This weekend it’s finally that time again and the F4 UAE starts into it’s 2022 season. A new Formula 4 car with the halo will make his championship debut and we have a lot more teams than last year! Check out my preview to learn more about the teams, drivers, circuits, the car and more. At the end you’ll find my personal predictions for this year.


Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema

James Wharton (R), Aiden Neate, Conrad Laursen & Andrea Kimi Antonelli


Abu Dhabi Racing will start with two cars in cooperation with Prema. Ferrari Junior James Wharton will contest his first Formula 4 races on the first two weekends. Andrea Kimi Antonelli will replace him on the third weekend. The Mercedes Junior is on the hunt for his first Formula 4 race win. At the end of last year he was on the podium several times after his debut. The Danish Formula 4 champion from 2020 will then take over for the final two rounds, with Conrad Laursen preparing for his second F4 season with Prema. The only one expected to compete in all five rounds is the british driver Aiden Neate. Last year he made his Formula 4 debut in French F4 and then moved to British Formula 4, where he will also compete this year with Argenti Motorsport.


Prema Racing

Charlie Wurz, Rafael Câmara (R)  Andrea Kimi Antonelli


However, Prema is also sending its own team to the starting line. Charlie Wurz will sit in one of the two cars for all five rounds. The son of ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz scored his first F4 victory last December in the F4 UAE Trophy Round as part of Formula 1 Grand Prix event. In the second car, Rafael Câmara should also contest all five weekends. After countless successes in karting, the Brazilian Câmara has been part of the Ferrari Driver Academy since this year. A positive Corona test means that he has to skip the first round. He is replaced for this weekend by Italian Andrea Kimi Antonelli.


3Y Technology by R-ace GP

Martinius Stenshorne (R), Victoria Blokhina (R) & Nikhil Bohra (R)


R-ace GP goes under the banner of 3YTechnology with three cars on the grid. And this with three rookies, although Nikhil Bohra has technically already competed in Formula 4 races at the end of last year. The Singaporean driver, who competes with an American license, made his F4 debut for R-ace GP at the last round of the ADAC F4 last year. Russian Victoria Blokhina is moving up from karting to Formula 4. She made it to the final four in the Ferrari Driver Academy affiliated FIA Girls on Track shootout last year. The pair's teammate is Martinius Stenshorne. The Norwegian has celebrated many successes at WSK level in his karting career, such as the Final Cup victory from 2020 in the OK Junior category.


JHR Developments

Michael Shin (R)


The British team JHR Developments starts for the first time and with only one driver in this year's championship. Korean Michael Shin has already tested several times with the team last year. The main goal of the team will be to get as much experience and data as possible with the new Formula 4 car.


GRS Team

Vladislav Ryabov


Global Racing Services from Spain is competing in F4 UAE for the first time this year. Also for the main reason to get as much experience as possible with the new Formula 4 before the Spanish Formula 4 season. Vladislav Ryabov was one of the big surprises last year. The Russian made it to the F4 Spain podium three times with the GRS team as runner-up. He finished his rookie year in a strong 8th place overall.


Mumbai Falcons

Sohil Shah & Yash Aradhya


Mumbai Falcons from India will start this year for the first time with a car in partnership with Xcel Motorsport. Sohil Shah will compete in the first races of the season. Shah competed once in F4 SEA in 2019, where he scored a podium and two other top 5 classifications from four races. The 20-year-old was also runner-up in MRF F1600 in 2019 and won in Formula LGB in India. He will hand over the car at the end of the season to Yash Aradhya, who also competed in F4 SEA in 2019 and made a guest appearance in French F4 in the same year. He also won various races in the MRF National Racing Championship and in the MRF F1600.


Cram - Hitech 

Ricardo Escotto (R) & Anshul Gandhi


Cram Motorsport will start with two cars this year with support from Hitech Grand Prix.Mexican Ricardo Escotto from Campos Academy is contesting his first Formula 4 races, while Indian Anshul Gandhi made his racing debut last year with the GRS team in Spanish F4.  However, he too does not yet have much experience in Formula 4 races either.


