In the first of a brand-new series, a host of F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost alumni reflect on their time in the UK’s premier single-seater series and how it played a pivotal role in the success they’ve enjoyed since.
Kicking things off is Renault Sport Academy racer and 2016 champion Max Fewtrell, now flying high in FIA Formula 3…
In arguably the most competitive year on record, Fewtrell was crowned by a slender seven-point margin on his first attempt as six drivers across four different teams descended on Brands Hatch for the 2016 title decider in contention.
Though he only won three races across the campaign, Fewtrell was a metronomic points-scorer, finishing on the podium an impressive 16 times and only failing to score points on four occasions.
He arrived at the finale five points adrift of erstwhile leader Sennan Fielding and dropped another three points to his rival in the opener, but outscored him in the middle contest and then converted pole position into victory in the final round to secure the crown.
Fewtrell points to that high-intensity title decider and his first race victory earlier in the year at Donington Park as his stand-out moments from his time in Britain’s official Formula 4 series with Carlin.
“For me, the standout moments were the first race win at Donington – that was a pretty good feeling,” said Fewtrell.
“It was also the first pole position too, so that was a nice weekend. It was the start of some good results and the consistency. Obviously I wanted to win more, but it was still my first year in car racing, so we did a good job.
“The other highlight is the last weekend, I was starting the last race on pole and I needed to win to definitely secure the title, so that was one of the most intense moments of my career. It was quite a long race, I couldn’t make any mistakes and then to win the title at the end of it was very rewarding.”
Fewtrell says the experience of going through that title fight in British F4 taught him the importance of peak performance across the board, and gave him valuable experience heading into his title-winning conquest on the Formula Renault Eurocup prior to the step up to F3 with ART Grand Prix.
“It taught me how championships work, there were a lot of races – 30, which is more than I do nowadays. It taught consistency, keeping calm in tough moments and really doing the best job you can every time you go on track. Also looking at every detail and making sure you’ve prepared enough, just covering all bases,” explained Fewtrell.
“I don’t think you really can prepare for that, especially as I’d never been in a title decider before. I was just approaching it as a normal weekend, aiming to win the race and get the most points. And I think that was the best approach, to treat it the same as any other weekend and not add extra, unnecessary pressure. Nowadays, I know that feeling and how to handle it.”
“It was quite an up and down year, I learnt quite a lot about myself and improved my driving. Obviously, I’d rather win a championship with more wins and have some more outstanding performances rather than just finish second every time. It was a good year. Consistency is key, and it’s a good thing to have. It also helped me to improve for when I won the Formula Renault Eurocup, I had a lot more pole positions and wins, I was a bit more up there all the time, but British F4 taught me how to do that.”
Reflecting on the step up from karting to single-seaters, Fewtrell admits every aspect of the British F4 car caught him by surprise, but felt comfortable in next to no time as he took his first steps on the FIA single-seater ladder.
“It was just something completely different to go-karts. Every aspect surprised me, I didn’t know how a single-seater would feel,” he admitted.
“Everything was new, so it was a really good year of just learning and absorbing stuff. I think I felt how comfortable I was in the car quite quickly, I thought it would be a bit harder, but I guess if you’ve been racing for a few years in go-karts and you grow up racing, all the basics are still the same.”
Fewtrell currently sits fifth overall in the FIA Formula 3 standings after three events, with the Renault F1 junior set to resume his title charge at Silverstone on the British Grand Prix support bill later this week [12th-14th July].