The arrival of the B42 coincided with the tragic death of Derek Bennett and it initially looked as if the new F2 design was not on a par with the new March 782 but by using a works development car the B42 quickly began to show there was little wrong with it and race wins soon followed.
Things did not get off to a good start at the opening round of the 1978 European F2 Championship, held at Thruxton at the end of March, with Derek Daly sixth in the best placed B42 with his Hart-powered car as the March 782-BMW took the top five places. Things did not improve two weeks later when Jochen Mass could only manage 7th in the works ICI car behind the March-BMW onslaught although Rosberg had offered a glimmer of hope with a front row start.
The works development car for Riccardo Patrese made its debut at round 3 of the European Championship to be held on the daunting Nürburgring but it was Rosberg who again showed the B42 was improving in leaps and bounds. Rosberg once again put his Fred Opert-entered car on the front row and in a thrilling race finished just one tenth of a second behind the winning March-BMW of Alex Ribeiro and setting the fastest lap. Patrick Tambay made his debut in the ICI team B42 at Pau for the next round and was immediately on the pace putting his car on the front row of the grid and leading the race until an engine problem saw him retire, Eje Elgh took second in the Fred Opert car.
The B42 finally came good at Mugello for round 5 of the Championship when Derek Daly took the win in the works ICI car leading the race from start to finish and he repeated the victory a week later at Vallelunga. March bounced back at the next round at Rouen taking the top 5 places with Eje Elgh the best placed B42 in sixth.
At the end of June Rosberg finally took the top spot when he won round 8 of the Championship at Donington. In a two heat race Rosberg won the first heat and then drove just quickly enough to take fourth in heat 2 and secure the win on aggregate.
The next three rounds were all in Italy and it proved a clean sweep for March with the B42 unable to do better than third at Nogaro and Enna with Derek Daly whilst Elio de Angelis took the same position at Misano. The final race of the season was at Hockenheim were the power advantage enjoyed by the BMW-powered cars saw March take the top 5 places.
At the end of the season Derek Bell took third and Keke Rosberg fifth in the European Championship.
In Japan Masahiro Hasemi took a win with the Tomy Racing B42 at Nishinihon in round 6 of the Japanese Formula 2 Championship.
Giacomo Agostini, Michael Bleekemolen, Don Breidenbach, John Briggs, Sandro Cinotti, Derek Daly, Elio de Angelis, Eje Elgh, Harald Ertl, Beppe Gabbiani, Patrick Gaillard, Miguel Angel Guerra, Masahiro Hasemi, Boy Hayje, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Michel Leclère, Geoff Lees, Nigel Mansell, Jochen Mass, Arturo Merzario, Riccardo Patrese, Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi, Keke Rosberg, Stephen South, Patrick Tambay.