2021 PREVIEW - FORMULA REGIONAL EU BY ALPINE


Tomorrow is the day and the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine kicks off its inaugural season at Imola. In this article we take a look at the teams and their drivers, all the circuits, the race format of a weekend, the points system and the pre-season testing. You'll also find out where to watch the races and what my current predictions are for the drivers and teams championships.

TEAMS & DRIVERS

Prema Powerteam

Paul Aron, David Vidales, Dino Beganovic

 

Prema competed in Formula Regional EU last year and won the championship then with Gianluca Petecof. This year they are at the start with three cars. Paul Aron from Estonia returns to the team with which he was already racing in Formula 4 in 2019 and finished third in Italian F4. Last year he raced for ART Grand Prix in the Formula Renault Eurocup and made the podium in the second race at the Nürburgring, finishing second. A complete newcomer to the team, on the other hand, is David Vidales. The Spaniard made his debut in single-seaters last year and immediately won his first two Formula Renault Eurocup races in Imola. In the end, it was enough for him to finish sixth in the championship. At the beginning of the year, he also competed with Prema in a number of F3 Asia races, where he finished on the podium in second place in Dubai.

 

KIC Motorsport

Nico Göhler, Patrik Pasma, Elias Seppänen

 

The Finnish KIC Motorsport team will start with three cars this season. Last year, they competed in the Formula Regional EU Championship. The German Nico Göhler already started a few races for the team back then. A sixth place in the first race at the Red Bull Ring was his best result. This year he will be in the car for every race weekend. Patrik Pasma already managed to win four races with KIC last year. He was on the podium six times and finished fourth in the championship. The third driver in the team is Elias Seppänen. The 2019 F4 SEA runner-up finished third in ADAC Formula 4 last year, finishing ten races on the podium. He also made his debut last year at the Formula Renault Eurocup season finale at Paul Ricard, where he finished eighth in the second race.

 

R-ace GP

Isack Hadjar, Hadrien David, Léna Bühler, Zane Maloney

 

This year, R-ace GP is the only team to use the full number of four cars. In addition to the prescribed maximum number of three cars, it is possible in the race series to provide a fourth car, which may be occupied exclusively by a woman. This year, that will be Léna Bühler from Switzerland. Last year she competed in Spanish Formula 4, where she finished in the top 5 twice and ended the championship in fifteenth place. Her teammates for this season are Hadjar, David and Maloney. Isack Hadjar still competed in French Formula 4 the past two years, where he was able to win four races. The French-born driver with Algerian roots finished the championship last year in third place. He has also compete in the first three rounds of F3 Asia at the beginning of this year. He was able to finish five out of nine races on the podium and he still finished sixth in the championship despite not being able to compete in six races. The last driver in the team is the British Formula 4 champion from 2019, Zane Maloney from Barbados. He still competed with Carlin in the Euroformula Open last year, where he finished the championship in 8th place with two podium finishes.

 

G4 Racing

Axel Gnos, Belén García

 

Actually it was planned that the Bhaitech Racing team will start this year. But recently the Italian team was taken over by G4 Racing. Axel Gnos is moving up with the team after two full years in Formula 4. The son of the team owner raced in Italian Formula 4 last year, where he finished in the top 10 twice. In 2019, he finished sixth in Spanish Formula 4 and was able to finish on the podium twice in third place. His teammate for this season is Bélen García. The 21-year-old Spaniard is also competing in the W Series this year. Except for the two season finales, however, she can compete in both racing series at the same time. In 2019, she has also competed in Spanish Formula 4, where she won one race and finished the championship in 15th place.

 

Arden Motorsport 

William Alatalo, Nicola Marinangeli, Alex Quinn

 

Arden Motorsport competed in Formula Renault Eurocup last year. With Alex Quinn, they won the rookie title and the second race at Spa-Francorchamps. The Briton is back on the grid with the team again this year. However, he gets two new teammates for this season. The Finn William Alatalo still started for JD Motorsport in Formula Renault last year. He was on the podium twice and finished the championship in eighth place overall. Italian Nicola Marinangeli competed for Bhaitech last year, also in Formula Renault. His best result was an eleventh-place finish at Spa-Francorchamps.

 

FA Racing

Alexandre Bardinon, Andrea Rosso, Gabriel Bortoleto

 

FA Racing has announced three drivers for this season. Frenchman Alexandre Bardinon was still racing in the Euroformula Open with Van Amersfoort Racing last season. An eighth place at the Hungaroring was his best result. His teammate for this year is Andrea Rosso. The Italian raced the past two years in Italian Formula 4, where he won three races last year and finished seventh in the championship. He also won the first edition of the Formula 4 Cup at the FIA Motorsport Games in 2019. In addition, Gabriel Bortoleto joined the team shortly before the season opener in Imola. Actually it was planned that he will start for DR Formula. However, his plans changed at short notice. Last season he competed for Prema in Italian Formula 4, where he won a race at Mugello and finished on the podium five times.

