Finally, the time has come again. The world's strongest Formula 4 series starts its new season at Imola next 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.


36 drivers from ten different teams have yet officially been named to take part in the championship. Up to 40 drivers or more are expected to take part in the championship during the course of the season again.


Prema Racing

Ugo Ugochukwu, Tuukka Taponen, James Wharton, Rashid Al Dhaheri, Aurelia Nobels, Nicola Lacorte, Arvid Lindblad


The defending champions from Prema Racing are fielding seven cars on the grid this season. Ugo Ugochukwu tackles his first full year in the Italian F4 Championship. The McLaren Junior competed in British Formula 4 last year, where he finished a strong third in the championship in his rookie season. The racer from New York won two races in the process and was on the podium a further nine times. He also competed with Prema at the Red Bull Ring and Mugello last year. In these six races he finished on the podium four times. In preparation for the new season, he, and many of his teammates, competed in the F4 UAE Championship, where he finished third. Tuukka Taponen enters his first Formula 4 year. The Finn had a successful karting career and became world champion in the OK category in Campillos, Spain in 2021, among other titles. The Ferrari Driver Academy member made his single-seater debut in the Formula 4 UAE Championship, where he finished runner-up with four race wins and ten podiums. He was beaten only by his teammate James Wharton. The Australian also won four races in the F4 UAE and stood on the podium a total of eleven times. In 2023, the Ferrari Junior will contest his second year in Formula 4 with Prema. Last season he finished fifth in the championship with five podiums. Rashid Al Dhaheri, on the other hand, will have his first experience of Formula 4 racing this year. The driver from the United Arab Emirates has already achieved outstanding results in karting at a young age. Among others, he won the WSK Euro Series in the 60 Mini category and the WSK Super Master Series in 2019. In 2021, he moved to the OKJ class, winning the WSK Champions Cup and the WSK Super Master Series. Aurelia Nobels made her Formula 4 debut last year in Brazilian F4. She finished in the points three times there and ended the championship in 16th place. The Belgian was the winner of the third edition of the FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars program in 2022, which earned her a place in Ferrari's Driver Academy. Nicola Lacorte is contesting his first full year in Formula 4. The Italian made his debut in the final three rounds of the Italian Formula 4 Championship in 2022. His results were immediately impressive as he scored his first points straight away in his first career race at the Red Bull Ring. He was also declared last year's winner of the Supercorso Federale ACI Sport, a special training course set up by the Italian federation to highlight the country's most promising drivers. The team is completed by Arvid Lindblad. The Red Bull Junior also makes his F4 debut at the end of last year. In his impressive karting career, he won among others the 2020 WSK Super Master Series in the OK Junior class and the WSK Euro Series in the 2021 OK category. At the beginning of the year, he also participated in F4 UAE, where he finished the championship in fifth place with a victory and two more podiums.


Airflow Racing

Guido Luchetti


At the wheel of one of the single-seaters fielded by the Tuscan team will be Guido Luchetti. The Italian driver born in 2005, will make his single-seater debut after months of preparation both in the simulator and at the wheel of a Dallara F308 with which he has been training with to get ready for his first season in car racing.


AKM Motorsport

Enzo Deligny, Tina Hausmann, Davide Larini, Griffin Peebles


AKM Motorsport is preparing for its fourth season in Italian F4. Marco Antonelli's team is entering four cars and all four drivers are contesting their first year in Formula 4. Davide Larini, the 15-year-old son of former Formula 1 driver Nicola Larini, is moving from karting to Formula 4. The Italian was previously active in the 60-mini category and then switched to the 125 Junior class, where he shone in the Italian ACI Rok and the European Cup. Last year he was Italian runner-up in the 125 Senior class. The 16-year-old Tina Hausmann, who made a name for herself in the Swiss Rotax Max Challenge and most recently participated in the ADAC Kart Masters, also joins the team as a newcomer. The Swiss will be the first female driver to compete for AKM Motorsport. In preparation for the season, Hausmann has already competed in the Formula Winter Series. Enzo Deligny, the team's youngest driver, will also contest his first season in single-seaters. Last year, the Frenchman finished seventh in the KF1 World Championship and third in Zuera in the European Series. He has also been part of the Red Bull Junior Team since this year. Australian Griffin Peebles will also compete for the team from San Marino. Peebles, who turned 15 in February, has competed in the World and European Karting Championships over the last two years and has already completed several test runs with the Tatuus F4.


