Finally, the time has come again. The world's strongest Formula 4 series starts its new season this weekend. In this preview we take a look at the teams and their drivers, the calendar, the race format, the points system and pre-season testing. Also, as always, at the end you'll find my prediction for the championships this year.
41 drivers from 15 different teams have yet been named to take part in the championship. Up to 50 drivers are expected during the course of the season.
Van Amersfoort Racing
Arias Deukmedjian, Emerson Fittipaldi Jr, Brando Badoer, Martinius Stenshorne, Jules Castro, Arvid Lindblad
The Dutch Van Amersfoort Racing team starts the season with five drivers. Later in the year, it will add one more. One of the more experienced drivers is Arias Deukmedjian. The American competed in the F4 US Championship at the start of last year, where he finished on the podium twice in seven races. He also competed in one weekend each of Formula Regional Americas and Formula Regional EU by Alpine in 2021. Emerson Fittipaldi Jr., like all the drivers on the team, is entering his first Italian F4 season. Last year, the son of two-time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi made his car racing debut in Danish F4. The Brazilian finished the championship in third place with two race wins and six further podium finishes. Brando Badoer is competing in Formula 4 for the first time this year, having already competed in the F4 UAE Championship earlier in the year. In his karting career, the son of former F1 driver Luca Badoer won the 2018 Trofeo D'Autunno in the 60 Mini category, among others. For Martinius Stenshorne, 2022 will also be the first season in Formula 4. He was able to gain his first F4 racing experience earlier this year in F4 UAE. The Norwegian has had an impressive karting career and in 2020 won the 25° South Garda Winter Cup in the OK Junior category, among other things. Rookie Jules Castro was also recently confirmed for the F4 season with Van Amersfoort Racing. The Belgian already made his first Formula 4 racing experiences in the F4 UAE as well. Arvid Lindblad will also join the team during the course of the year. The Red Bull Junior will not turn 15 until August 8th and will therefore not be able to contest his first Italian F4 race until the weekend of September 9-11 at the Red Bull Ring at the earliest.
Alfio Andrea Spina, Rishab Jain
The German team of BWR Motorsports will compete in the Italian F4 for the first time this year. Both drivers confirmed for the season so far are Formula 4 rookies this year. Alfio Andrea Spina made his debut in car racing at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in ADAC F4 last weekend. The Italian has had an impressive career in karting, including winning the 2020 WSK Champions Cup in the OK Junior category. His teammate this year is Rishab Jain, the Singaporean driver who made his debut in car racing in the 2021 Sports Prototype Cup in Korea, where he finished third.
Charlie Wurz, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, James Wharton, Conrad Laursen, Rafael Câmara
The Prema Powerteam will compete this year with five drivers and three F1 Academy members. Charlie Wurz made his F4 debut with the team at individual races last year. Earlier in the year, he competed in Formula 4 UAE and became champion with two race wins and a total of ten podiums. Andrea Kimi Antonelli made his debut in car racing at the end of last year. On just his third weekend, he stood on the podium for the first time in Italian F4. At the beginning of the year, the Italian took his first Formula 4 race wins in F4 UAE. During his extremely successful karting career, the Mercedes Junior became FIA European Champion in the OK category, among others. Australian James Wharton is also contesting his first year in Formula 4. The Ferrari Driver Academy member won the 2019 SKUSA SuperNationals XXIII in the X30 Junior category, among others, during his karting career. He also made his F4 racing debut earlier this year in F4 UAE and has already won four races. The most experienced driver in the team is Conrad Laursen. The Dane is entering his second Italian F4 season with Prema and finished ninth in the championship last year. He was also the Danish F4 champion in 2020. Completing the team is Rafael Câmara. The Brazilian made his F4 racing debut in the F4 UAE earlier this year, winning six races and finishing runner-up. He also recently won the third ADAC F4 race at Spa-Francorchamps. The Ferrari Driver Academy driver won the 2021 WSK Champions Cup, WSK Super Master Series and Champions of the Future in the OK category.
