Arden Motorsport’s Frederick Lubin is eagerly anticipating the start of the 2020 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season at Donington Park later this month as the series newcomer targets the Rookie Cup title.
The 15-year old is the latest YRDA (Young Racing Driver Academy) product to enter Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series with the ‘Red Arrows’, and graduates into the championship from Junior Max karting across the Kartmasters UK, TVKC Winter Cup and Kent Cup events in 2019.
He will partner returning driver Alex Connor and former Ginetta Junior racer Roman Bilinski at the Banbury-based team, with pre-season testing already back underway ahead of the new start date.
Reflecting on the championship’s enforced break due to the global COVID-19 pandemic (and subsequent suspension of motorsport in the UK), Lubin explained that, for him, the extra three months to focus on fitness and preparation has helped him push to a higher level.
“I think I speak for most drivers when I say it’s been quite useful,” he explained.
“We’ve had three extra months to tick over the extra fitness, working on the simulator at home and that kind of stuff.
“Personally, for me, I think it’s been a blessing in disguise. I’m way fitter than I was in March, and I think the three months off has really been a part of it.”
The action in British F4 is often unpredictable, but a trend usually emerges in the opening events as the second-year drivers make good on their experience before that development curve balances out.
Lubin believes that will remain the case despite the extra time to prepare away from the track, but believes he sits well-poised amongst the latest batch of Ford-powered Rookies to enter the series.
“For a first-year driver against second-year drivers, it’s always going to be the case,” he said.
“These kids have raced those circuits before, so they know it like the back of their hand. They know where the bumps are, they know what the quickest line is on a certain day, so that’s always going to be a factor.
“But I think the three months has definitely helped make us a feel a little bit closer, and obviously with my two team mates being second-year drivers and I’ve tested with them, I think I’m better equipped than I was before, and I think better equipped than the other Rookies on the grid. Hopefully we can translate that into something good this year.”
The COVID-19 lockdown also led to a significant re-shaping of the 2020 calendar; most notably, the traditional season finale at Brands GP is now the second event, with the ultra-challenging undulations of Knockhill also moved forward to Round 4.
Lubin believes that will present an extra physical challenge to the drivers, but insists his approach to the year as a whole remains unchanged.
“The mindset and attitude towards the season hasn’t changed, I think it’s remained very much the same. Obviously, with me being a first-year driver, all the tracks are going to be a challenge.
“I do agree that having Knockhill and Brands [GP] much closer in the year is going to be more of a challenge; I think more physically so than anything else.
“But, then again, I’ve had these three months to really get in shape. I think I’ll be more than ready to do the first four rounds back-to-back, and I’m actually really excited to get to Knockhill and Brands GP first, rather than waiting.”
Arden’s new-look line up of Lubin, Connor and Bilinski is already yielding results; the trio have become instant friends and, as Lubin explains, they have a fair, open-book policy on sharing data and working together to bring both titles back to their awning.
“I settled in with YRDA very quickly, and then because of them, I got much closer to Arden and once I’d done a few tests, we settled in very quickly.
“Myself, Alex and Roman clicked basically the minute we met, so I don’t think lockdown has made us closer, because we already were quite close, but we’ve had lots of fun on iRacing and FaceTiming each other and all that kind of stuff. I think the bond will be as strong as it was when we left off on Media Day.”
“As a racing driver, you always want to win, so giving away your information when you’re P1 is not really ideal, but we all know that Arden want a Drivers and a Teams Championship, so we know what we have to do to help.
“And obviously with us being good mates, I don’t think we having a problem with doing that, we’ve done all throughout the test days and I think Arden’s attitude will remain the same. Whether we’ll want to or not, I think we’ll have to give data to each other, and at the minute I don’t think any of us having a problem with doing that.
“When we do debriefs, one of us is always pointing something out to the others, so unless something extremely dramatic happens, I don’t see it changing.”
Looking ahead to the season opener at Donington Park on 01-02 August, Lubin underlined his Rookie Cup title aspirations and believes a top five finish in the outright standings is achieveable.
“If I look at previous tests that we’ve done with the British F4 grid, the only bad day we had was Media Day, but the others we were happily finding top 5s.
“My goal for this year is Rookie champion, and as a first-year driver if I can place top five in the overall championship, I would come away from this year very happy, and the team would as well.
“Those are still the same goals, and I think that’s looking more positive and more likely than it was, let’s say, after Media Day.
“I think it will be a very close year, a year of learning, and I’m just really looking forward to racing and seeing how it goes.”
To listen to Frederick’s catch-up with our radio team, click here.