AS Motorsport

Manuel Quondamcarlo, Finn Wiebelhaus


The Slovenian team of AS Motorsport has officially signed only one driver for the whole season so far. Manuel Quondamcarlo, after a successful career in karting, already got his first taste of the Italian Formula 4 Championship. In 2022, he contested the Misano and Vallelunga weekends with AS Motorsport, and is now ready to contest the entire season with the team. Finn Wiebelhaus will be his teammate for the first weekend in Imola. The German was still racing in karting last year and will complete his main program for the 2023 season with the ADAC Formula Junior Team in French Formula 4.


BVM Racing

Alfio Andrea Spina, Andrea Frassineti, Jesse Carrasquedo


Giuseppe Mazzotti's BVM Racing team starts the new year with three drivers. Alfio Andrea Spina is contesting his second Formula 4 season after racing with BWR Motorsports last year. His best results were three twelfth places in Imola and Misano. During his karting career, the 2020 Italian won the WSK Champions Cup and the WSK Euro Series in the OK Junior class, among others. His teammate for this season is Andrea Frassineti. The Italian made his Formula 4 debut last season with Cars Racing. His best result so far was an 18th place in Misano. Jesse Carrasquedo is set to compete in four out of seven Italian F4 weekends. His main program in 2023 will be the Spanish Formula 4 Championship with Campos Racing. The Mexican driver won two races in Danish F4 in 2021 and two races in F4 NACAM in 2022.


Jenzer Motorsport

Ethan Ischer, Kim Hwarang, Ariel Elkin


Jenzer Motorsport from Switzerland is providing three cars for the first weekend in Imola. Ethan Ischer already competed in Formula 4 races with the team last year. In his second Formula 4 season, he is completing a double program consisting of Italian F4 and ACCR F4. The Swiss driver's best results in Italian F4 so far are two 15th places. It will also be the second year in Formula 4 for Kim Hwarang, who finished 30th overall last season with the BVM Racing Team. His best result was an 11th place at the Red Bull Ring. The team is completed by rookie Ariel Elkin. Last year he became Italian champion of the IAME Series and won the bronze medal for Israel at the FIA Motorsport Games in the Karting SR category.


R-ace GP

Raphaël Narac, Matteo Quintarelli


The French team of R-ace GP has so far announced two drivers for the new season. Raphaël Narac competed in the 2022 Trophee Tourisme Endurance Formula Renault 2.0 Cup in France, finishing fourth overall with nine podiums. He also made his Italian F4 racing debut at Monza. Earlier this year, the Frenchman competed with R-ace in the F4 UAE Championship, where his best result was a 14th place. His teammate for this season is Matteo Quintarelli. He also competed in F4 UAE in preparation for the new year, where a ninth place at the Trophy Round was his best result. He spent most of his karting career in the Middle East, finishing 37th in the 2021 IAME Euro Series for X30 Junior karts and second in the UAE Series in the 2021-22 season.


US Racing

Akshay Bohra, Zachary David, Ruiqi Liu, Gianmarco Pradel, Kacper Sztuka


The German team from US Racing will be competing with five drivers this season. Akshay Bohra started in 2022 still in karting and drove in his rookie season on OK-Karts for the Kart Republic factory team and finished among other things in 13th place in the WSK Super Master Series. Shortly thereafter, he took his first steps in car racing, competing with R Racing in the Ginetta Junior Championship. The American driver with Indian roots finished ninth halfway through the season and then made his single-seater debut at the Italian F4 season finale with US Racing. Zachary David is also entering his first full season in Formula 4, with the dual Filipino-Maltese citizen making his F4 debut with the team at the Red Bull Ring. To prepare for this season, he took part in selected races in the F4 UAE and Formula Winter Series. He has already won races in both racing series. After Ruiqi made his Formula 4 debut last year with US Racing at the Formula 4 round at the Lausitzring, he will contest a full Formula 4 season with the team in 2023. The Chinese also took part in the Formula Winter Series in preparation for the season, where he finished on the podium three times. Gianmarco Pradel made his Formula 4 debut at the end of last season in Spanish F4 in Barcelona. He now tackles his first full season in Formula 4 with US Racing. The Australian finished runner-up in the Formula Winter Series with six podiums. He was only beaten by his teammate Kacper Sztuka. The Pole is already entering his third season in Formula 4, having managed to win two races in the Italian F4 last year. He finished the championship in sixth place with two further podium finishes.