Pedro Perino, Alex Dunne, Kacper Sztuka, Nikhil Bohra, Marcus Amand
The German team from US Racing is starting the season with five drivers. Pedro Perino is contesting his second full year in Formula 4. Last year, the Portuguese was still competing with DR Formula and managed to finish tenth in the points once at the Red Bull Ring. For Alex Dunne, 2022 is also the second Formula 4 year. This season, the Irishman will contest a double program consisting of Italian F4 with US Racing and British F4 with Hitech GP. He dominated the season opener in British F4 with two wins and another second place. It is also the second year in Italian F4 for Kacper Sztuka. Last season the Pole competed with AS Motorsport and later with Iron Lynx. Recently he took his first Formula 4 podium at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in ADAC F4, finishing third. Nikhil Bohra enters his first full Formula 4 season. The dual American-Singaporean made his F4 debut with R-ace GP at the end of last year. For dual Finnish-French citizen Marcus Amand, 2022 will be his second year in Formula 4. He finished his rookie season with R-ace GP last year in twelfth place in ADAC F4, and in 2019 he was FIA European Karting Champion in the OK Junior category.
Frederik Lund, Marcos Flack
The French team of R-ace GP has so far confirmed only two drivers for the season. Frederik Lund made his F4 racing debut at the end of last year in the Danish F4. The Dane also competed with JHDD in the USF2000 championship on the Streets of St. Petersburg earlier this year. His teammate for the season is Marcos Flack. The Australian is contesting a double program this year consisting of Italian F4 and the British GB3 championship. In his rookie season last year, he competed in British F4 with Argenti Motorsport and finished on the podium three times.
Nikita Bedrin, Jonas Ried, Taylor Barnard, Victoria Blokhina
PHM Racing is entering Formula 4 for the first time this year. The German team describes itself as a non-profit company. They start in the F4 UAE Championship with three cars. Russian Nikita Bedrin won two races in ADAC F4 and one race in Italian F4 with Van Amersfoort Racing in 2021. He finished the 2022 F4 UAE Championship in fourth place with six podiums and two race wins. The German driver Jonas Ried, who raced with Mücke Motorsport last year, will start his second season in Formula 4. In 2021 he won a race in the F4 UAE and was on the podium twice more. The british driver Taylor Barnard will also start his second full year in Formula 4. Last season he contested a number of races in ADAC F4 with BWR Motorsports. At the beginning of this year, he won his first Formula 4 race in the F4 UAE Championship. The team is completed by Victoria Blokhina. The Russian driver made her F4 race debut earlier this year in F4 UAE and made it to the final four in the Ferrari Driver Academy affiliated FIA Girls on Track shootout last year.
Nicola Lacorte, Maya Weug, Ivan Domingues
The Iron Lynx team will compete with three drivers this year. Italian Nicola Lacorte will only join the team for the races later in the year, as he is not yet 15 years old. Maya Wueg is entering her second Formula 4 season. The Ferrari Driver Academy member is racing under the Iron Dames banner again this year. Last season an eleventh place in Vallelunga was her best result. Ivan Domingues is contesting his first Formula 4 season this year. At the beginning of the year, he already competed in the F4 UAE Championship and managed to score two podium finishes with Xcel Motorsport. During his time in karting, the Portuguese was runner-up in the Portuguese Karting Championship in the Junior category, among other things.
Ricardo Escotto, Georgis Markogiannis
The Italian team of Cram Motorsport has so far confirmed two drivers for the season. Ricardo Escotto will contest a double program with the team consisting of Spanish and Italian F4. The Mexican made his F4 racing debut earlier this year in the F4 UAE Championship. His teammate this year is Georgis Markogiannis. The Greek is entering his third Formula 4 year. His best result in the racing series so far is a twelfth place in the third race at the Red Bull Ring last season.
Ismail Akhmed, Pedro Clerot
The Italian team of AKM Motorsport enters the new season with two cars. Ismail Akhmed, whose full name is Ismoilkhuja Akhmedkhodjaev, enters his first Formula 4 season. The Kazakh made his F4 racing debut earlier this year in the F4 UAE Championship with Xcel Motorsport. His teammate this year will be Brazilian Pedro Clerot, who will compete in a double program consisting of Brazilian and Italian F4 this season. He was already able to prove his speed during the testing days.
Giovanni Maschio, Manuel Quondamcarlo
AS Motorsport will be competing with two Italian drivers this year. Both are contesting their first F4 season. Giovanni Maschio starts the season with the team this weekend in Imola. Manuel Quondamcarlo will join the team during the season.
