Luke Browning impressed after first runs in British F4 car

  • Multiple Ginetta Junior race-winner left impressed after first runs in Ford EcoBoost-powered British F4 machinery.
  • Richardson Racing gets pre-season programme underway in mixed conditions with the 16-year old at Donington Park.
  • More announcements set to follow as grid for another action-packed, thirty-race calendar starts to form.

Luke Browning was left impressed after his maiden run in an F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost car with Richardson Racing last week.

The 16-year old kicked off preparations for his maiden campaign in Britain’s FIA-sanctioned F4 series at Donington Park, getting a flavour for his new 1.6 litre, Ford EcoBoost-powered machine in both wet and dry conditions over the course of the day.

Browning, who took eight victories and a further ten podium finishes en route to third overall in the Ginetta Junior Championship – again with Richardson – this past season, also believes the team have made a head start on their pre-season testing programme.

“It’s been brilliant and was totally different to anything I’ve driven before,” explained Browning.

“The team has done a great job to help me acclimatise to the car and I can’t thank them enough for that.

“The first half of the day in the dry, I was able to get into the groove and then I think we showed some good pace in the afternoon when it was wet.

“I’ve certainly ticked something off my bucket list today and I think we achieved more than we were aiming to for my first day in the car. The focus was to simply get some track time but we were able to go beyond that, and it’s a really positive start to pre-season for us.”

Fellow Ginetta race-winner Fin Green is the other driver currently confirmed for 2019 in the first returning Carlin entry, as both look to emulate three of the four existing British F4 Champions – Lando Norris, Jamie Caroline and Kiern Jewiss – in stepping across into Ford’s winning formula and kickstarting their single-seater careers.

Several more announcements are set to take place in the coming weeks as the grid for another ten-event, thirty-race season promising plenty of thrills and wheel-to-wheel action starts to form.

The 2019 campaign will get things underway at Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit over the weekend of 6th-7th April.

CROFT PREVIEW: Form man Jewiss the one to beat

21 JUNE, 2018 – It’s all change at the top of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost heading to Croft this weekend (23/24 June). Kiern Jewiss is now the man leading the chase for the UK’s most coveted single-seater title, having wrestled top spot away from Ayrton Simmons at Oulton Park thanks to his fourth win of the season and two further podiums.

Jewiss arrives with the best recent form of any driver. His team, Double R Racing, also has an excellent record at Croft and holds the lap record at the North Yorkshire track.

A difficult qualifying put Simmons on the back foot a fortnight ago. However, he took his opportunities well around a circuit that’s notoriously hard to overtake on, namely winning the reverse grid race. The JHR Developments ace will be further buoyed by his pacesetting performance in a two day test at Croft several weeks ago.

The other driver to shine in that test was Jack Doohan. The Arden racer came into it full of confidence after clinching his maiden single-seater win at Thruxton and topped day two of proceedings. His team-mate and fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Dennis Hauger also arrives on the up having taken his maiden win. A just reward for a driver who had come within touching distance of victory on several prior occasions.

Flying Finns Paavo Tonteri (Double R Racing) and Patrik Pasma (Arden) are separated in the standings by just two points. There was little to choose between them throughout the Oulton Park meeting. The pair could frequently be found duelling on track. Expect more of the same as they hunt for their first wins in the series.

Johnathan Hoggard endured another frustrating weekend last time out and will want to recapture the winning feeling he had back in April at Donington Park. Meanwhile, Fortec Motorsports team-mate Hampus Ericsson showed signs that he has turned a corner this season and is returning to the front-running level he reached towards the end of 2017.

Josh Skelton’s excellent run of consecutive points scores came to an end at Oulton Park, but he responded well to get back into the top 10 in the final race of the weekend and will look to build on that. Elsewhere, JHR Developments team-mate Manuel Sulaiman arguably had his best weekend of the season so far with three top 10 finishes.