 

MP Motorsport

Franco Colapinto, Kas Haverkort, Oliver Goethe

 

The MP Motorsport team from the Netherlands will start the inaugural FRECA season with three cars. All three drivers were already racing for the team last year. Franco Colapinto, the 2019 Spanish Formula 4 champion, competed in the Formula Renault Eurocup last season. He managed to win two races in his first full season and finished on the podium nine times. In addition, the Argentine finished the championship in third place overall. He will also be competing in the ELMS this year, so it is questionable how many FRECA weekends he will actually be on the grid. Kas Haverkort was last year's convincing champion in the Spanish Formula 4, winning 13 races and standing on the podium 17 times. He also already competed in four Formula Renault races, where he finished fifth three times. Their teammate is Oliver Goethe. The young Dane also competed in Spanish Formula 4 last year, where he finished the championship in fifth place. He was able to win one race and was on the podium six times.

 

Monolite Racing

Jasin Ferati, Pietro Delli Guanti

 

The Italian team Monolite Racing competed in Formula Regional last year. Two sixth places were their best result last season. Both drivers this year were still racing in Italian Formula 4 last season. Jasin Ferati from Winterthur in Switzerland was racing for Jenzer Motorsport last year. A fifth place in Spanish Formula 4 is his best result so far. His teammate for this season is Pietro Delli Guanti. The Italian won a Formula 4 race in Monza last year and finished the championship in twelfth place.

 

JD Motorsport

Tommy Smith, Eduardo Barrichello

 

JD Motorsport is also back on the grid this year with two cars. Last year they competed in Formula Renault Eurocup. Both drivers in the team are competing in single-seaters in Europe for the first time. Already last year it was planned that Tommy Smith will drive with JD Motorsport in the Formula Renault. Due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions, the plans have now been postponed by one year. The Australian last competed in the 2019-20 F3 Asia season, where he finished 10th in the championship. His teammate for this season is the son of F1 runner-up Rubens Barrichello. Eduardo Barrichello competed last season on the "Road to Indy" in the USF2000 series with Pabst Racing. He won three races, finished on the podium nine times and ended the championship as runner-up.

 

ART Grand Prix

Thomas ten Brinke, Grégoire Saucy, Gabriele Minì

 

The French team ART Grand Prix had celebrated the Formula Renault Eurocup championship title last year with Victor Martins. This year they have again three cars at the start. Thomas ten Brinke joins the team for the first time this season. He made his single-seaters debut only last year in Spanish Formula 4, where he finished 9 out of 15 races on the podium and third in the championship. Swiss Grégoire Saucy enters his second season with the team. Last year he was able to finish two races on the podium and was seventh in the championship. Their teammate for this season is Gabriele Minì. The reigning Italian Formula 4 champion is managed by Nicolas Todt. Last year he won five Formula 4 races and finished on the podium in 16 of 26 races.

 

DR Formula RP Motorsport

Emidio Pesce, Brad Benavides

 

DR Formula will start the season again this year in cooperation with RP Motorsport. Last year, the team competed in Formula Regional. Emidio Pesce was already racing for the team then. Four seventh places were his best results. His teammate Brad Benavides last competed in Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019. A thirteenth place from 13 races with FA Racing was his best result back then.

 

Van Amersfoort Racing

Francesco Pizzi, Lorenzo Fluxá, Mari Boya

 

Van Amersfoort Racing is also competing with three cars this year. Last season they took part in Formula Regional where they won two races with Dennis Hauger and Pierre-Louis Chovet. This year, three Formula Regional rookies will start for the team from the Netherlands. Francesco Pizzi won the F4 UAE Championship last year and was runner-up in Italian Formula 4, winning 11 races throughout the year and finishing on the podium in 17 of 39 races. His teammates for this season are two Spaniards. Lorenzo Fluxá was runner-up in F4 UAE last year and finished on the podium once in Spanish Formula 4. He finished the championship in sixth place. Mari Boya is the reigning runner-up in Spanish Formula 4, winning three races with the MP Motorsport team and finishing on the podium in 14 of 21 races.

CIRCUITS

Round 1: Imola Circuit (17-18 April)

 

This year's season opener will take place at the Autodromo Imola. Last year, both the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Formula Regional EU were held here. The two races in Formula Renault were won by David Vidales and JD Motorsport. In Formula Regional Ian Rodríguez won the first race with DR Formula. The other two races were won by Patrik Pasma and KIC Motorsport.

 

Round 2: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (8-9 May)

 

The second stop this season will be at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The second weekend will also be held in the company of Formula 1. Last year, both Formula Renault and Formula Regional were racing here. Victor Martins and ART Grand Prix won both races of Formula Renault at that time. In Formula Regional, Oliver Rasmussen with Prema won the first two races. Pierre-Louis Chovet with Van Amersfoort Racing was victorious in the third race.

