PREMA Racing maximized the weekend in challenging conditions in the opening round of the Italian Formula 4 Championship. As the Italian venue was affected by variable weather, with the rain often leading to treacherous runs, the team posted solid results and the first win of the year in the series.
The win came courtesy of Rafael Camara. The Brazilian started well from the front row of Race 1 and capitalized on the opportunity when team-mate Andrea Kimi Antonelli was sidelined by mechanical problems. Camara also encountered a problem in qualifying 2, but from the back, the 16-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy racer fought back to P8, before going from P5 to P2 in the weekend-ending race 3.
Antonelli took pole for the opening race, but had to stop due to gearbox problems. In qualifying two, he was caught red flagged with his teammates when the team switched to slicks after opting to start the session with wet tires.
From row 7 in race 2, Antonelli suffered damage to the front wing and had to pit, as he fought his way back from P8 on the grid to P4 in race 3. Unfortunately, a penalty for a run-up with teammate James Wharton pushed him to P10.
On the other hand, the Australian rookie took a podium finish in Race 2 after finishing first with a solid fourth position. After the aforementioned contact, he dropped to P9 in race 3, still in the points zone.
Charlie Wurz did not have a smooth weekend, especially in qualifying, but showed good pace in the race conditions, made an excellent recovery and finished with a double points finish in P7. Conrad Laursen had a restless weekend. The Dane was knocked out twice by contact in the first two races before finishing P13 in race 3.
“It was a challenging weekend. We were doing a good lap in Q2 before a red flag came out, but we managed to recover well and make up a lot of places on Sunday. A few points this weekend to come back from a bad qualifying is positive. We know we have the pace but we still have a few things to work on before we get to round 2.”
ANDREA KIMI ANTONELLIA
“It hasn’t been the weekend we expected since qualifying 2, when we made the wrong decision and I was a little too conservative, so we couldn’t get the best possible result. In race 1 I had a gearbox problem and had to stop while leading. In race 2 I tried a risky move but I don’t know why, I broke my front wing on a curb, and that was a DNF for us too. In race 3, from P9, we had mega speed even though it was difficult to get back to the front. Unfortunately, after contact with another car, we were given a 10-second penalty. It wasn’t a great weekend for us, but the positive thing to take away is the speed, and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
“The first weekend of the Italian Formula 4 Championship was a very positive weekend and we scored good points. However, there is still a lot to focus on. It’s time to keep working for the next rounds.”
“Overall it was a really bad weekend for us. We never seemed to really get anything done. In practice, it looked pretty good, with a promising pace and something to work on. Then in Q1 I didn’t really manage to get the perfect lap and we finished in P9. In Q2 due to a strategic decision we went with the dry tires first and had to switch to the wet tires. Unfortunately when we got onto the wet roads we just didn’t have enough time due to a red flag. As a result, we had to start behind in both race 2 and race 3. In race 1 and 2 I had two crashes. It was a real shame, and to be honest it was a bit of a mistake on my both times. Even in race 3 I didn’t seem to find the pace and struggled to overtake the other drivers. We will keep the focus and move on to the next one.”
“It was a good weekend for me. Unfortunately I had a problem in qualifying 2, but we managed to fight back and score valuable points. Overall, I’m happy with how it went and I’m happy with my first win in the Italian Championship.”