrain International Circuit.

2020 Formula 2 grid so far

DAMSSean Gelael
DAMSDan Ticktum
VirtuosiCallum Ilott
ARTMarcus Armstrong
ARTChristian Lundgaard
CarlinYuki Tsunoda
CharouzLouis Deletraz
CharouzPedro Piquet
MP MotorsportFelipe Drugovich
MP MotorsportTBA
HWAGiuliano Alesi
HWAArtem Markelov
PremaMick Schumacher
PremaRobert Shwartzman
HitechNikita Mazepin
HitechLuca Ghiotto

This article will be updated.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Ghiotto returns to F2 after all alongside Mazepin at Hitech”

  1. I really like Ghiotto. He’s super-intense. Takes things very seriously. He is never happy with himself, it seems, almost even when he’s won the race. He’s always looking at what could have been done better rather than resting on his laurels.

    Hopefully there are no political shenanigans at Hitech this year from pressure from Dmitry Mazepin because, although his son is quite a good racer, I think Ghiotto is quite a bit better.

  2. Out of curiosity, why hasn’t this guy been picked up by any F1 operations? He’s been floating about F2 for ages and doesn’t seem that bad, and arguably drivers less deserving have managed to graduate but he hasn’t. Just wrong place at the wrong time? Never been quite in the right place at the right time? Unlucky?

    Also, if there’s no chance of graduation to F1, what’s the point in sticking about in F2?

    1. @rocketpanda Well he isn’t loaded, and isn’t supported by a big team. He’s done reasonably well, but has been a regular A-minus level, compared to the likes of Leclerc, Norris, Russell and Albon. His current F2 deal is probably a free drive supported by Mazepin’s dad, just like Ricardo Gelael supported Giovinazzi’s career in F3 and GP2. It’s quite clear that a reasonably quick but inconsistent and inexperienced Nikita Mazepin will benefit from having such an experienced customer in the other car.
      As for why he’s sticking around, maybe he’s hoping a good showing against a strong field this season may put him under consideration for a seat in F1, FE or Super Formula. Perhaps he isn’t getting a good full-time works programme in GT, which is what I think he desired.

    2. @rocketpanda, as wsrgo notes, Ghiotto has been in Formula 2/GP2 at a time when other drivers have tended to steal the limelight.

      His performance in 2016 was solid enough for a rookie, but the focus that year was very much on Gasly and Giovinazzi – the former mounting a challenge for the title, whilst the latter was being favourably commented on as he was the highest ranked rookie driver that season.

      In 2017, his performances the the Russian Time team were again decent as he came 4th in the championship, but Leclerc was the star attraction that season and most attention was on him. He also ended up losing out to his teammate Markelov, who finished 2nd with 210 points to 185 for Ghiotto in 4th.

      Come 2018 and, as wsrgo notes, you had Norris, Russell and Albon all racing together and attracting the headlines, whilst Ghiotto slipped back slightly after moving to Campos. 2019, meanwhile, saw him then take a step forward, but you had figures like de Vries leading the more experienced contingent, whilst further back figures like Zhou were attracting attention for their performances as rookie drivers.

      It’s very much a case that, whilst Ghiotto has not done anything wrong in Formula 2/GP2, and he did even test for Williams in 2017 during the mid-season young driver test, he’s usually been in a situation where another driver has been the centre of attention and he’s been upstaged by somebody else.

      Staying in Formula 2 isn’t exactly a bad career move for him right now either – it still gives him a chance to gain some attention just in case a gap finally opens up for him in F1, whilst at the same time he can scout for opportunities in other series.

      de Vries, for example, was competing in the World Endurance Championship at the same time as in Formula 2, so it’s not unheard of for drivers to use Formula 2 as a way of promoting themselves whilst looking at opportunities elsewhere as well. Ghiotto himself has actually taken part in a WEC race himself, racing at the 2019 Fuji 6 Hours in a Ginetta LMP1 car, so he might have half an eye on the possibility of an LMP1 factory seat if the proposed increased alignment of the LMDh and Hypercar classes does bring about increased manufacturer interest.

  3. Good assessments about him, I agree with all points about him. I would like him to get at least a shot in F1. Maybe in one of the rumoured new F1 teams lurking around?

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