BVM Racing will start with rookie Hwarang Kim. The driver from South Korea competed in last year's German Kart Championship, which he finished in 15th place.
Italian Andrea Frassineti will make his debut in car racing this weekend. At the beginning of the year, the team announced a double program with Italian and Spanish F4. However, Frassineti will now start only in the Italian F4 championship.
Ethan Ischer, Oleksandr Partyshev, Valentin Kluss
The Swiss team of Jenzer Motorsport starts the season with two drivers and will add another during the season. Swiss driver Ethan Ischer is contesting his first full season in Formula 4, having taken part in individual IAME Series events last season. His teammate is Ukrainian driver Oleksandr Partyshev, who is entering his second Formula 4 season after competing with Campos in Spanish F4 last year. Valentin Kluss will join the team later in the year. The German is not yet 15 years old and is therefore not yet allowed to compete. The ADAC Kart Masters - OKJ champion from 2021 has already attracted attention during testing.
Elia Sperandio, TBA
With the Swiss team of Maffi Racing a new team will start this year. So far, they have officially confirmed one driver with Elia Sperandio. A second driver is expected to follow. The Swiss Sperandio won multiple national championships during his career in karting.
With Monlau Motorsport another team is expected to join during the season. Their drivers would most likely be Robert de Haan and Jef Machiels who already compete with the team in the Spanish F4. In addition, the Italian Mattia Bucci and the reigning Formula Nordic champion William Karlsson from Sweden are also expected drivers to join the championship.
This year, 21 races will again be held over seven weekends. A new addition to the calendar is the circuit at Spa-Francorchamps, which replaces Circuit Paul Ricard from last year.
Round 1: Imola Circuit (7-8 May)
Round 2: Misano World Circuit (3-5 June)
Round 3: Circuit Spa-Francorchamps (17-19 June)
Round 4: Vallelunga Circuit (1-3 July)
Round 5: Red Bull Ring (9-11 September)
Round 6: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (7-9 October)
Round 7: Mugello Circuit (21-23 October)
In Italian Formula 4, three races are held each weekend, each lasting half an hour plus one lap. The starting grid is determined in two qualifying sessions of 15 minutes each. The result of Qualifying 1 counts for the starting grid for the first race and the result of Qualifying 2 forms the starting grid for the second race. For the third race, the grid will be determined by the second fastest lap of each driver in both qualifying sessions.
The points system is the same for every race. As in F1, there are points for the top 10. No extra points are awarded for pole positions or fastest laps.
(P1: 25, P2: 18, P3: 15, P4: 12, P5: 10, P6: 8, P7: 6, P8: 4, P9: 2, P10: 1)
Before the official start of the season this weekend, there were also some testing days for the Italian F4 on different race tracks in Misano, Mugello, Spa-Francorchamps, Spielberg, Imola and Monza.
The best time in Misano was set by Valentin Kluss with the old 2021 car. The Brazilian Aurelia Nobels collected the most laps. She completed 194 laps with AKM Motorsport over the two days.
P1: Valentin Kluss (Cram) / 1m34.459s
P2: Martinius Stenshorne (VAR) / +0.532s
P3: Nicola Lacorte (Iron Lynx) / +0.591s
P4: Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. (VAR) / +0.791s
P5: Brando Badoer (VAR) / +0.854s
P6: Noah Stromsted (R-ace GP) / +0.959s
P7: Arias Deukmedjian (VAR) / +1.009s
P8: Kim Hwarang (BVM) / +1.039s
P9: Marcos Flack (R-ace GP) / +1.152s
P10: Alfio Andrea Spina (BWR) / +1.207s
On the two days of testing at Mugello, Maya Weug set the fastest lap time. Brando Badoer turned the most laps of all drivers with 151.
P1: Maya Weug (Iron Lynx) / 1m47.039s
P2: Nikita Bedrin (VAR) / +0.677s
P3: Martinius Stenshorne (VAR) / +0.699s
P4: Noah Stromsted (R-ace GP) / +0.961s
P5: Valentin Kluss (Cram) / +1.000s
P6: Alfio Andrea Spina (BWR) / +1.044s
P7: Samir Ben (Jenzer) / +1.287s
P8: Kacper Sztuka (R-ace GP) / +1.346s
P9: Nicola Lacorte (Iron Lynx) / +1.430s
P10: Valerio Rinicella (AKM) / +1.436s
More than 60 cars took part in the two days of testing in Belgium. Alex Dunne was the fastest of them with US Racing. Jonas Ried and May Weug were the busiest drivers with 128 laps.
