Preview: Thruxton sets the scene for 2021 season opener

  • International grid of rising stars set to kick off another action-packed, 30-race calendar at high-speed Hampshire circuit.
  • Series marks first weekend under revised format, including full reverse grid for Round 2, as well as introduction of Motul Fastest Lap Award.
  • 17 drivers across six of Europe’s premier single seater teams set to battle it out for coveted crown.
  • Action to be broadcast live and free-to-air on ITV4 in the UK.
Thruxton always provides a spectacle in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, and this weekend’s season opener (8-9 May) will be no different as the latest generation of rising stars return to action.

It might be Britain’s version of the FIA Formula 4 concept, but once again the 2021 grid reflects not only the very best in emerging talent from all corners of the globe, but also promises another highly competitive campaign.

And where better to kickstart another 10-event, 30-race calendar at all of the UK’s most iconic and challenging venues than the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire, scene of many classic moments in recent seasons? Let’s meet the grid…

On the starting grid for another action-packed year…

Fresh from a maiden title in 2020’s pandemic-hit season, Fortec boasts an enviable three-car line-up in defence of its crown.

Swedish talent Joel Granfors was dominant in both single seaters and closed wheel competition last year, and he’ll be joined in the Daventry-based team’s awning by world karting champion Oliver Gray.

Local hero James Hedley also returns for a shot at the championship in his sophomore year and could be one to watch this weekend; avid followers will remember his dominant hat-trick of wins at Thruxton last season…

Two teams boast capacity four-car line-ups; reigning Teams Cup winners Carlin will field newcomers Dougie Bolger, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Kai Askey, whilst Roman Bilinski switches across from Arden for his second shot at the title.

Abbi Pulling will spearhead JHR’s challenge and is joined by Fiesta Junior champion Joseph Loake, as well as two graduates from karting in McKenzy Cresswell and Matthew Rees.

Another karting graduate, Thomas Ikin, will be aiming for Rookie honours – in which half of the grid are eligible to contest – and is partnered at Arden by Zak Taylor, who steps across from Ginetta Juniors.

Matias Zagazeta is the other returnee in the field, the Peruvian aiming to build on Argenti’s race-winning debut season alongside Marcos Flack and Eduardo Coseteng.

Richardson Racing are back, with a fresh new livery and Ginetta talent Georgi Dimitrov to mark their return to single seaters. Dimitrov won twice on his debut weekend car racing last August, so there’s precedent there for a fast start.

Each of these drivers will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Ford-powered stars before them. The race is on!

New rules set to shake up the status quo…

The season-opener at Thruxton also marks the first outing for the series’ revised format in the first major shake-up since its inception back in 2015.

The second race at each event will now feature a fully reversed grid based on driver’s quickest times from qualifying, rather than 50% of the classified finishers from race one under the previous system.

Points for the reverse grid race under the new format will be awarded down to eighth place on a sliding scale (15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1).

Races one and three – the grids for which are formed based on a driver’s fastest and second-fastest times in qualifying – will retain the same FIA points system as before.

In addition to this, drivers will now compete for the coveted Motul Fastest Lap Award, which brings with it an additional point in all three races of each weekend for the driver who sets the fastest lap in each.

No fans back (yet), but plenty of live ITV4 action to digest…

Whilst the current government guidelines mean it’ll still be empty grandstands for the opening event of the season, British F4 will once again be aired live and free-to-air in the UK on ITV4 alongside the BTCC.

Avid followers can catch both Rounds 2 & 3 live on the platform, with highlights to be broadcast post-event as part of the channel’s Motorsport UK series.