In one week the time has finally come. The F4 US Championship kicks off its sixth season. Once again, I take a look at the teams, their drivers, the circuits, the race format and the pre-season testing at the Virginia International Raceway. At the end of the preview, I venture a prediction for the driver and team championships. There are some interesting names again this year like 2020 F4 NACAM champion Noel León, Nico Christodoulou, Viktor Andersson, Mac Clark or Arias Deukmedjian. Plus, look out for the three girls on the grid this season.
Deukmedjian, Andersson, Bucknum, Fonseca, Yardley & Linscott
Once again this year, Kiwi Motorsport has one of the largest driver lineups in the entire championship. Six drivers have already been confirmed for this season. With Arias Deukmedjian, one of the best kart drivers from the USA moves up to the single-seater sport. Among other things, he won the SKUSA Pro Tour in the X30 Junior category in 2018. Sweden's Viktor Andersson can finally compete full-time with Kiwi Motorsport this year. He won the 2019 Formula Nordic in Sweden. Spencer Bucknum is the reigning Formula Pro F4 US Western champion. His grandfather Ronnie and his father Jeff were already racing drivers. Brazilian Gabriel Fonseca makes his race debut in the championship this year. Ryan Yardley is also making his racing debut in America with the team this year. So far he has competed in the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series and Australian Formula 4. Emily Linscott competed in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series last year, where she finished seventh in the championship. She also made it to the podium for the first time at the last race weekend.
Velocity Racing Development
Persing, Christodoulou & Alder
Nick Persing already switched to Velocity RD during last season. On the last race weekend, he managed to finish second on the podium in Race 2. With Nico Christodoulou and Jason Alder he gets two new teammates this year. Young Canadian Christodoulou has already been runner-up in the 2019/20 F4 NACAM, and finished seventh in the championship with DEForce in his F4 US rookie season last year. Meanwhile, Jason Alder is making his debut in the single-seater sport. Previously, the Baltimore-based driver was active in American stock car racing and legend cars.
Russell, Gardner & Shehan
Team Crosslink enters this year's season with three Formula 4 rookies. Trevor Russell started racing in 2018 and has already won some races in the SCCA Majors and Regionals of Formula F. Chase Gardner and Ryan Shehan both come from American karting. And both have been quite successful on the karting stages. Among other things, Gardner became SKUSA champion in the Cadet category in 2017. In 2019, he won several races in the X30 Junior category. Ryan Shehan was runner-up in the Junior Max category of the Rotax All Stars Finals in 2019. Last year he was runner-up in the X30 Senior category of the Texas Sprint Racing Series.
Jay Howard Driver Development
Foley, Christensen, Ostholthoff & Noda
With Seth Foley, Matt Christensen, Joe Ostholthoff and Juju Noda, JHDD has four new drivers for this season. All four will be making their F4 US debuts this year. Seth Foley, the 2019 Bertil Roos Race Series champion has had success in every race series he has competed in so far. Matt Christensen won six races last year in his first single-seater year in the Lucas Oil School of Racing. Joe Ostholthoff has limited motorsports experience to date but is determined to race at the front as soon as possible. Japan's Juju Noda has competed in Danish Formula 4 last year, where she was the fastest in all qualifying sessions and took one race win.
Martínez & León
DEForce Racing is relying fully on two Mexican drivers this year. José Andrés Martínez has so far been active mainly in karting, while Noel León managed to win the Formula 4 NACAM series in Mexico last year. It will be the first full season in the F4 US Championship for both.
Clark & Flores
Gonella Racing is a new team entering this year's F4 US Championship. Last year's Canadian F1600 champion Mac Clark can be counted among the favorites for the title. During the YACademy F4 Winter Series he already showed his skills with two race wins and the runner-up title. His teammate for this year will be the Mexican Arturo Flores.
Jensen Global Advisors
Haffar & Bonilla
Jensen Global Advisors is at it again this year. Jake Bonilla is entering his second year with the team. Two seventh place finishes from last year are his best results so far. Oscar Haffar will make his debut in Formula 4 US this year. He recently made his car racing debut, finishing second in an SCCA Regional race at Sebring, Florida last November.
Bowlsbey & Edwards
Alliance Racing has two cars competing this year. For Hayden Bowlsbey and Will Edwards it will be their third full season in Formula 4 US. Will Edwards even starts into his fourth year with the team. So far, two 13th places are his best results. His teammate Hayden Bowlsbey achieved his best result with P7 in Sebring last year.
ICAR Canada Racing Team
Arseneau & St-Jean
The ICAR Canada Racing Team was newly founded for this season. With Justin Arseneau and Louka St-Jean two Canadian drivers start for the Canadian team. Both come from karting backgrounds and will complete their first season in Formula 4 US. Justin Arseneau was Canadian National Karting Champion in the Rotax Mini MAX category in 2017.
The DC Autosport team is also back this year. Having already joined the team during last year, Bolivian Rodrigo Gutiérrez will be competing with them again this year. His best result so far was a fifth place at the Circuit of the Americas so far.
Future Star Racing
Chloe Chambers won the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship for this season. The 16-year-old will compete her first Formula 4 season with Future Star Racing. In 2019, she finished third in the X30 Junior category at SKUSA SuperNationals XXII. She is also the world record holder for the fastest vehicle slalom ever recorded.