Van Amersfoort Racing

Ismail Akhmed, Brando Badoer, Jack Beeton, Ivan Domingues, Matheus Ferreira


Frits van Amersfoort's Dutch team starts the new year with five drivers. Ismail Akhmed is contesting his second year in Formula 4. Last season, the driver from Uzbekistan raced with AKM Motorsport. His best result so far is a 21st place in the first race at the Red Bull Ring. For Brando Badoer, too, it will be the second full season in Formula 4 and the second year with Van Amersfoort Racing. The son of former Formula 1 driver Luca Badoer finished in the points four times last year and ended the championship in 16th place. In preparation for the new season, the Italian raced in the F4 UAE Championship and took his first Formula 4 podium finish in third place at the Dubai Autodrome. For Jack Beeton, 2023 will be the first year in Formula 4. The Australian made his debut earlier this year when he scored points once in seventh place in the F4 UAE Championship in Dubai. Ivan Domingues moves from Iron Lynx to Van Amersfoort Racing for his second year in Formula 4. Last season, the Portuguese driver finished in the points six times and ended the championship in 15th place. The team is completed by rookie Matheus Ferreira. The Brazilian joined the Alpine Academy this year. During his career in karting, among other things, he became vice European champion in the Junior class in 2021. In the same year, he also finished second in the WSK Super Master Series OKJ category and in 2022 he was runner-up in the Champions of the Future - Winter Series OK category.


PHM Racing

Victoria Blokhina, Valentin Kluss, Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi, James Egozi


The German PHM Racing Team starts the new year with four cars. Victoria Blokhina was already racing with the team last year and achieved her best result with 12th place in the first race at the Red Bull Ring. At the beginning of the year, the Russian also competed in F4 UAE. Valentin Kluss is also entering his second Formula 4 season. In ADAC F4 he clinched his only podium to date in third place at the third race at Lausitzring. The German finished the F4 UAE Championship at the beginning of the year in tenth place overall. The third driver in the team is also entering his second Formula 4 year. Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi competed with Jenzer Motorsport in 2022 and achieved his best result as sixth in ADAC F4 at the Lausitzring. The Thai also took part in F4 UAE, where he was unable to score any points, however. The team is completed by rookie James Egozi. The 15-year-old from Hollywood, Florida has an impressive career in karting behind him. Among other things, he won the 2021 WSK Open Cup in the OK Junior class. In 2018, he also won the Mini categories at the U.S. Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Nationals, Florida Winter Tour and ROK the Rio.


This year, 21 races will again be held over seven weekends. The only new addition to the calendar is Circuit Paul Ricard, which replaces the Red Bull Ring from last year. Note that a four race format will be used when the number of entrants exceeds the circuit's capacity.


Round 1: Imola Circuit (22-23 April)


Round 2: Misano World Circuit (5-7 May)


Round 3: Circuit Spa-Francorchamps (26-28 May)


Round 4: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (23-25 June)


Round 5: Circuit Paul Ricard (21-23 July)


Round 6: Mugello Circuit (29 September - 1 October)


Round 7: Vallelunga Circuit (13-15 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 next weekend, there were also some testing days for the Italian F4 on different race tracks at Imola, Mugello, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Misano. Most of the test days was not exclusively Italian F4.




A few days ago, the last tests before the start of the season took place in Imola. The fastest driver on the three days was James Wharton. The Prema driver set the best time of 1m45.320s on the third and final day. The busiest of all drivers was Ismail Akhmed who completed 238 laps in total.


Overall Results:

P1: James Wharton - Prema / 1m45.320s

P2: Tuukka Taponen - Prema / +0.022s

P3: Kacper Sztuka - US Racing / +0.111s

P4: Matheus Ferreira - VAR / +0.156s

P5: Ivan Domingues - VAR / +0.175s

P6: Zachary David - US Racing / +0.183s

P7: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.212s

P8: Arvid Lindblad - Prema / +0.343s

P9: Nicola Lacorte - Prema / +0.345s

P10: Gianmarco Pradel - US Racing / +0.404s




At the Misano Circuit, Prema driver Tuukka Taponen turned the fastest lap time of all. With a lap of 1m34.962s, he was just a wafer-thin 0.009 seconds faster than teammate Wharton. Real Racing Team driver Luca Viisoreanu completed the most laps with 185.


Overall Results:

P1: Tuukka Taponen - Prema / 1m34.962s

P2: James Wharton - Prema / +0.009s

P3: Kacper Sztuka - US Racing / +0.049s

P4: Andrea Kimi Antonelli - AKM / +0.152s

P5: Valentin Kluss - PHM / +0.184s

P6: Ivan Domingues - VAR / +0.197s

P7: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.245s

P8: Zachary David - US Racing / +0.248s

P9: Alfio Andrea Spina - BVM / +0.265s

P10: Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema / +0.287s




The young Finn was also unbeatable in Monza. Tuukka Taponen set a best time of 1m52.678s. The most laps were completed by Giacomo Pedrini from the Newman Motorsport team. He completed 175 laps in his Formula 4 car.


