- Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series steps up preparations with official Season Launch at Silverstone.
- Carlin’s Roman Bilinski sets benchmark time; entire 18-car field split by just 0.6 seconds.
- Ford’s latest generation of rising stars formally unveiled to the world ahead of 2021 season opener on 08-09 May at Thruxton, Hampshire.
The pre-season build-up to the 2021 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season continued at Silverstone, Northamptonshire today [27 March] with the series’ official Season Launch.
The trip to the 1.6-mile National circuit at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ offered the latest intake of Ford-powered rising stars with another chance to rack up valuable winter mileage.
It also afforded an opportunity to formally unveil the ‘Class of 2021’ to the world, with the championship’s official photography, videography and audio teams on-site to capture a range of behind-the-scenes content for fans to enjoy in the coming weeks.
On track, the benchmark time was set by Carlin’s Roman Bilinski, the Polish racer’s best time of 55.616 seconds set in the afternoon session enough to edge out James Hedley, running on the day with Fortec Motorsport, by 0.032s.
Hedley’s time was posted in the final seconds of the day’s running, bumping Argenti’s Eduardo Coseteng and JHR’s McKenzy Cresswell into third and fourth spot respectively.
Matias Zagazeta held the time to beat prior to lunch, and that 55.689 proved enough to keep him in the top five overall, just ahead of Arden Motorsport’s Thomas Ikin.
Abbi Pulling ran consistently inside the top three to begin with but was forced to sit out the afternoon session after an issue with the tub on her car required further inspection from JHR – that dropped her to seventh in the final results.
Zak Taylor was eighth in the other Arden car, with Matthew Rees and Joseph Loake making it all four JHR cars inside the top ten.
Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak was 11th for Carlin, 0.024s ahead of Joel Granfors (Fortec), who in turn was ahead of Kai Askey by the same margin.
Oliver Gray (Fortec) and Marcos Flack (Argenti) were next, with Dougie Bolger (Carlin), Georgi Dimitrov (Richardson) and Nikolas Taylor (Fortec) rounding out the 18-strong field.
Remarkably, the fastest lap time set by all cars was beneath the current qualifying lap record, and the entire field was split by a mere 0.6 seconds.
The next official test for Ford’s rising stars is at Thruxton on 8th April, 2021, before returning to the high-speed Hampshire circuit a month later for the opening round of the new season.
Roman Bilinski (#31) said:
“It’s great to be at the top of the times at the Season Launch, and really shows that the hard work we’ve been putting in together with Carlin over the winter is heading in the right direction.
“Clearly, we’ve found a good place with both the car and in my performance, as our quickest lap today would technically be a new lap record, had it been set on a race weekend. It’s also the fastest lap Carlin have ever clocked around here, something we also managed at Croft a couple of weeks ago.
“Today definitely felt like the start of the countdown to Thruxton, so now we just need to make sure we keep this momentum going over the rest of our testing programme and into the first weekend.”
James Hedley (#67) said:
“We were struggling from the off, obviously we’ve had limited testing, so we were trying experimenting with the car’s setup, trying to tweak it to how I like it.
“Finally, just at the end, we managed to nail the sweet spot thanks to the guys at Fortec and as soon as we got that right, we were bang on the pace. I reckon there was definitely more gas in the tank there.
“It’s great to end the day on such a positive note, so we’ve shown we can do it.
“Hopefully we’ll get a budget together, thank you to Hendy for their continuing support, but obviously we need more, so we’re just really pushing for that. I hope I’ll be on the grid this year fighting for the championship.”
Eduardo Coseteng (#36) said:
“I think the day went quite well, we progressed quite well from the start until the end. We were P2 for the most part of it and competing, and someone just slipped past us at the last minute.
“Overall, it was a really good day, I’m really impressed with the pace we have, especially given that the top two in front of me are second-year drivers, and I’m the top Rookie. Hopefully we can start how we ended today at the next test.
“It was pretty cool to unveil the new livery. The car looks quite good, to be fair, Argenti have done a great job at making the cars look really mint.
“I’d just like to thank a few people; Argenti, for an amazing car and their efforts all day, my parents of course for the support and my sponsors, Petron Corporation and Autoplus PH. ”
McKenzy Cresswell (#16) said:
“We initially struggled a bit after lunch, but we managed to find a setup that worked.
“The final run was a big improvement and I’m pleased to finish so close to the top of the timesheets.
“There’s lots of positives to take away from today, and a big thank you to JHR Developments for all their hard work.”
Sam Roach, Championship Promoter said:
“It’s fantastic to see the ‘Class of 2021’ and their challengers for the 2021 season ahead here at Silverstone today.
“Each and every car looks fantastic, and a quick glance at the timesheets says everything you need to know about how closely-fought this year’s title battle is going to be.
“Each Season Launch always feels like a landmark moment in the build-up to any season, so the countdown to Thruxton really begins today.”
To view the complete classification, click here.