Hitech GP 

Alex Dunne & Oliver Gray


In addition to its involvement with Cram Motorsport, Hitech Grand Prix is also entering its own team. Alex Dunne from Ireland and the Briton Oliver Gray will both contest all five weekends. Dunne competed in his first Formula 4 races last year and impressed in both Spanish Formula 4 with Pinnacle Motorsport and ADAC F4 with US Racing. He finished second on the podium twice in ADAC F4 and was third in his Formula 4 race debut in Spanish F4. Ollie Gray competed in British F4 last year with Fortec Motorsport, where he celebrated two race wins.


PHM Racing 

Nikita Bedrin, Jonas Ried & Taylor Barnard


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 made his debut in F4 UAE a year ago and won two races in ADAC F4 and one race in Italian F4 with Van Amersfoort Racing in 2021. 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. The team is completed by the German Jonas Ried, who also competed in the F4 UAE last year with Mücke Motorsport. He achieved two podium finishes in the 2021 championship.


AKM Motorsport 

Brando Badoer (R) & Eron Rexhepi


AKM Motorsport will also be competing in the F4 UAE for the first time. The team from San Marino will start with two cars. Brando Badoer, the son of former Formula 1 driver Luca Badoer, will take part in car racing for the first time. His karting career was quite successful. He finished no less than five WSK championships among the top three. His teammate is the Swiss driver Eron Rexhepi. He already competed in Italian F4 with BVM Racing last year.


Pinnacle Motorsport

Jules Castro (R) & Jef Machiels (R)


Pinnacle Motorsport is sending one race car to the start. The two Belgians Jules Castro and Jef Machiels will split the weekends. For both it will be the first time they race a Formula 4 car. Castro, who has already competed in some Formula 4 tests last year, will be in the car for the first two race weekends. After that he will hand over to Machiels, who will contest the remaining three rounds.


Xcel Motorsport 

Jamie Day, Ivan Domingues (R), Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi (R), Ismail Akhmed (R) & Lucas Alanen (R)


The defending team champions will once again be competing with several drivers this year. Jamie Day, the son of the team owner, is contesting his second year in the F4 UAE after 2020. Last season he already won a race at the Yas Marina Circuit. He finished the championship in sixth place. Alongside him, four rookies will be competing. Portuguese Ivan Domingues previously spent several years in karting in the IAME and WSK series. Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi from Thailand focused on test kilometers in single-seaters after dominating the junior karting scene in his home country in 2020. Among other things, he won the ROK Cup Thailand and the ROK Grand Prix in the Junior category. Ismail Akhmed, or fully pronounced Ismoilkhuja Akhmedkhodjaev, from Uzbekistan was very successful at karting in his home country, where he won all the races he entered. Last year he tried himself with less success in the FIA European Championship on OK level. The Finn Lucas Alanen, who lives in Monaco, was actually also registered for the first round, but could not start for unknown reasons. He will probably make his Formula 4 debut at the second round in Dubai.


MP Motorsport

Rik Koen, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, Miron Pingasov, Suleiman Zanfari & Valerio Rinicella (R)


The Dutch MP Motorsport team will compete with four cars. Rik Koen contested his first Formula 4 season in Spain with MP last year. He finished the championship in sixth place and made the podium three times. Thailand's Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak made his Formula 4 debut last year in F4 UAE with Xcel Motorsport. He then moved to the UK, where he won his first F4 race with Carlin. Moroccan Suleiman Zanfari is the most experienced driver in the team. He will enter his third season in 2022 and is expected to compete again in F4 Spain with MP. Russian Miron Pingasov only made his F4 debut at the end of last year. His best result so far was a seventh place. Italian Valerio Rinicella is expected to join the team in the course of the season. Fisichella's racing student just recently turned 15 years old.


