Piastri powers to the top in British F4 test

  • Oscar Piastri and Jamie Caroline shine in second official pre-season test.
  • Top seven drivers covered by just over two tenths of a second.

16 FEBRUARY, 2017 – A drying Brands Hatch Indy circuit provided the stage for an entertaining second official pre-season test for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. As track conditions improved, times tumbled with numerous drivers taking turns at the top. TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri took the main testing honours, but with the seven quickest drivers covered by just over two tenths of a second there was an intriguing battle for supremacy.

Piastri caught everyone’s attention after his testing performance at Oulton Park earlier this month and he followed up with a similarly impressive display at Brands Hatch. The Aussie was rapid in all conditions, his best lap of 46.030s coming in the afternoon when conditions were at their best. It was enough to ensure he saw out the remainder of the test as quickest driver. The time was just two tenths shy of the 2016 pole lap.

Jamie Caroline got another taste of working with reigning champion squad Carlin. Brands Hatch has happy memories for Caroline, having been the scene of his maiden victory in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series last season, albeit around the Grand Prix circuit. His affinity with the track shone through. Fastest in the first session, further improving in the afternoon with his best of the day (46.080s) putting him just half a tenth off Piastri.

Fortec Motorsports ran two drivers. Oliver York fared better than Matthew Hoggard. Third fastest overall for York and the highest tally of laps of any driver (221 in total) the highlights of a very productive day. Hoggard had limited running in the afternoon and the best of the conditions, suggesting there is more pace up his sleeve.

Oulton Park test pacesetter Logan Sargeant put in another assured performance for Carlin. Fourth fastest in both sessions and just over a tenth away from quickest overall. His team-mate Patrik Pasma ended the day sixth fastest and the biggest improver; the Carlin drivers sandwiching TRS Arden’s Ayrton Simmons who wound up fifth on the timesheets.

Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist and TRS Arden’s Yves Baltas impressed yet again ending up seventh and eighth fastest respectively. Baltas pumping in some excellent laps before the lunch break to end the first session as second quickest driver.

Harry Webb and Richardson Racing proved to be something of a surprise package, particularly in the first session when conditions were trickier. The 19-year-old revelled in the car on a damp track, mixing it at the top and proving that a Webb-Richardson combination could be a potent force should they strike a deal for the 2017 British F4 season.

Karl Massaad was another driver who appeared to enjoy the trickier first session, finishing just outside the top 10 as the test came to its conclusion. The Lebanese karting champion has been announced as Double R’s second 2017 British F4 signing and looks to be an exciting prospect for this year’s campaign.

Ahead of Hoggard in the timesheets could be found Zhuo Cao (Double R Racing), Lucas Roy (Carlin) and Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport). The latter finally got a chance to get some meaningful dry running before the lunch break, running inside the top 10, but his momentum came to an abrupt halt just as the chequered flag was shown to end the first session. A visit to the barrier enough to put an end to 15-year-old’s test.

Ford F4 Challenge Cup entrant Lucca Allen put together a strong day behind the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer for Falcon Motorsport. The Irish karting champion ended up just over a second off the fastest time.

Fellow Challenge Cup entrant Olli Caldwell made a fantastic official testing debut for TRS Arden. He was often found towards the top of the times in both wet and dry conditions, finishing the day inside the top 10.

Jacky Liu and GW Motorsport completed a comprehensive testing programme, gathering a wealth of data. Although there was no official timing information for Liu, team owner Gary Ward was thrilled with his driver who recorded a best of 47.778s on used tyres late in the afternoon.

The next official pre-season test will take place at Donington Park during the Media Day for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford on 6 March, 2017. For more details about the Media Day email championship press officer Alex Battipaglia.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Testing times Brands Hatch Indy 16 February 2017 (Session 1/Session 2)
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 46.610s / 46.030s
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 46.565s / 46.080s
3 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 47.112s / 46.133s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 46.632s / 46.179s
5 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 46.696s / 46.208s
6 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 53.535s / 46.234s
7 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 46.870s / 46.278s
8 Yves BALTAS / USA / Arden 46.603s / 46.509s
9 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden 47.524s / 46.584s
10 Harry WEBB / GBR / Richardson 47.084s / 46.685s
11 Karl MASSAAD / LBN / Double R 47.364s / 46.864s
12 Lucca ALLEN / IRL / Falcon 47.888s / 47.219s
13 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp 47.267s / No time set
14 Lucas ROY / GER / Carlin 48.688s / 47.304s
15 Zhuo CAO / CHN / Double R Racing 49.875s / 48.039s
16 Matthew HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 51.590s / 48.072s

Full times