With only a matter of weeks to go until the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost roars back into life for 2020 at Donington Park (01-02 August), it’s time to go from casual fan to paddock expert as we run you through the ‘need to knows’ in Britain’s FIA F4 series!
So, let’s get started…
What is British F4?
The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost (commonly abbreviated to ‘British F4’) is Britain’s version of the FIA Formula 4 concept and the first step on the ladder towards Formula 1.
Drivers are aged from 15 years and older, with the series using a one-make (so all the cars are identical) chassis, built by Mygale in Magny-Cours, France. The Mygale M14-F4 runs on a controlled Hankook tyre (both slick and wet), and the car is powered by a 1.6-litre, turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engine, the same award-winning engine technology found in their road cars!
What’s the format?
In 2020, the championship will be made up of 26 (usually 30!) points-scoring rounds across nine weekends on the UK’s premier motorsport package, the British Touring Car Championship.
Each weekend features 3 races (2 at Croft) of 20 minutes each. The grids for Races 1 and 3 are set by a driver’s fastest and second-fastest times respectively in qualifying on Saturday morning.
Here’s where it gets interesting; the grid for Race 2 is partially-reversed, so the top 50 percent of finishers from Race 1 are switched around on the grid. It certainly leads to some action-packed races!
Points are the same for all races, and every round counts – we don’t do drop scores! We use the FIA’s points system (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 down to tenth), and valuable FIA Super License points are awarded to the top seven in the overall championship at the end of the year.
We also run a separate championship for both Rookies (less than three car meetings) and the Teams (two pre-nominated drivers per meeting), using the same system, so there’s plenty to play for!
What’s the calendar like for 2020?
Given the circumstances, exceptionally good!
We’ll continue to play an integral role on the BTCC’s support package, taking in the UK’s most iconic and challenging venues; Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Oulton Park and Silverstone – home of the British Grand Prix – to name but a few.
Here’s the full 2020 calendar:
|1, 2 & 3||01-02 August 2020||Donington Park (National)|
|4, 5 & 6||08-09 August 2020||Brands Hatch (GP)|
|7, 8 & 9||22-23 August 2020||Oulton Park (Island)|
|10, 11 & 12||29-30 August 2020||Knockhill|
|13, 14 & 15||19-20 September 2020||Thruxton|
|16, 17 & 18||26-27 September 2020||Silverstone (National)|
|19 & 20||10-11 October 2020||Croft|
|21, 22 & 23||24-25 October 2020||Snetterton (300)|
|24, 25 & 26||14-15 November 2020||Brands Hatch (Indy)|
Who’s racing in it for 2020?
You’re in for a treat. We’ve earnt a reputation in the last half-decade for being an exceptionally tough championship to win, so we’ve got not only the brightest single-seater talents in the UK, but also a whole raft of drivers from all four corners of the globe.
Carlin are the reigning Drivers’ champions, and they’ll field Matias Zagazeta, Christian Mansell, Zak O’Sullivan and Marijn Kremers. They’ve won the title every year they’ve competed, so they’ll be pretty tough customers.
Then there’s Arden. Returning driver Alex Connor ended 2019 on a high with his first pole position and podium in the series, and has since gone on to claim an FIA F4 win out in the UAE. He’ll be among the front-runners, and new team mates Roman Bilinski and Frederick Lubin are pushing hard to make sure they join him.
JHR are serial race-winners, it’s just what they do. Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley switches to single-seaters; alongside him is multiple karting champion Abbi Pulling and Mikkel Grundtvig, who’s already a proven race-winner at this level in Denmark and France.
Experience meets Rookie talent at Fortec in 2020. Luke Browning won two races last season, and is now set for a title challenge, but he’ll be pushed all the way by Roberto Faria, who claimed 21 Rookie podiums in his maiden year of single-seater racing. They’ll both need to keep one eye on Rafael Villagomez, though, but the internal competition could push Fortec to new heights this season.
Finally, we have the championship newcomers in Argenti. British F4’s first Scholarship winner Casper Stevenson is joined by Chilean karting prospect Nico Pino and the returning Reema Juffali. Between that trio, the ingredients are there for two-time Porsche Carrera Cup GB winner Michael Meadows’ team to have a successful first step into the series.
What other prizes are on offer?
We’re glad you asked!
Not only is the title of ‘FIA British Formula 4 Champion’ up for grabs, but along with it comes a free test with a leading Formula Renault Eurocup team to aid their progression towards the next level, courtesy of series tyre suppliers Hankook.
Hankook also offer a free set of tyres for use in testing to the driver that makes up the most positions from their starting slots across each race weekend.
Ford Performance will continue to offer the ‘Ford Super Rookie Award’, which gives £5,000 to the first Rookie driver to win a race outright.
Mygale offer a £1,000 credit for spare parts to the team that sets pole position (Race 1) at each round, and Snap-On offer a £300 voucher to a chosen technician that has gone above and beyond on each weekend.
They also provide a bespoke toolbox worth £5,000 to the ‘Technician of the Year’ after the final round.
Sounds great, where can I follow the action?
Our races are broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, and online through the ITV Hub.
Highlights are available online, usually within 24 hours, via itv.com/btcc.
Our YouTube channel publishes globally-available highlights within seven days of the event, as per the TV rights agreement.
Our website (you’re on it!) is also a great hub for the latest race reports, interviews, features and podcasts featuring our drivers and teams; you’ll go from casual fan to paddock expert in no time at all!
And, of course, you can keep up to date with the action in ‘real time’ via our social media channels. We’re ‘British F4’ on everything – it couldn’t be simpler!