The 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost yet again underlined the strength of Ford’s winning formula with another action-packed campaign courtesy of the latest crop of rising stars.
Thirty races played out across ten events on the high-profile British Touring Car Championship support package to a capacity trackside audience and millions more through ITV’s live, free-to-air television coverage, with the ‘Green Arrow’ – Kiern Jewiss – seizing the opportunity to claim the title of FIA British Formula 4 Champion.
The triumph – also Double R Racing’s first in the category – was boosted by five race victories for Jewiss in as many meetings before the summer break, and a consistent, mature approach to maintain his advantage thereafter as he amassed 445 points – a record for a single season.
It also leaves the BRDC Rising Star with 12 vital FIA Super License Points – more than the equivalent success in any domestic F3 series – as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Lando Norris and use British F4 as the start of a journey to Formula 1.
Though chief title rival Ayrton Simmons would strike first blood with a brace of wins at the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser, Jewiss’ first victory in Britain’s FIA-sanctioned F4 series – a superlative drive through the field – followed soon after at Donington Park and ignited a fierce, season-long battle between the pair and another returnee, Fortec’s Johnathan Hoggard.
Two wins at Thruxton and further visits to the top step of the rostrum at Oulton Park and Croft paved the way for Jewiss’ success, but a late-season charge from Hoggard – in which he won 6 of the final 12 races – rewarded him with third overall behind Simmons and Jewiss.
Hoggard’s speed was also underlined with five pole positions – the most for any driver – but ultimately a mid-season run of 13 races without silverware proved crucial in the battle for the honours.
Sixth position in the opening race at the Brands Hatch GP finale proved enough for Jewiss, who would record a sixth win of the season later that weekend to round out a fantastic campaign in style.
All in all, eight drivers enjoyed a trip to the Winner’s Circle across the campaign, including Dennis Hauger and Jack Doohan, two Arden-run Red Bull Junior Team racers who provided a thrilling scrap for the coveted Rookie Cup title.
Just a single point split the pair in the overall standings at the end of the season, and a mere 15 divided them in the Rookie class, sharing 20 of the 30 victories between themselves.
They largely dominated the top step of the rostrum in the middle of the campaign, with Doohan’s breakthrough success in the finale at Thruxton setting the trend before victories for Hauger at Oulton Park and Croft, then both shared the spotlight at Snetterton.
Several podium finishes eventually gave way to victories for “Flying Finns” Patrik Pasma and Paavo Tonteri, whilst Sebastian Priaulx bookended a positive start to life in single-seaters with a win apiece on each Brands Hatch circuit layout, and claimed six podium finishes besides.
JHR Developments’ Manuel Sulaimán was an ever-present in the top ten across the campaign but couldn’t build on his breakthrough podium in 2017, whilst new team mate Josh Skelton laid the foundations for future success, including a Rookie Cup triumph at Rockingham, and rounded out the top ten in the points.
A mere 25 points – equivalent to a single race win – split the drivers occupying 11th to 14th overall, with Hampus Ericsson eventually emerging ahead of promising rookie Sebastian Alvarez, the ever-improving Jamie Sharp and Lucca Allen.
2019 already promises to be an equally-successful 52nd year at the forefront of junior single seater racing for Ford, with returning entries Carlin and Richardson Racing set to return alongside the usual suspects to produce another captivating season of wheel-to-wheel action.