New season, new era. The FIA certified ROKiT F4 British Championship is coming back to life at Donington Park this weekend and a lot has changed over the winter months.
The key changes made by the new organizers Motorsport UK include the introduction of the new Tatuus T-421, the second generation FIA Formula 4 chassis with a Halo style cockpit safety feature and a range of safety improvements.
After nearly six decades of Ford power, Britain’s entry-level single-seater will switch to Abarth engines for 2022, with a similar shift to Pirelli tires to take the category to a globally renowned standard.
Six of Europe’s leading single-seater teams will put together 15 drivers on the national circuit this weekend, including three drivers who have already earned themselves Formula 1 Academy status.
Two of these reside in Carlin, with McLaren’s Ugo Ugochukwu and Williams’ Ollie Gray certainly among the title contenders. Another highly regarded talent from New Zealand, Louis Sharp, is absent this weekend, but will join Brands Hatch to complete the Farnham team’s lineup.
The other is Phinsys from Argenti’s Daniel Guinchard, the Mercedes junior arriving in single-seaters after a double title-winning season in the British Karting Championships. Michael Meadows’ outfit has shown that they really intend to go big in their third season, also signing returnee Aiden Neate and Irish talent Adam Fitzgerald.
Neate claimed the early bragging rights in pre-event testing, with the Briton setting the fastest overall time in the two practice sessions ahead of Hitech GP’s Ugochukwu and Alex Dunne, a last minute addition to the grid.
JHR Developments ended the Gen 1′ era as the undisputed champion, taking Matthew Rees to the Drivers’ and Rookie titles, and also winning the Teams Cup for good measure. With multiple race winners Joseph Loake and Georgi Dimitrov in their stable, plus Australian ace Noah Lisle, the omens are good again for Steven Hunter’s outfit.
The feel-good story of the season is at Chris Dittmann Racing, with former Ginetta driver Joel Pearson returning to racing full-time since being diagnosed with bone cancer 12 months ago. The 16-year-old still has some ground to make up for after minimal testing, but is sure to be a contender as the season progresses.
Eduardo Coseteng leads Hitech GP for the title in their first campaign, but faces stiff opposition from the Silverstone based team in the form of karting graduates Oliver Stewart, Dunne and Daniel Mavlyutov.
Virtuosi Racing’s pair of striking blue and black challengers round out the runners, Ginetta graduate Edward Pearson joined by Michael Shin as the duo looks to get off to a flying start in their first season of single-seaters.
The competitive action kicks off with qualifying at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday morning, where the pole-sitter will receive the first-ever Omologato Pole Position Award, along with a custom timepiece.
The racing action kicks off later in the afternoon at 3pm, with two more races on Sunday at 9:45am and 3:20pm, the second of which is live and free to watch on ITV4.
images © Jakob Ebrey Photography