 

Round 3: Circuit de Monaco (22-23 May)

 

The third race weekend is scheduled for Monaco again alongside Formula 1. Last year, no races could be held in the principality due to the global pandemic. The Formula Renault Eurocup was last hosted here in 2019. At that time, Victor Martins with ART Grand Prix and Alex Smolyar with R-ace GP won the races.

 

Round 4: Circuit Paul Ricard (29-30 May)

 

The fourth weekend for Formula Regional EU by Alpine takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet. Last year, both predecessor series raced here. In Formula Renault Lorenzo Colombo won both races with Bhaitech. In Formula Regional, the Prema team secured all three race wins. Arthur Leclerc won the first and last race. Gianluca Petecof was victorious in the second race.

 

Round 5: Circuit Zandvoort (19-20 June)

 

At the midpoint of the season, the series will head to Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Also last year Formula Renault could race here. Victor Martins and ART Grand Prix won the first race then. Caio Collet and R-ace GP were victorious in the second race.

 

Round 6: Nürburgring (7-8 August)

 

The sixth race weekend of the year takes place at the Nürburgring at the beginning of August. Last year only Formula Renault raced here. Victor Martins and ART Grand Prix won both races then.

 

Round 7: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (TBC)

 

There is still no official date for the race at Spa-Francorchamps. Originally, the race weekend in Belgium was intended as the season opener, but at the last moment it was postponed to Imola in the F1 pre-program. Now they are trying to find a new date for the races. Last year, only the Formula Renault Eurocup was held here. The two races were won by Franco Colapinto with MP Motorsport and Alex Quinn with Arden Motorsport.

 

Round 8: Red Bull Ring (11-12 September)

 

In September, the race series will then be hosted in Spielberg, Austria. Last year, only Formula Regional races were held here. The Prema team was victorious in all three races then. Gianluca Petecof won the first and last race, while Oliver Rasmussen was on top of the podium in the second race.

 

Round 9: Mugello Circuit (9-10 October)

 

The penultimate race weekend of the season takes place at Mugello. Last year, only the Formula Regional European Championship was a guest here. All three races were won by Arthur Leclerc with the Prema team.

 

Round 10: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (30-31 October)

 

The season finale takes place at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza at the end of October. Both previous racing series also raced here in 2020. In Formula Regional, Patrik Pasma won the first and last race with KIC. In the second race, Oliver Rasmussen with Prema was victorious. In Formula Renault, Franco Colapinto with MP won the first race of the season at that time. Caio Collet and R-ace GP won the second race.

RACE FORMAT

On each race weekend of the Formula Regional EU Championship by Alpine there will be two races of 30 minutes (+1 lap) duration each. The positions for the start formation will be determined for both races by two separate qualifying sessions, each lasting 20 minutes. In addition, two practice sessions of 50 minutes each will be held on Friday.

POINTS SCORING SYSTEM

The points system for the Formula Regional EU by Alpine is actually quite simple to explain. For both races on the weekend there are points for the top 10, as we know it from Formula 1. Furthermore there are no extra points for pole positions or fastest race laps.

 

(P1: 25, P2: 18, P3: 15, P4: 12, P5: 10, P6: 8, P7: 6, P8: 4, P9: 2, P10: 1)

PRE-SEASON TESTING

This year, the teams and drivers of Formula Regional EU by Alpine have already been able to test on three different tracks. In Imola, Barcelona and Paul Ricard they were each on the road for two days.

 

Imola - Day 1:

 

The first test day of the year took place at Imola on March 17. Hadrien David was able to set the fastest lap time by a razor-thin margin ahead of Grégoire Saucy. Zane Maloney and Isack Hadjar were just behind.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Hadrien David

P2: Grégoire Saucy + 0.003 sec

P3: Zane Maloney + 0.038

P4: Isack Hadjar + 0.043

P5: William Alatalo + 0.205

P6: Alex Quinn + 0.255

P7: Patrik Pasma + 0.298

P8: Francesco Pizzi + 0.309

P9: Pietro Delli Guanti + 0.329

P10: Kas Haverkort + 0.366

 

Imola - Day 2:

 

Also on the second day in Imola Hadrien David and R-ace GP were the fastest. The Frenchman was able to set the best lap time of the week in the afternoon. His teammate Isack Hadjar and Gabriele Minì were behind him at the same time.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Hadrien David

P2: Isack Hadjar + 0.042 sec

P2: Gabriele Minì + 0.042 

P4: Dino Beganovic + 0.140

P5: Grégoire Saucy + 0.260

P6: William Alatalo + 0.311

P7: Francesco Pizzi + 0.342

P8: Patrik Pasma + 0.351

P9: Andrea Rosso + 0.359

P10: Franco Colapinto + 0.370

 

