Formula 2, commonly abbreviated as F2, was introduced in 1947 and would remain in existence until 1985 when it was replaced by Formula 3000. F2 enabled drivers who could not get a seat in Formula 1 to compete internationally. In terms of open-wheeled auto racing, Formula One is the pinnacle of the sport and the dream of the aspiring driver. The high speeds and costs associated with F1 are great; F2 has provided a means of allowing a driver to mature and gain experience before venturing on to the next step. In pre-war time, the F2 sport was often known as 'voiturette' which means 'small car.' Voiturette racing cars were permitted 1.5-liter supercharged engines while the Grand Prix cars were allowed 3.0-liter supercharged or 4.5-liter size in naturally aspirated form.
After the war, Formula A and B were introduced, later known as 1 and 2 respectively. Formula A allowed 4.5-liter supercharged cars. Formula B/2 had smaller, less powerful cars than those used in Formula A/1. The rules stated that the engines in F2 were to at most 2-liters in size; 750cc if a supercharge was used. This allowed smaller marques to build racers without having to compete with the most dominate and well-established manufacturers.
In 1952-53 Formula 2 counted for the Drivers World Championship, since Formula One had become so expensive that were so few entrants. Non-championship F1 races were still held during this time. In 1954 the rules of F1 changed allowing 2.5-liter engines which drew some of the popularity away from F2. F2 rules were changed in 1957 limiting engine sizes to 1.5-liters. The dominant engine of choice was the Coventry-Climax FPF four-cylinder.
In 1967 FIA introduced the European Championship for Drivers for F2 category. This had many Formula One drivers switching to F2. The grading system in F2 allowed this; any driver with an 'A' grade was not permitted to score championship points. The 'A' grade was earned through various means such proving themselves in Grand Prix or World Sports Car events. This allowed the less experienced drivers the opportunity to works towards a championship victory and to mature their careers. It allowed the seasoned drivers an opportunity to continue their driving passion and improve their skills during the off-season of Grand Prix racing.
In 1972 the engine size was increased to 2-liter production based engines. In 1976 the rules were modified to allow engines that had been created if the intent were purely for racing. Near the close of the 1970's and into the early 1980's, the costs to compete had sky-rocketed. Works racers had become the dominate force of contention and privateers were unable to keep pace. Interest in the sport dwindled as drivers left for other series. By 1984, the Formula Two series was replaced with Formula 3000.