MSA Formula gets away to a flying start

  • Governing body announces champion driver will receive FIA F4 title
  • £30,000 cash prize fund to be provided by Ford
  • First young drivers announce their participation

msa_actionwSILVERSTONE, 28 September, 2014 – The car at the centre of next season’s exciting new junior championship, MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost, enjoyed a hugely successful public launch at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, this weekend.

The covers were pulled from the new carbon-fibre monocoque chassis by Gerard Quinn, Head of Ford Racing in Europe, Frederic Bertrand, circuit and championship director of the FIA, and John Ryan of the MSA, who were watched by a crowd of prospective drivers, team personnel and media estimated to number 250. Today the car made a demonstration run on the Silverstone National circuit for the benefit of the ITV4 cameras.

msa005The order book was opened immediately after the unveiling, with current Formula Ford teams and international squads from Formula 3 and other high-level series expressing their intentions to take chassis. “We are absolutely delighted by the level of interest shown in the car and the championship,” said Gerard Quinn, “and also by the calibre of team placing orders. We are extremely confident of a full grid for MSA Formula in 2015.”

Further details of the new championship were revealed, including an announcement by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, that the top FIA-certified Formula 4 driver of each country will earn ‘FIA Formula 4 Champion’ status.

First in the queue to order one of the new Mygale-built FIA F4 chassis was 18-year-old Jersey racer Jack Butel, who announced his plans to contest the championship in 2015. His entry in the order book was followed swiftly by that of 17-year-old Ollie Pidgley, who will make his debut with an established team new to single-seater racing.

msa003“This is a very important milestone for Ford,” said Gerard Quinn, “in that it continues our tradition of grass-roots junior single-seater racing. This series will be the only single-seater series for junior racers in this country that will be certified by both the MSA and the FIA. Working in collaboration with these two organisations, we are going to make some major changes to how young people get the opportunity to go and race.”

Quinn revealed that Ford will bankroll a sizeable cash prize fund: “As part of our continuing investment I am pleased to say that next season we are going to continue to provide a prize fund of £30,000.”

A statement from FIA President Jean Todt was delivered: “FIA Formula 4 is an excellent initiative resulting from an entirely new kind of synergy between the ASNs and the FIA. This is the ideal training discipline, enabling drivers to take their first steps in single-seater racing.

“In order to highlight the achievements of the top FIA-certified Formula 4 driver of each country, the World Motor Sport Council has agreed to create a special award titled ‘FIA Formula 4 Champion of (country)’. This FIA award will form an important landmark in the racing record of each champion and will be a valuable aid in progressing to the next level.”

msa002The ‘ready to race’ price of a new MSA Formula car was confirmed at less than £36,000 including leased 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, sequential paddle shift transmission and data logging system. Information handed to prospective teams at the launch included a full cost breakdown of every chassis component, and confirmation that the championship registration fee will be set at £2500 with an £1100 per meeting entry fee to cover pre-race testing, 20 minutes of track time for qualifying and three 20-minute races at each of the 10 events.

The facts and figures and the lure of triple-header races on the BTCC support bill, complete with live TV, proved a more than conclusive set of attractions for Jack Butel, who is looking to develop his single-seater career following a season of competition in club-level Formula Renault: “The number of races will be double what I am doing this season and that is going to mean invaluable experience for me. I absolutely love the look of the new car and I am delighted to find that it’s quite spacious in the cockpit compared with what I am used to.”

Ollie Pidgley says he is thrilled at the prospect of his switch from saloons to single-seaters for 2015: “It’s going to be exciting for me, not least because I will be working with team coming into single-seaters and it will all be fresh to them also – we will be able to learn together. My reason for choosing MSA Formula is simple: as a young driver wanting to make a name for myself, I need as much exposure as I can get, and the live TV package on offer here is simply unbeatable.” Salisbury-based Ollie claimed a top-six finish in the club Clio championship this season.

The first 15 cars from Mygale’s French factory will be delivered to their new owners by the end of this year. The opening rounds of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost will take place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 4/5 April.