Barcelona - Day 1:

 

Just a week later on March 25, testing continued directly in Barcelona. On the first day Patrik Pasma and KIC were the fastest. Grégoire Saucy, Alex Quinn and Paul Aron were close behind.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Patrik Pasma

P2: Grégoire Saucy + 0.046 sec

P3: Alex Quinn + 0.100

P4: Paul Aron + 0.181

P5: Hadrien David + 0.363

P5: Isack Hadjar + 0.363

P7: Franco Colapinto + 0.612

P8: Gabriele Minì + 0.641

P9: Francesco Pizzi + 0.697

P10: William Alatalo + 0.707

 

Barcelona - Day 2:

 

Then on the second day Grégoire Saucy and ART Grand Prix were razor thin ahead of Patrik Pasma. Paul Aron, Alex Quinn, Isack Hadjar and Kas Haverkort followed behind.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Grégoire Saucy

P2: Patrik Pasma + 0.056 sec

P3: Paul Aron + 0.116 

P4: Alex Quinn + 0.160

P5: Isack Hadjar + 0.163

P6: Kas Haverkort + 0.179

P7: William Alatalo + 0.252

P8: Franco Colapinto + 0.294

P9: Oliver Goethe + 0.316

P10: Francesco Pizzi + 0.331

 

Paul Ricard - Day 1:

 

Just five more days later, Formula Regional EU by Alpine was already testing at Le Castellet. On the first day Grégoire Saucy and Isack Hadjar set the fastest and exactly equal lap times. Alex Quinn and Franco Colapinto followed just behind.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Gregoire Saucy

P1: Isack Hadjar + 0.000 sec

P3: Alex Quinn + 0.055 

P4: Franco Colapinto + 0.109 

P5: Andrea Rosso + 0.233

P6: Thomas ten Brinke + 0.240

P7: William Alatalo + 0.420

P8: Kas Haverkort + 0.445

P9: Zane Maloney + 0.476

P10: Hadrien David + 0.550

 

Paul Ricard - Day 2:

 

The second and final day of testing at Circuit Paul Ricard saw R-ace GP driver Isack Hadjar finish with the fastest time. Grégoire Saucy was 0.011 seconds slower today. Third fastest was Hadjar's teammate Hadrien David.

 

Overall Results:

P1: Isack Hadjar

P2: Grégoire Saucy + 0.011 sec

P3: Hadrien David + 0.172

P4: Zane Maloney + 0.302

P5: William Alatalo + 0.319

P6: Alex Quinn + 0.451

P7: Oliver Goethe + 0.480

P8: Andrea Rosso + 0.488

P9: Thomas ten Brinke + 0.495

P10: Franco Colapinto + 0.535

LIVE COVERAGE

For both qualifying sessions and both races, a livestream is available on the race series channels on Youtube & Facebook. In addition, you can also follow all sessions each weekend via live timing on the website formularegionaleubyalpine.com.

MY PREDICTIONS

The starting field this year is exceptionally talented. Up to ten drivers or more could win the title depending on how the championship progresses. The times at the pre-season tests were already extremely close. Nevertheless, I will now give my predictions for the driver and team championships here.

 

Drivers Championship Prediction

 

P1: Hadrien David

P2: Isack Hadjar

P3: Grégoire Saucy

P4: Alex Quinn

P5: Paul Aron

 

The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine is probably one of the most difficult single-seater championships to predict this year, alongside Formula 2. Almost half of the entire starting field has the talent to win races this season. And many of them have a car with which this can be possible. My prediction is based on the test drives and my personal assessment. I predicted a battle between French teammates Hadrien David and Isack Hadjar for the championship title. Both were right at the front in almost all the tests. Hadjar was also already convincing in F3 Asia. Furthermore, R-ace GP looked like the fastest team during the tests. Grégoire Saucy was also already promising during the tests. Together with Alex Quinn, Paul Aron, Gabriele Minì, Dino Beganovic, Kas Haverkort and Patrik Pasma, he will also be able to compete for podium places and some victories.

 

Teams Championship Prediction

 

P1: R-ace GP

P2: ART Grand Prix 

P3: Prema

 

The situation in the team championship is no less exciting. However, only three different teams managed to set the fastest time of the day in the pre-season tests. I think it will be more difficult than expected for Prema to establish itself at the top. For me, the two champion teams of the last two years in Formula Renault are a bit ahead at the moment. In my opinion, R-ace GP and ART Grand Prix will decide the team championship between themselves. Behind them, Arden, Prema, MP, Van Amersfoort Racing, JD Motorsport, KIC and FA Racing are fighting for the other places. I see Monolite Racing, DR Formula and G4 Racing more often at the back of the field.


written by Claudio Graf (youngdriversmonthly) / 15th April, 2021