The Formula 4 US Championship, one of the most competetive F4 series of the world, will kickoff their 2022 season this weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park. In this preview I will introduce you to the different teams and their drivers, show you the season calendar, the race format and the scoring system. At the end you will find as usual my personal championship predictions. And in addition, there are also free livestreams for selected rounds this year.
23 drivers from eight different teams are on the entry list for the season opener. One more driver has also been announced for further championship rounds. About half of the field consists of rookies.
Jensen Global Advisors
Max Parker, Oliver Westling, Jake Nelson
Jensen Global Advisors will compete with two cars on the first weekend. Max Parker is entering his second Formula 4 season. Last year he already competed in some races with the team in the F4 US Championship, as well as the Formula Pro USA - F4 Western Championship. His teammate for the season opener is Oliver Westling. The Swede is entering his first F4 season. Earlier this year he finished 2nd in the 2022 Formula Pro USA - F4 Western Winter Series with two second place finishes. Jake Nelson will not yet be on the grid for the first weekend. However, the American has already been confirmed by the team for other rounds this year.
Jay Howard Driver Development
Seth Brown, Jack Zheng, Lochie Hughes, Joe Ostholthoff, Louka St-Jean
The team of former IndyCar driver Jay Howard starts the new season with five cars. Seth Brown is entering his first Formula 4 season. The American prepared for the 2022 season last year at the Lucas Oil Race School. Dual Chinese-Canadian Jack Zheng is also contesting his first season in Formula 4, having already demonstrated his talent earlier in the year when he won the Formula Pro USA - F4 Western Championship. Making a surprising but welcome comeback is Lochie Hughes. In 2018 and 2019, he competed in Formula 4 in his native Australia and finished as runner-up in the 2019 championship. After this was the final season of F4 Australia and the pandemic broke out in 2020, Lochie has not been seen in single-seater races since. Rounding out the team are Joe Ostholthoff and Louka St-Jean. Both are entering their second Formula 4 season. Ostholthoff only competed in the first half of the season and finished 31st in the championship. Canadian St-Jean was able to finish in the points four times and ended the year in 16th place.
Future Star Racing
After a year off, David Burketh is back on the grid in the F4 US Championship with Future Star Racing. The 18-year-old raced a partial season for Alliance Racing in 2020 after graduating from Lucas Oil School and competing in the 2019 Lucas Oil Shootout.
Carl Bennett, Tyke Durst, Arturo Flores
Gonella Racing is entering three cars on the grid this year. Dual Thai-American citizen Carl Bennett enters his F4 US rookie season. Like Bennett, 18-year-old Tyke Durst has participated in Gonella Racing's driver development program and now enters his first F4 US championship. Their teammate this year is Arturo Flores. The Mexican already competed with the team last season and was able to triumph in the F4 NACAM race as part of the 2021 F1 Mexican Grand Prix. He finished the 2021 F4 US Championship in 22nd place.
Velocity Racing Development
Nicholas Rivers, Matt Christensen, Noah Ping
Defending Team Championship champions Velocity Racing Development will enter three cars at the season opener this weekend. Nicholas Rivers makes his comeback in the racing series, having already contested the 2020 season with Group-A Racing. Back then, he finished the championship in a strong eighth place with one podium finish. So far, he has not raised the budget for the entire season. Matt Christensen switched from JHDD to Velocity RD this year. The American already impressed last year when he finished the championship in fifth place with two podium finishes. Completing the team is rookie Noah Ping. He will also compete with the team in USF Juniors this year.