Sebastian Priaulx (Arden) and Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) endured a torrid time at Oulton Park and will want to turn things around to head into the summer break on a high. Lucca Allen (Fortec Motorsports) and Sebastian Alvarez (Double R Racing) will also hope for more after battling well throughout the last meeting, but only coming away with a point each for their efforts.

OULTON PARK PREVIEW: Simmons still on top with Jewiss in hot pursuit

7 JUNE, 2018 – Three podiums three weeks ago ensured that Ayrton Simmons would lead the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost heading to Oulton Park this weekend (9/10 June). The JHR Developments driver has made seven out of a possible nine trips to the rostrum this season and continues to lead the chase for the most coveted title in UK junior single-seater racing.

It is a lead that has diminished however, with the advancing Kiern Jewiss looking increasingly at home behind the wheel of his Double R-prepared racer. Three wins in the last five races and outscoring Simmons in all but one of them means the 15-year-old has clawed his way to within touching distance of Simmons. The pair separated by just five points.

Jack Doohan turned heartbreak into jubilation at Thruxton. Victory slipped through his fingers on the final lap of round eight due to a technical glitch, but he bounced back emphatically to win the final race of the weekend and with it the £5,000 Ford Super Rookie Award. The Aussie also extended his lead at the top of the Rookie class standings over fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Dennis Hauger, who signed off from the meeting with an overall podium.

Hauger deserved much more, especially with victory looking likely until the last lap of round seven. Arden team-mate Sebastian Priaulx had a similarly luckless weekend, salvaging three top-10 finishes, while Patrik Pasma bagged plenty of points.

Fortec Motorsports’ Johnathan Hoggard, Hampus Ericsson and Lucca Allen also endured an unfortunate outing and will want to recapture the form which saw the team score two victories at Donington Park thanks to some superb driving from Hoggard.

Mexico’s Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments) and Sebastian Alvarez achieved their highest-placed finishes of the season so far at Thruxton and are on the up. Meanwhile, Alvarez’s Double R team-mate Paavo Tonteri looks to be going from strength to strength on the back of two more podiums at Thruxton.

Rochdale’s Jamie Sharp and Sharp Motorsport will be aiming for a consistent run of top-10 finishes this weekend at their home round of the season. It is something which Josh Skelton (JHR Developments) is becoming particularly accustomed to now that he is on a run of five consecutive points scores.

2018 British F4 season preview: Ford’s winning formula continues

5 APRIL, 2018 – The winning formula continues for the 2018 instalment of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, with the season getting underway at Brands Hatch this weekend.

2017 saw a rich crop of talent provide an abundance of scintillating wheel-to-wheel action in what was Ford’s 50th consecutive year at the forefront of junior single-seaters. Records were broken, boundaries of performance pushed and the bar raised even higher in the only single-seater series in Britain open to 15-year-old drivers.

This year British F4 boasts another top-quality field. It is headed by a four-car entry from Arden which includes the Red Bull Junior Team duo of Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger. Doohan, son of five-time 500cc MotoGP world champion and motorcycle legend Mick Doohan, is looking to add more silverware to the family trophy cabinet and Norwegian karting talent Hauger has been rapid in pre-season, topping two official tests.

Flying Finn and podium finisher Patrik Pasma is back for 2018; while the case of “like father, like son” goes even further at Arden as Sebastian Priaulx, son of triple World Touring Car Champion and Ford GT driver Andy Priaulx, embarks upon his maiden single-seater season. Priaulx’s record speaks for itself, having most recently been crowned Ginetta Junior vice-champion with 13 podiums, including seven victories.

Another who has a name synonymous with motor racing is that of Hampus Ericsson, younger brother of F1 driver Marcus. The Fortec Motorsports ace had a stellar rookie season which saw him win the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. Johnathan Hoggard contested a handful of meetings last year and has been flying throughout winter testing. Meanwhile Lucca Allen is no stranger to the series after taking 10 Challenge Cup podiums.

JHR Developments aren’t short of experience either with Manuel Sulaimán and Ayrton Simmons returning. The pair have starred on the podium and the latter tasted victory at Brands Hatch in 2017. They should be major players alongside European karting star Josh Skelton.