*= more drivers can join the series during the season
Round 1: Road Atlanta (26-28 March)
After having to change the race calendar last year due to the worldwide pandemic, there were no races on Road Atlanta last year. However, it did host races in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The last three races in 2019 were won by Teddy Wilson (DC/Cape), Kiko Porto (DEForce) and Joshua Car (Crosslink/Kiwi).
Round 2: Road America (May 14-16)
The Road America race weekend makes its debut this year. Formula 4 races have never been held at Elkhart Lake to date.
Round 3: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (25-27 June)
Lexington at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosted the season opener last year. The third race was not scored, because of too few laps due to heavy rain. Hunter Yeany with Velocity Racing Development and Dylan Tavella with Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsports won the other two races, after JHDD’s Christian Bogle was disqualified for having a non-compliant part on his car in both races.
Round 4: Brainerd International Raceway (16-18 July)
The race at Brainerd International Raceway also makes its debut this year. Never before has Formula 4 US competed here.
Round 5: Virginia International Raceway (24-26 September)
Virginia International Raceway already hosted a race weekend last year. Hunter Yeany and Velocity managed to win two of the three races. Dylan Tavella and Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsports were also victorious here last year.
Round 6: Circuit of the Americas (November 5-7)
As in the last four years, this year's season finale will again take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Last year Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport won all three races. While José Blanco was victorious twice, Spike Kohlbecker was also able to celebrate a race win here.
In the F4 US Championship there are three races per championship round. Each race weekend includes two free practice sessions, as well as a half-hour qualifying session, which determines the starting grid for the first race. The fastest lap times of this first race then determine the starting grid for the second race. And the fastest lap times in the second race determine the starting grid for the third and final race. Each race lasts 30 minutes plus one lap. In total, the drivers spend three hours on the track each weekend.
For all three races points are awarded for the top 10, as we know it from F1. The winner gets 25 points for the championship. There are no extra points for pole positions or fastest race laps.
For the team championship only the best two cars of a team can score points per race.
P1: 25, P2: 18, P3: 15, P4: 12, P5: 10, P6: 8, P7: 6, P8: 4, P9: 2, P10: 1
In addition, the champion this year will receive a scholarship to advance to Formula Regional Americas. The prize distribution at the end of the season will also be restructured this year to provide prize money to the top eight overall finishers. The official earnings will be announced soon.
Official pre-season testing took place March 8-9 at Virginia International Raceway. Not all teams & drivers were on hand to participate. However, with more than 20 cars, a large part of the 2021 starting field was present. In February the YACademy F4 Winter Series took place, where some of the upcoming F4 US athletes compete. Nico Christodoulou won this championship over six races just ahead of his Canadian compatriot Mac Clark.
Testing began on Monday primarily with installation laps. Arias Deukmedjian managed to burn the fastest lap time of the entire test into the asphalt during the day. Second-placed Matt Christensen already lost more than a second to the Kiwi Motorsport driver. Nico Christodoulou was third.
On the second day, Nico Christodoulou managed to set the fastest time in his Velocity car. JHDD driver Matt Christensen was less than a tenth behind in second, while Noel León was third fastest in his DEForce racing car.
P1: Arias Deukmedjian (Kiwi Motorsport)
P2: Nico Christodoulou (Velocity RD) + 0.007 sec
P3: Matt Christensen (JHDD) + 0.075
P4: Noel León (DEForce) + 0.261
P5: Juju Noda (JHDD) +0.650
P6: Rodrgio Gutiérrez (DC Autosport) +1.006
P7: Nick Persing (Velocity RD) +1.042
P8: Chloe Chambers (Future Star Racing) +1.058
P9: Viktor Andersson (Kiwi Motorsport) +1.228
P10: Jason Alder (Velocity RD) +1.348
As every year, I dare to make a little prediction for this year's title fights in the F4 US Championship.
Drivers Championship Prediction
P1: Nico Christodoulou
P2: Arias Deukmedjian
P3: Noel León
P4: Mac Clark
P5: Viktor Andersson
This year there are a few favorites for the title. Besides Nico Christodoulou and Noel León who already fought for the F4 NACAM title last year, the newcomers Arias Deukmedjian, Mac Clark & Matt Christensen convinced me in the run-up to the season. The Swedish Formula Nordic champion from 2019 Viktor Andersson is also high on my list of favorites. It will also be interesting to see how the three women in the field will do. Juju Noda and Chloe Chambers in particular looked very competitive in the tests. I am confident that both of them will make it onto the podium in the course of the year. I am also excited to see how Ryan Shehan & Chase Gardner will perform with Team Crosslink.
Teams Championship Prediction
P1: Kiwi Motorsport
P2: Velocity Racing Development
P3: Jay Howard Driver Development
Like last year, I expect Kiwi Motorsport to win the Team Championship again this year. Closely behind them I see Velocity Racing Development. And I expect Jay Howard Driver Development and Team Crosslink are going to fight for P3 in the championship.
You want to know more about the series? Then you might be interested in the official F4 US Buyers Guide for the 2021 season.
written by Claudio Graf (youngdriversmonthly) / 21st March, 2021