Lewis Hodgson, Bryson Morris, Lucas Fecury, Ryan Shehan, Gabriel Fonseca, Madison Aust
Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport will have six cars on the grid for the first round. Australian Lewis Hodgson enters his first F4 season after having to miss last season due to Covid-19. Bryson Morris already contested the second half of last year's season with the team and impressed from the start. He won already the third F4 race he contested in. Lucas Fecury will make his debut this season. The Brazilian has been testing F4 cars with the team for a year. Ryan Shehan is one of the more experienced F4 drivers of the team. The American already competed with Team Crosslink last season and finished the championship in 24th place with four points. Completing the Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport line-up are Gabriel Fonseca and Madison Aust. Brazilian Fonseca competed with the team last year and finished 15th in the championship with 31 points. Aust is entering her first F4 season. The American took part in this year's Formula 4 W Series test at Inde Motorsports Ranch in Arizona, among other events.
Canadian Alex Berg will make his F4 US racing debut this year with Doran-Kroll Competition. The son of former F1 driver Allen Berg recently made the switch from karting to cars and was a winner at the Mazda Shootout.
Maite Cáceres, Alan Isambard
With International Motorsport, another new team enters the F4 US Championship. Maite Cáceres has already contested her first Formula 4 races in her native Uruguay, where she has scored a podium finish. At the beginning of the year she also tested F4 cars with W Series. Her teammate Alan Isambard is entering his first Formula 4 year. The Frenchman is also competing in this year's USF Juniors championship.
In the currently planned calendar, 18 races are scheduled over six weekends. The final weekend of the season will probably again be held as part of the F1 US Grand Prix. In this case, one race would probably be omitted. Compared to last season, NOLA Motorsports Park and New Jersey Motorsports Park are new on the schedule. Instead, the race weekends at Brainerd International Raceway and Road Atlanta have been dropped.
Round 1: NOLA Motorsports Park, Avondale (9-10 April)
Round 2: Road America, Elkhart Lake (19-22 May)
Round 3: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington (23-26 June)
Round 4: New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville (29-31 July)
Round 5: Virginia International Raceway, Alton (6-9 October)
Round 6: Circuit of the Americas, Austin (3-6 November)
In the F4 US Championship there are three races per championship round. Each race weekend includes 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.
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 each race the top three will win a payout. $750 for the winner, $300 for P2 and $150 for P3. There are also three awards to be won each weekend. The Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race Award, the Bell Hard Charger Award and the OMP Racing Consistency Award.
At the end of the season, the champion will win a scholarship for the 2023 FR Americas season, among other prizes, as well as a $25,000 cash prize. The runner-up will receive $500 each for Bell Helmets and OMP Racing. The third-place finisher will receive $250 each.
There are also FIA Super License points up for grabs for the top seven championship finisher. 12 for the champion, 10 for the runner-up, 7 for third place, 5 for fourth, 3 for fifth, 2 for sixth and 1 point for seventh.
You will be able to watch F4 US Championship races live and for free on Youtube or Facebook for most events in 2022. Alternatively, SpeedTour TV YouTube will also allow you to watch all SpeedTour event races, including F4 US Championship. In addition, each session can be followed via live timing on Race Monitor.
As I already did with some racing series last year, I dare to make a little prediction for this year's F4 US driver and team championships.
Drivers Championship Prediction
P1: Matt Christensen
P2: Bryson Morris
P3: Nicholas Rivers
P4: Gabriel Fonseca
P5: Noah Ping
Since some drivers are not yet clear whether their budget is enough for the whole season, it is difficult to name a clear favorite. For my prediction I assume that all known drivers will compete the whole season. Matt Christensen and Bryson Morris are my main favorites. Both already convinced me last season. I also expect Nicholas Rivers to be in the running for the title by the end of the season. And I believe that drivers like Gabriel Fonseca, David Burketh, Noah Ping, Jack Zheng or Lewis Hodgson are able to fight for podium finishes and race victories.
Teams Championship Prediction
P1: Velocity Racing Development
P2: Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport
P3: Jay Howard Driver Development
I think Velocity RD will be able to defend their championship title from last year. The strongest competition will come from Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport. Behind them, JHDD and Gonella Racing will probably fight it out for third place, with the better end for Jay Howard Driver Development.
You want to know more about the series? Then you might be interested in the official F4 US Buyers Guide for the 2022 season.
written by Claudio Graf / 5th April 2022