- Dream debut for Logan Sargaent who tops times for reigning champions Carlin.
- TRS Arden test several drivers who shone throughout, namely Australian karting ace Oscar Piastri.
- Double R make promising start to 2017 with Lundqvist and Massaad on the pace.
3 FEBRUARY, 2017 – The 2017 season of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford burst into life with its first official pre-season test at Oulton Park. A host of newcomers were eager to lay down a marker for the year ahead and prove they have what it takes to claim the most prestigious prize in UK single-seater racing. Karting prodigy Logan Sargaent made the biggest statement topping both sessions for Carlin, but he was pushed hard by some of motor racing’s most exciting young prospects.
Sargeant impressed in the morning, frequently found towards the top of the times, but he left it late to record his best of the session. A lap of 1m 23.857s coming just before the chequered flag. It was a time that could only be beaten by Sargaent himself. The American raised the bar in the afternoon with a 1m 23.762s to see out the remainder of the test as fastest.
There were a host of contenders for top spot though, with Australian karting ace Oscar Piastri leading the charge for TRS Arden as one of three drivers testing with Garry Horner’s crack squad. It was a hugely encouraging showing from the 15-year-old who caught the eye of many up and down the paddock. His time of 1m 23.930s proving to be the second quickest of the day, just under two tenths shy of Sargeant.
Carlin’s Patrik Pasma wound up third fastest with a lap of 1m 24.004s. The Finn quietly went about his test programme and looked assured behind the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.
Ayrton Simmons pushed hard out on track and a little too far in the morning, resulting in a trip to the tyre barrier. TRS Arden pulled off the necessary repairs in rapid time to give the 15-year-old valuable dry weather running before rain started to fall halfway through the second session. Despite an eventful day, fourth fastest for British F4’s 2016 Rookie class vice-champion was a positive showing after a lengthy winter break.
Yves Baltas also impressed for TRS Arden; eighth fastest and a wealth of experience gained in tricky conditions around the 2.2-mile Cheshire circuit. The American improved throughout the day recording his best time in the afternoon.
Recently announced Double R recruit Linus Lundqvist had an excellent test, shining in the first session and went into the lunch break with the third fastest time. The 17-year-old shaved a few hundredths off his best time in the afternoon to round off a promising day for the Woking outfit.
The positivity in the Double R camp was enhanced further by Karl Massaad. The karting champion from Lebanon completed 99 laps, more than any other driver, on his way to eighth fastest. Both he and Lundqvist keeping their cars out of the barriers for the duration. No mean feat in tricky conditions and when still learning about the Ford EcoBoost-powered machines at their disposal.
Ahead of Massaad on the time sheets could be found the familiar name of Jamie Caroline. One of British F4’s many star drivers during 2016; the race winner got a taste of what it’s like to run with the reigning champion team, putting in a solid morning’s work for Carlin.
Rookie Lucas Roy, who had signed with Carlin one day prior to the test, set about getting to grips with the 160 horsepower beneath him, as opposed to just the one which he has been used to in the sport of dressage.
Elsewhere, Lucca Allen was another improver as the day progressed for Falcon Motorsport. The Irish youngster looked increasingly comfortable behind the wheel. It was a welcome sight to see Nick Streatfield’s Falcon Motorsport team back on the track in British F4 doing what they do best; nurturing young talent.
Jamie Sharp’s off at the very beginning of the test brought a premature end to his running in the first session, but new team Sharp Motorsport worked their magic to get him back out in the afternoon. Rain meant leaving Oulton Park wondering what kind of time Sharp could have set in the dry, but a consistent long run in wet conditions suggests the 15-year-old has all the ingredients to succeed in 2017.
Attention now turns to Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit on Thursday 16 February, 2017. With the field already looking very evenly matched and numerous drivers yet to be announced by the F4 British Championship’s array top motor racing teams, there will be no shortage of intrigue to see who will set the pace in the second test of 2017.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford
Testing times Oulton Park 4 February 2017 (Session 1 / Session 2)
1 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 1:23.857 / 1:23.762
2 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:23.930 / 1:24.116
3 Partik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:24.004 / 1:24.690
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:24.564 / 1:24.205
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:24.398 / 1:24.354
6 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:24.617 / No time set
7 Karl MASSAAD / LBN / Double R 1:24.751 / 1:24.919
8 Yves BALTAS / USA / Arden 1:25.217 / 1:24.928
9 Lucas ROY / GER / Carlin 1:27.341 / 1:26.989
10 Lucca ALLEN / IRL / Falcon 1:27.950 / 1:27.868
11 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp No time set / 1:39.536