Jamie Sharp and Sharp Motorsport also return. 2017 was a learning year, but that didn’t stop Sharp from showing flashes of brilliance on the way to many top-10 finishes.

Priaulx isn’t the only Ginetta Junior driver making the step up to British F4 this year. Rookie champion Kiern Jewiss is targeting the title with Double R Racing. If his pre-season testing performances are anything to go by, he’s sure to be in with a shout having topped the first official pre-season test and been on front-running pace ever since.

Paavo Tonteri and Sebastian Alvarez complete Double R’s line-up. Both are from the Infinity Sports Management stable which guided Max Fewtrell to the 2016 title and both have enviable international karting records.

Return of the Rookie
This year sees the return of the Rookie Cup in place of the Challenge Cup. Drivers who have no previous car racing experience – Alvarez, Doohan, Hauger, Skelton and Tonteri – will have even more to fight for in 2018 as they will be eligible for the Rookie Cup, along with the chance to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion.

As was the case in 2015 and 2016 when Enaam Ahmed and Alex Quinn took the respective Rookie titles, entry to the Rookie Cup does not bring with it any limits on testing mileage for drivers and the winner will receive free entry to the 2019 F4 British Championship.

The Ford Super Rookie Award is also up for grabs – the first Rookie Cup entrant to win a race overall will take home £5,000. Meanwhile the Ford Triple Crown Award is open to all drivers competing in the F4 British Championship and will see the first driver to win all three races in a meeting awarded £10,000.

Experience the thrill of driving in British F4
The British F4 Virtual Reality Experience went down a storm in 2017. The great news is that it’s back for 2018, giving fans the chance to experience what it’s like to be a British F4 driver and immerse themselves in the world of motor racing like never before. The British F4 Virtual Reality Experience Zone will be located at the Ford Race Centre in the support paddock throughout the season.

Never miss the action
The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford EcoBoost will again comprise 30 races across 10 events at the UK’s premier race circuits as the sole single-seater support series for the ever-popular British Touring Car Championship. British F4 will play a starring role in front of hundreds of thousands of trackside spectators and millions more watching live and free-to-air on ITV4, ITV Hub and online at itv.com alongside extensive highlights programmes.

Hauger and Arden on top again in British F4 testing

  • Red Bull Junior Team driver Dennis Hauger quickest in Norfolk for Arden.
  • Fortec Motorsports’ Johnathan Hoggard proves Hauger’s closest challenger.

21 MARCH, 2018 – Arden’s Dennis Hauger picked up where he left off by setting the pace in official pre-season testing for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Snetterton today, having topped the times in the test at Rockingham last week.

Similarly to the Rockingham test, it was Fortec Motorsports’ Johnathan Hoggard who was Hauger’s closest challenger. The two drivers traded blows at the top of the times for much of the day.

Hoggard proved the quicker of the two in the afternoon session with a 1m 52.228s lap, but it was not enough to beat Hauger’s lap of 1m 52.074s which was set by the Norwegian in the morning.

Hauger’s Arden team-mate and fellow Red Bull Junior Jack Doohan joined the front-running party too. A lap of 1m 52.308s over half a second quicker than his morning’s best and enough to see the Aussie go third on the combined timesheet.

Patrik Pasma and Sebastian Priaulx ensured all of Arden’s runners broke the 1m 53s barrier around the 3-mile Norfolk circuit, ending up fifth and sixth respectively.

Ayrton Simmons was the quickest JHR Developments driver, occupying fourth on the timesheet having recorded a lap half a second faster than team-mate Manuel Sulaiman.

Behind Sulaiman could be found the Fortec Motorsports duo of Hampus Ericsson and Lucca Allen with Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) in 10th.

