Inaugural F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost Scholarship winner Casper Stevenson says the scheme gave him a confidence and performance boost heading into the winter as he prepares to make his debut in 2020 with Argenti Motorsport.
The 16-year old impressed in the highly-competitive Ginetta Junior Championship in 2019, finishing sixth overall with nine podiums and ending the season as the vice-champion in the Rookie stakes.
He then took part in the first-ever British F4 Scholarship at Silverstone in November, leaving with a package worth £35,000 towards his 2020 budget, and confirmed his seat at Argenti Motorsport in late January.
Speaking ahead of his debut campaign in single-seaters, Stevenson explained that winning the prize helped to put together a more competitive package for the step up to Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series and gave him a boost in confidence.
“It gave me an insane boost. In the off-season when I stopped testing, I was just happy,” said Stevenson.
“It was really cool. And then we could sign for a better deal, more tyres and more testing. A big boost, in terms of performance and confidence.”
“Up until the Scholarship, we were wondering whether we could do F4 competitively, because you need to do a lot of testing and we could only do a ten-day programme. We can now do seven extra days, so there was no ‘shall we cut tyres out of that day and put it towards another’? It was just seven more days.”
Adjusting from tin-tops to single seaters can be a steep learning curve; Stevenson said he found the precision needed in steering the Mygale MF4-14 quite striking, but feels winter testing in general has progressed well ahead of the switch.
“When I first drove the car, it struck me how precise the steering was. In a Ginetta, to get around, let’s say, Craner Curves, you’re like that [indicates wide steering movement], in the F4 you put a teeny bit of movement on. How precise it was and threading the needle was quite striking.
“We’ve made progress, there’s still a lot more progress to go. We’ve still got a good amount of days before Round 1. So good progress, but still a lot of things to learn.”
Not only is Stevenson adapting to a new car and championship in 2020, but also to a new team in Argenti Motorsport. He will join Chilean karting prospect Nico Pino and returning star Reema Juffali at Michael Meadows’ outfit, and says the early bond between himself and his new team mates is looking positive.
“They’re good team mates and we get along well and we’ve got good data from last year. Sometimes I do a better corner than them, but sometimes they’re ten metres later on the brakes so we can always compare things. I think it’s quite a good team.”
Setting out his expectations for the campaign ahead, the aim for Stevenson is simple; carry through his performance in winter testing to the new season and place in the top three by the end of the year.
“I want to finish top three in the championship, I want to try and be on the podium most races and get a few wins, but mainly the championship. I’d like to win the championship, but I think there’s three or four of us that are really fast at the moment, so top three I’d be happy with.”
Stevenson also underlined his belief that British F4 offers the best value-for-money of any FIA F4 series worldwide, and says only 10-15 days in the car have already made a significant impact on him as a driver.
“F4 is getting really expensive, and for the amount that it is to compete well, it’s the best F4 out there. You look at Italian and German F4, you have to spend so much and you have to go with two teams – Prema or Van Amersfoort. We also looked at GT racing but everyone said to us ‘if you don’t do a season of single-seaters, you’re going to be off the pace’. Even if I stopped now, in the ten to fifteen days of testing I’ve done from Ginetta, I’ve learnt so much.”