The new BRDC Formula 4 Championship gets underway this weekend on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (27/28 April), and is set for a brilliant start with a full grid of 24 cars expected. The 21 drivers already confirmed come from eight different nations, with the remaining three due to be announced in the next few days.
The BRDC F4 Championship is the brainchild of MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, who was increasingly concerned at the spiralling costs and declining grid sizes in UK junior single seater racing. MSV spent nearly a year carefully establishing exactly what car specification and championship structure would be required to totally revitalise first step single seater racing in this country – and F4 was the result. The BRDC fully embraced the concept, being equally concerned that Britain’s young drivers should have an affordable but highly desirable formula in which to learn and showcase their talent. BRDC President Derek Warwick has been most supportive and actively involved in the evolution of the final concept.
The 24 MSV F4-013 cars have been built to a single specification by RFR, the company headed by Ralph Firman, who founded the legendary Van Diemen operation. The F3-style cars feature an advanced spaceframe chassis compliant with the latest FIA Article 277 safety standards, a Ford 2.0 litre Duratec engine producing 185bhp with its Cosworth engine management system, a Sadev 6 speed paddle shift gearbox and Yokohama tyres. All 24 cars were sold within less than a month.
Reigning Ginetta Junior champion Charlie Robertson was the first driver to commit to the championship with the HHC Motorsport team, just days after the launch in September. He partners South African karting graduate Raoul Hyman and Brazilian Gustavo Lima at the Yorkshire-based squad.
Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of F1 legend Emerson, will race for Mark Godwin Racing (MGR) alongside Mexican Diego Mencaca (a member of the Escuderia Telmex young driver programme which supported F1 stars Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez), and Briton Jake Dalton.
Former British F3 and British GT Champion Kelvin Burt makes the transition to team management with his Team KBS squad, and enters American Falco Wauer, last year’s 750 Motor Club Formula 4 Champion (not to be confused with BRDC F4).
The low cost of participating in F4 will allow private entrants to run just as competitively as those in teams, and James Greenway and Matt Bell will expect to be in the hunt for honours this year in their privately entered machines.
Lanan Racing meanwhile will field two cars for 2012 EasyKart E Plate Champion Jake Hughes and Formula Ford 1600 graduate Daniel Headlam, while Poland’s Malgosia Rdest, the series’ only female racer, will drive alongside 2012 Ginetta Junior runner-up Sennan Fielding at Douglas Motorsport.
Hillspeed, with a rich history in series such as Ginetta Junior, Ginetta GT Supercup and Formula Renault BARC, will enter three cars for Struan Moore, Malaysian Rahul Raj Mayer and the highly-rated Seb Morris, who made a big impact in Formula Renault BARC last year.
Sean Walkinshaw Racing (SWR), will field three cars for Matthew Graham, who makes the step up from karting, Chinese contender Zou Sirui and another karting graduate, Jack Barlow.
Motionsport make the switch to single seaters after successful campaigns in GT and endurance racing, running karting champions Ross Gunn and Simon Rudd, while Chris Dittmann Racing (CDR) and Comtec will announce their drivers this week to complete the 2013 F4 line-up.
F4 Series Director Jonathan Palmer said “I am thrilled that the BRDC F4 championship is getting off to such a superb start. To go from zero to a full grid of 24 cars for its first race proves just how much demand there was out there for the right single seater series. Our Operations Director Giles Butterfield and the rest of our MSV engineering team have worked incredibly hard with Ralph Firman to produce a stunning car that has great performance yet has slashed purchase and operating costs – that’s the challenge so many industries have to meet today.
“It is so exciting to see so much ambition amongst our F4 teams and the driver line up is incredible – F4 certainly has the greatest driver quality and numbers of any junior single seater series which means our champion will be someone very special. We clearly have an intensively competitive season ahead of us.”
An official test will take place on the Snetterton 300 circuit tomorrow (Tuesday 23 April). Further testing will take place at Silverstone on Friday (26 April) before the first qualifying and race on Saturday, and two further races on Sunday.
All 24 races will be broadcast on ITV4 and ITV4HD in a prime time slot on the Sunday evening after each of the 8 events.
BRDC Formula 4 Championship – entries as of 22 April:
2. Malgosia Rdest, Douglas Motorsport
3. Sennan Fielding, Douglas Motorsport
5. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport
6. Matthew Graham, Sean Walkinshaw Racing
7. Jake Hughes, Lanan Racing
8. Daniel Headlam, Lanan Racing
12. Pietro Fittipaldi, Mark Godwin Racing
13. Diego Menchaca, Mark Godwin Racing
14. Jake Dalton, Mark Godwin Racing
22. James Greenway, Private entry
23. Zou Sirui, Sean Walkinshaw Racing
25. Struan Moore, Hillspeed
27. Falco Wauer, Team KBS
31. Seb Morris, Hillspeed
32. Ross Gunn, Motionsport
53. Matt Bell, MattRBell Racing Team E-Lites
55. Charlie Robertson, HHC Motorsport
66. Jack Barlow, Sean Walkinshaw Racing
72. Rahul Raj Mayer, Hillspeed
77. Simon Rudd, Motionsport
TBA. Gustavo Lima, HHC Motorsport
TBA. TBA, Chris Dittmann Racing
TBA. TBA, Chris Dittmann Racing
TBA. TBA, Comtec
|Saturday 27 April:||Sunday 28 April:|
|10.40: Qualifying||11.55: Race 2|
|14.40: Race 1||15.05: Race 3|
2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship calendar:
27/28 April – Silverstone GP
17/18/19 May – Brands Hatch Indy (supporting DTM)
15/16 June – Snetterton 300 (supporting British F3/GT)
6 July – Oulton Park International
27/28 July – Brands Hatch GP
17/18 August – Silverstone GP
7/8 September – Snetterton 300
28/29 September – Donington Park GP