Overall Results:

P1: Tuukka Taponen - Prema / 1m52.678s

P2: Nicola Lacorte - Prema / +0.086s

P3: James Wharton - Prema / +0.185s

P4: Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema / +0.219s

P5: Ivan Domingues - VAR / +0.228s

P6: Arvid Lindblad - Prema / +0.407s

P7: Alfio Andrea Spina - BVM / +0.555s

P8: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.603s

P9: Matheus Ferreira - VAR / +0.954s

P10: Bianca Bustamante - Prema / +0.992s




At Spa-Francorchamps, the Italian F4 tested together with the Spanish F4. On both days Kacper Sztuka was the fastest driver. He set the fastest time of the tests on the first day with a 2m22.095s.


Results - Day 1:

P1: Kacper Sztuka - US Racing / 2m22.095s.

P2: Zachary David - US Racing / +0.271s

P3: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.280s

P4: Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema / +0.375s

P5: James Egozi - PHM / +0.543s

P6: Christian Ho - Campos / +0.553s

P7: Akshay Bohra - US Racing / +0.565s

P8: Gianmarco Pradel - US Racing / +0.578s

P9: Arvid Lindblad - Prema / +0.626s

P10: Ivan Domingues - VAR / +0.636s


Results - Day 2:

P1: Kacper Sztuka - US Racing / 2m22.241s

P2: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.636s

P3: Arvid Lindblad - Prema / +0.644s

P4: Tuukka Taponen - Prema / +0.654s

P5: Valerio Rinicella - MP / +0.699s

P6: Enzo Deligny - Campos / +0.729s

P7: Théophile Naël - Saintéloc / +0.762s

P8: Zachary David - US Racing / +0.781s

P9: Ugo Ugochukwu - Prema / +0.783s

P10: Christian Ho - Campos / +0.858s




The first tests of the year took place during two days in Mugello. The fastest over both days was PHM Rcing driver Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi. Tina Hausmann was the busiest driver of the tests with a total of 144 laps.


Overall Results:

P1: Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi - PHM / 1m48.634s

P2: James Egozi - PHM / +0.138s

P3: Ivan Domingues - VAR / +0.201s

P4: #38 - AKM Motorsport / +0.251s

P5: Brando Badoer - VAR / +0.257s

P6: Rashid Al Dhaheri - Prema / +0.342s

P7: Valentin Kluss - PHM / +0.419s

P8: Tina Hausmann - AKM / +0.653s

P9: Nikita Johnson - PHM / +0.676s

P10: Davide Larini - AKM / +0.746s


Once again, I'm making a prediction for the driver and team championships for this years Italian Formula 4.


Drivers Championship Prediction


P1: Tuukka Taponen

P2: James Wharton

P3: Kacper Sztuka

P4: Ugo Ugochukwu

P5: Ivan Domingues


The battle for this year's drivers' title will probably take place almost exclusively within one team. Prema Racing drivers Tuukka Taponen, James Wharton and Ugo Ugochukwu have already decided the title between themselves in the F4 UAE Championship. Tuukka is arguably one of the most impressive rookies in recent years and I think he will be able to pull away from his more experienced teammates as the season progresses. Nevertheless, Wharton and Ugochukwu will be racing for victories until the final races. The drivers from the Italian top team will have to fear competition, especially from Kacper Sztuka. In his third year in Formula 4, the US Racing driver will be consistently competing for the top positions and perhaps even the championship. Behind him there are other drivers who want to and can compete for podium places and maybe even race wins. For me, these include Ivan Domingues, Brando Badoer, Valentin Kluss, Arvid Lindblad and Zachary David, as well as the rookies Rashid Al Dhaheri, James Egozi and Matheus Ferreira.


Teams Championship Prediction


P1: Prema Racing

P2: US Racing

P3: Van Amersfoort Racing


In my opinion, the team championship can only be won by Prema this year. Behind them, US Racing, Van Amersfoort Racing and perhaps PHM Racing will fight it out for second and third place. It is difficult to say how the rest of the teams will rank. I think AKM Motorsport, BVM Racing, Jenzer Motorsport and R-ace GP are all similarly strong.

written by Claudio Graf  / 18th April 2023