Piastri keeps title race alive with sublime sixth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of season

  • Poleman Piastri wins at Silverstone.
  • Championship rival Caroline follows him home in second.
  • Hoggard takes hard-fought maiden podium.
  • Caldwell secures Ford F4 Challenge Cup win, as Ericsson moves to top of Class standings.

17 SEPTEMBER, 2017 – TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri scored his sixth win of the campaign, ahead of rival Jamie Caroline at Silverstone to take the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight to the season finale at Brands Hatch in a fortnight.

From pole position Piastri was a man on a mission, determined to score maximum points and finish ahead of Caroline to keep his championship bid alive.

A flawless getaway saw him unchallenged into turn one, while Caroline ran around the outside of Alex Quinn and Hampus Ericsson in a similar fashion to his exquisite first corner heroics in the day’s earlier race.

It left the top two in the championship to battle it out at the front, but Piastri had the edge. He built and managed a gap back to Caroline to secure a comfortable victory, setting fastest lap on the way to the chequered flag.

“It’s special to win at Silverstone, the home of British Motor Racing and the Grand Prix,” said Piastri. “It’s a home race for the team with TRS Arden based about half an hour down the road in Banbury, so it’s great to get a win and two podiums this weekend.

“I did everything I could this weekend. It’s a shame Jamie finished right behind me in second which limited the amount of points I took out of his championship lead, but I’ve managed to take the title fight to the final meeting at Brands Hatch and anything can happen there.

“I saw Jamie got into second straight away and he’s always quick in the opening laps, but once I saw I was pulling away I was able to find a rhythm and it was quite easy out front.

“I then just concentrated on driving a clean and smooth race, avoiding any potential penalties for track limits.

“We saved our best tyres for this race with two new tyres available to us and we made a change to the car which definitely helped us. The car was great and that shows with our pace and recording the fastest lap.

“It’s going to be tough to get the drivers’ title, but I will give it my all. The same goes for the Teams’ Cup too. This win keeps us in contention and if I can get some more wins at Brands Hatch we might be able to steal it at the end.”

“We almost took the title this weekend, but couldn’t quite pull it off,” said Caroline. “We’re on the verge of getting it wrapped up now, but I’m taking nothing for granted. I’ve won all three races in one weekend this season and there is no reason why Oscar cannot do the same.

“Every time I have been to Brands Hatch for the final meeting of the season I have qualified on the front row and won races so we’ll see if we can do that again in two weeks.

“Overall this weekend could have gone a lot better, but it could have also gone a lot worse. We’ve got our eyes firmly on the prize.”

There was no shortage of drama at the start. Alex Quinn got the jump on front row starter Hampus Ericsson, but the Swede made contact with the rear of Quinn’s car, spectacularly propelling the front of Ericsson’s racer up the air. Ericsson clattered the tarmac with a thud, but remarkably was able to continue.

Despite finishing last and four laps down the Fortec Motorsports racer took third in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. It crucially puts him to the top of the Class standings, tied with Harry Webb on 315.5 points, but ahead courtesy of his eight Class victories.

Quinn eventually succumbed to damage half way through proceedings, but not before dicing with team-mate Ayrton Simmons which provided Patrik Pasma with the chance to bravely run around the outside of the pair of them.

After the opening exchanges Logan Sargeant found himself in third, but under pressure from Johnathan Hoggard, the duo battling wheel-to-wheel, lap after lap. Their squabble allowed Pasma and Oliver York to make it a four-way scrap for the final podium spot.

With Hoggard seeing Pasma and York advancing in his mirrors, the rookie made a brilliant move on Sargeant. Team-mate York followed suit, getting the run on Pasma and hanging around the outside of Sargeant to take fourth.

York then set about passing Hoggard in a captivating intra-team battle. The former eventually overcoming Hoggard’s resolute defence on lap 18 by running around the outside of him into Brooklands to earn himself the inside line for Luffield.

Losing momentum, Hoggard found himself under attack from Pasma. Contact resulted, but Hoggard was able to keep going and York was forced into the pits with a technical gremlin, promoting his team-mate back up to third.

“I wanted to put on a good show for everyone watching at home, live on television, and I think I did that,” said a beaming Hoggard.

“It was a tricky race in so many respects, but I still managed to get third. I got past Logan after quite a struggle and then I saw Oliver getting closer and closer in my mirrors.

“Then he eventually got past me. There was a bit of an incident with Pasma, but with how the penalties worked out things finally went my way.

“This is a result I can build on and gives me a lot of confidence. It’s a weight off my shoulders to get this first podium. I’ve had some bad results when I could have been right up there, but it’s come good today.”

Double R Raicng’s Linus Lundqvist put on a thrilling performance for the millions of viewers watching on television with ITV4’s live camera fitted to his car. The super Swede came from the back of the grid to finish an incredible fifth, passing team-mate Karl Massaad in the process. The latter ending up seventh behind Simmons.

Olli Caldwell broke Ericsson’s run of five consecutive Ford F4 Challenge Cup wins by finishing eighth overall after climbing several places. It was a welcome return to the top step for the TRS Arden driver, having last tasted victory at Snetterton in July.

“It’s really nice to be back on the top step of the podium, especially after the way the other two races went this weekend, as well as the weekend at Rockingham,” said Caldwell.

“We were running as high as fifth at one point and although I lost some places towards the end I still think this a really good result after such an eventful weekend.

“Staying mentally strong when things aren’t going your way is helped by having a great team around you and that’s what I’ve got at TRS Arden.

“I’ll have the advantage over my rivals in the Challenge Cup in two weeks because I don’t think any of them have raced around the Brands Hatch GP track and I have thanks to my experience in Ginettas last year.”

Sam Smelt delivered on his Friday practice promise by finishing in the top 10 for GW Motorsport, scoring points after a brilliant drive up the order from 16th.

Meanwhile Manuel Sulaiman doubled his tally for the weekend with another point score for JHR Developments. He denied Falcon Motorsport’s Lucca Allen his first point in British F4 by 0.053s on a weekend where the Irish rookie has shown a significant step forward in terms of pace.

Attention now turns to the season finale at Brands Hatch GP in a fortnight (30 September/1 October). Caroline will arrive with a 67.5 point lead in the standings and will only need a sixth place finish in Round 28 to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion. Meanwhile his Carlin squad can take the Teams’ Cup in the same race if TRS Arden fail to reduce their 103 point lead in the standings by 17 points.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 27 Silverstone, 17 September, 2017
21 laps / 34.44 miles
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 20m 10.018s / 102.49mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +3.751s
3 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +16.453s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +19.879s
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +20.016s
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +20.665s
7 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R +21.393s
8 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden +21.584s
9 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW +22.193s
10 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +26.745s etc.

Fastest lap: Oscar Piastri 57.163s / 103.31mph

Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Caldwell; 2 Allen; 3 Ericsson

Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 412 points; 2 Piastri 344.5; 3 Sargeant 326; 4 Quinn 280; 5 Lundqvist 259.5; 6 Simmons 234.5; 7 Oliver York 233.5; 8 Pasma 147.5; 9 Massaad 80; 10 Webb 68 etc.

Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
=1 Ericsson 315.5 points; =1 Webb 315.5; 3 York 298.5; 4 Caldwell 234; 5 Allen 174; 6 Monger 100

Full results