Each year, there will be a new Formula Two champion, but what do they do next? Take for example Oscar Piastri, who won the 2021 F2 championship. and Felipe Drugovich, who seems likely to win the 2022 F2 championship (at least for now). So, we can assume that by the end of the 2022 calendar, there will be two F2 champions that still did not get an F1 seat. So, what will happen to them if they still don't get a seat?
As of September 2022, Piastri has been confirmed to be driving in Formula One in 2023, for McLaren, while Drugovich has been confirmed as the 2022 Formula Two champion. Whether he can also make it into F1 remains to be seen.
However, there are plenty of previous examples of drivers who won the F1 feeder series (F3000/GP2/Formula 2) but never progressed into F1 itself. We can look at their career trajectories to get an idea of the options that might be available to Drugovich should he fail to break into F1:
- Jorg Muller, 1996 F3000 champion. Was an F1 test driver between 1997 and 2001, while also competing in sportscar and endurance racing for BMW. Went on to have an extremely successful career in touring cars, also driving for BMW.
- Bruno Junqueira, 2000 F3000 champion. Joined Champ Car for 2001, where he finished 2nd in the championship for three consecutive seasons. After Champ Car folded, he spent a season in IndyCar before moving on to endurance racing.
- Bjorn Wirdheim, 2003 F3000 champion. Became Jaguar's test driver for 2004, spent a season in Champ Car in 2005, and has spent most of his career since then competing in Japan's Super GT touring car championship, with reasonable success.
- Giorgio Pantano, 2008 GP2 champion. Pantano is a strange case, as he already had competed in F1, for Jordan in 2004. He spent 2009 competing in the short-lived Superleague Formula series, 2010 in the Auto GP series, and then a handful of scattered drives in the following years before his career seemingly fizzled out entirely.
- Davide Valsecchi, 2012 GP2 champion. He was Lotus' test and reserve driver for 2013, but when Kimi Raikkonen was forced to miss the last two races of the season, the team elected not to promote Valsecchi and brought in Heikki Kovalainen instead. Valsecchi was highly critical of the decision, and it seemingly left him disillusioned enough to quit motorsport entirely, instead becoming a commentator for Italian TV.
- Fabio Leimer, 2013 GP2 champion. Competed in the World Endurance Championship in 2014, spent 2015 as Manor Marussia's test driver as well as a brief stint in Formula E, and seemingly retired from motorsport thereafter.
So as you can see, there are plenty of options available to Drugovich should he be unable to graduate into F1, but which he will take (and, indeed, whether he will need to take them) remains to be seen.