If you already read my latest FR Asia preview, then you can skip this part. Because it's literally the same.


All five race weekends will be held in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit and in Dubai at the Dubai Autodrome. They'll race the season opener and finale on the Grand Prix Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Dubai will host three rounds and will use a different circuit for Round 3 with the International Circuit instead of the Grand Prix Circuit version.


Round 1: Yas Marina Circuit - Grand Prix Circuit (22-23 January)

Round 2: Dubai Autodrome - Grand Prix Circuit (29-30 January)

Round 3: Dubai Autodrome - International Circuit (5-6 February)

Round 4: Dubai Autodrome - Grand Prix Circuit (12-13 February)

Round 5: Yas Marina Circuit - Grand Prix Circuit (19-20 February)


Formula 4 gets some new cars for the 2022 season which are featuring a halo saftey device. The F4 Tatuus Gen-2 car, which will be used in this years F4 UAE, has made his racing debut at the F4 UAE Tropy Round at the Yas Marina Circuit last December.  


“We are very proud that F4UAE will be the first F4 championship in the world to launch the new second-generation Tatuus F4 race car with the halo," said the new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

"Driver safety is our top priority, and it is a great opportunity for the championship and the United Arab Emirates to be a leader in driving technical advancement for the sport. After five very successful seasons, it is one of the best platforms for young talented drivers to start their racing careers and we look forward to welcoming a new era of F4 and growing motorsport in the region."


“Visually, the halo makes the car look different but adding it isn’t just an upgrade, the car is completely new,” said Craig Thompson, promoter of F4UAE. “The changes have been made with driver safety as the most important aspect of the technical development of the cars and it’s a great opportunity for us and also our teams to get to grips with these changes in advance of the European season."


“We are grateful for the support of the FIA, the EMSO, Tatuus, Autotecnica Motori and our teams to be in a position to run the first competitive races with the second-generation T-421 F4 starting next season. This is also a huge step in solidifying the future success of F4UAE which we are very excited to welcome,” concluded Thompson.


Each race weekend features a 180 minutes sanctioned testing on Wednesday, 180 minutes official testing on Thursday, one free practice session, plus two qualifying segments and Race 1 on Friday. Race 2-4 are taking place on Saturday. Please note that the weekend format could vary to suit the event programs.


The points system is the same as in Formula Regional Asia. The top ten finishers of every race get points like this. 25 points for the race winner. 18 for P2. 15 for P3. 12 for P4. 10 for P5. 8 for P6. 6 for P7. 4 for P8. 2 for P9. And 1 for P10. No points are awarded for pole positions or fastest laps. In addition to the driver and team championships, there will also be a rookie title.


As I already did with some racing series last year, I dare to make a little prediction for this year's Formula 4 UAE drivers and teams championships.


Drivers Championship Prediction


P1: Charlie Wurz

P2: Alex Dunne

P3: Aiden Neate

P4: Rafael Câmara

P5: Vladislav Ryabov


The Formula 4 UAE grid is packed with talent this year. It's very difficult to make an accurate prediction about the championship outcome. However, my two main favorites for the title are Charlie Wurz and Alex Dunne. Just behind them I see Rafael Câmara, Aiden Neate, Rik Koen, Vladislav Ryabov and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak. Câmara missing the season opener this weekend due to a positive Covid test throws him out of a possible championship fight in my view. Andrea Kimi Antonelli would also be a possible championship contender, of course, but the Mercedes Junior is expected to start only two of the five race weekends.


Teams Championship Prediction


P1: Prema Racing

P2: Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema

P3: Hitech GP


We can also look forward to an exciting battle for the team championship. I think we'll see a close battle between Abu Dhabi Racing and their main team Prema. In the end, I think Prema Racing will prevail. Behind them I see MP Motorsport and Hitech GP dueling for third place, with the better end for Hitech GP.


The first race of the year will take place tomorrow. Enjoy it!

written by Claudio Graf (youngdriversmonthly) / 20th January, 2022