Formula 1 fans walk the pit lane
Formula 1 fans walk the pit lane ahead of Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina circuit on Thursday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Yas Marina Circuit: The F2 and GP3 Championships look set to be decided on the final day of the season at Yas Marina Circuit.

The F2 and GP3 Series offer the top young drivers a route to the very pinnacle of global motorsports: Formula 1.

One racer who successfully made the leap from F2 to F1 is young French sensation Charles Leclerc, who now drives for Sauber.

Leclerc won last year’s F2 championship at Abu Dhabi in dramatic fashion. He finished the second leg of the final race of the season out of the points but a collision involving his nearest rival in the drivers’ standings meant Leclerc ended up taking the crown and with it the chance to race in F1.

Pierre Gasly also took the same giant step up last year, although his route to F1 was a little more complicated. Having tasted victory at Yas Marina Circuit during the 2016 F2 season his F1 dream was hampered due to the fact he didn’t have a team.

However, after spending half of last season excelling in the Super Formula Championship, Gasly was offered an F1 drive with Torro Rosso and has been performing well ever since.

A highlight of this year’s F2 season has been the emergence of ART’s British racer George Russell. No stranger to diehard motorsports fans, Russell won the GP3 title last season, ensuring his step up to F2. Already leading this year’s drivers’ championship and looking on course to take the crown, Russell has been assured of an F1 seat in 2019 with Renault.

However, the talented driver is eager to go out in style which means spectators can expect see Russell put on an impressive show as he aims to wrap up his victory in Abu Dhabi.

Set to join Russell in F1 next year is fellow Briton, Lando Norris who drives for United Autosports. The youngster has been picked to replace F1 legend Fernando Alonso at McLaren despite only making his debut in F2 this season.

Norris caught the eye after a string of impressive results at the start of the season, and although his form has dipped of late he is still third in the championship.

His skills behind the wheel at the start of the series were enough to impress the bosses at McLaren who see Norris as the next big thing in F1. Although Russell is on course to win the F2 crown, Alexander Albon is currently in second place on the leaderboard and is, mathematically at least, still in with a shot of taking the top honours.