P1: Alex Dunne (US) / 2m22.632s
P2: Charlie Wurz (Prema) / +0.005s
P3: Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema) / +0.135s
P4: Nicola Lacorte (Iron Lynx) / +0.214s
P5: Rafael Câmara (Prema) / +0.290s
P6: Nikhil Bohra (US) / +0.389s
P7: Marcus Amand (US) / +0.626s
P8: Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. (VAR) / +0.661s
P9: Brando Badoer (VAR) / +0.668s
P10: Robert De Haan (Monlau) / +0.678s
At the Red Bull Ring Spielberg, Andrea Kimi Antonelli was the fastest driver. With 204 laps over two days, an unknown driver from AKM Motorsport was the busiest driver of the test.
P1: Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema) / 1m31.227s
P2: Charlie Wurz (Prema) / +0.234s
P3: Rafael Câmara (Prema) / +0.291s
P4: Kim Hwarang (BVM) / +0.478s
P5: Alex Dunne (US) / +0.498s
P6: Marcus Amand (US) / +0.634s
P7: Nikhil Bohra (US) / +0.658s
P8: Zachary David (AKM) / +0.717s
P9: Pedro Perino (US) / +0.746s
P10: Conrad Laursen (Prema) / +0.846s
Taylor Barnard set the best time of all drivers in Imola, while Brando Badoer was the busiest of all the drivers with 132 laps.
P1: Taylor Barnard (PHM) / 1m45.379s
P2: Kacper Sztuka (US) / +0.066s
P3: Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema) / +0.401s
P4: Pepe Marti (BWR) / +0.405s
P5: Nikita Bedrin (PHM) / +0.423s
P6: Nikhil Bohra (US) / +0.465s
P7: James Wharton (Prema) / +0.556s
P8: Marcus Amand (US) / +0.614s
P9: Martinius Stenshorne (VAR) / +0.628s
P10: Giovanni Maschio (AS) / +0.688s
In the final tests before the start of the season at Monza, Brazilian Pedro Clerot was the fastest driver over both days. With 184 laps, Brando Badoer was the busiest of all the drivers.
P1: Pedro Clerot (AKM) / 1m54.254s
P2: Nikhil Bohra (US) / +0.060s
P3: Alex Dunne (US) / +0.117s
P4: Martinius Stenshorne (VAR) / +0.277s
P5: Marcus Amand (US) / +0.363s
P6: Alfio Andrea Spina (BWR) / +0.377s
P7: Brando Badoer (VAR) / +0.480s
P8: Pedro Perino (US) / +0.734s
P9: Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. (VAR) / +0.780s
P10: Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi (Jenzer) / +0.895s
Once again, I venture a prediction for the driver and team championships for this years Italian Formula 4.
Drivers Championship Prediction
P1: Andrea Kimi Antonelli
P2: Rafael Câmara
P3: Martinius Stenshorne
P4: Alex Dunne
P5: Charlie Wurz
For me, there are two main favorites for the title this year. The two Prema drivers Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Rafael Câmara will probably decide the title between themselves. My extended circle of favorites who can definitely compete for race wins and podiums include Martinius Stenshorne, Alex Dunne and Charlie Wurz. In addition, drivers like Nikita Bedrin, James Wharton, Arias Deukmedjian, Taylor Barnard, Emerson Fittipaldi Jr, Conrad Laursen, Kacper Sztuka or later in the season Valentin Kluss should also be considered in the fight for podium places. With Maya Weug, Brando Badoer, Marcus Amand, Pedro Clerot and others, there are many more drivers who could stand out here or there with podiums this year as well.
Teams Championship Prediction
P1: Prema Powerteam
P2: Van Amersfoort Racing
P3: US Racing
For the Team Championship I expect a strong dominance of Prema, especially at the beginning of the season, as we have already seen in the F4 UAE and at the first ADAC F4 weekend at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps. Behind them, Van Amersfoort Racing, US Racing and PHM Racing will probably fight it out for second, third and fourth place, followed by Iron Lynx and R-ace GP.
written by Claudio Graf / 5th May 2022