The start of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost is now just weeks away, with the season opener set to take place at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Testing times Snetterton, 21 March, 2018 (am/pm)
1 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 1:52.074 / 1:52.309
2 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 1:52.490 / 1:52.228
3 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 1:52.863 / 1:52.308
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 1:53.471 / 1:52.624
5 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 1:52.697 / 1:52.971
6 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 1:53.037 / 1:52.702
7 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR 1:53.546 / 1:53.161
8 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 1:53.339 / 1:53.351
9 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec 1:55.970 / 1:54.393
10 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp 1:56.227 / 1:54.994

Full times

British F4 race winner Ayrton Simmons returns with JHR Developments

19 MARCH, 2018 – 16-year-old British F4 race winner Ayrton Simmons-Fernandez will return to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost for his second full season in the series with JHR Developments.

Simmons who won at Brands Hatch last year, is targeting the title as he joins Steven Hunter’s squad for 2018. He will be joined at the team by JHR returnee Manuel Sulaimán and newcomer Josh Skelton.

“When we were given the opportunity to join JHR Developments for 2018 it was a no brainer,” explained Simmons. “I have seen how professionally they operate over the last couple of years.

“We will have a limited testing plan due to my other commitments, but we all feel that I can have a genuine shot at the championship.

“Having Manuel Sulaimán as a team mate is great news as we are both native Spanish speakers and good friends away from the track.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my outstanding sponsors DWS, ELEV8 and Couper Earnshaw for their support. They are all as excited as me to be part of the JHR family.”

Said JHR Developments team principal Steven Hunter: “We have followed Ayrton’s progress with interest as he is an incredibly talented young driver. This will be his second full season in British F4 and we feel he has an excellent chance of fighting for the title.

“We have finished runner-up and third in the championship with drivers in the past and with the team we have assembled we are sure we have a great chance to fight for outright championship honours in 2018.”

European karting star Josh Skelton joins British F4

19 MARCH, 2018 – 17-year-old European karting star Josh Skelton from Dearham, Cumbria is the latest driver is to enter the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost as part of a stellar line up at JHR Developments.

The European Rotax Max and British Super One driver is targeting rookie honours in his first season of car racing. Said Skelton: “I am delighted to join JHR Developments for 2018. They have an incredible record of getting the best from young drivers and helping them achieve a high level of success.

“I know that Ayrton, Manuel and I will work well together and I hope to repay the faith placed in me by my sponsors Alpine Stars, Skelton Joinery and BJ Human Performance by bringing home some great results.”

Added JHR Developments team principal Steven Hunter: “We are absolutely delighted to attract such a talented driver in the form of Josh. It is a real coup for the team. Whilst he will be a rookie and need to learn the circuits, he has already shown us that he has an exceptional ability to learn quickly. We fully expect him to be at the sharp end of the grid soon.”

The 2018 F4 British Championship campaign gets underway at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 7/8 of April before moving on to Donington Park on 28/29 April.

Mexican star Manuel Sulaimán targeting more success in British F4

18 MARCH, 2018 – Manuel Sulaimán from Puebla, Mexico will return to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost in 2018 to contest the entire campaign with JHR Developments and will be backed by the prestigious All Road Management team.

Sulaimán only competed in selected rounds in 2017 due to commitments in Mexico, yet even with his limited test and race schedule he managed to gain podium success in 2017 at Brands Hatch and is aiming for more of the same this year.

Recently signed to All Road Management, Sulaimán is looking forward to a successful 2018 season: “I am delighted to return to race in the F4 British Championship,” he said.

“It is the toughest F4 championship in the world to win given the quality of the drivers that compete in it. It’s where you want to be racing because battling with the best talent makes you raise your game.

“To be able to contest the season with JHR Developments again is brilliant. They know how to fight for the top positions having finished runner-up and third in the overall standings in the past. Their determination to win is incredible.”

JHR Developments team principal Steve Hunter added: “It is fantastic to have Manuel return with us for a full championship campaign.

“It will enable him to build on the success attained at the end of last year and there is no doubt in my mind that Manuel will be at the front of the grid all year. He has his sights set on bringing home a lot of silverware.”

The 2018 F4 British Championship gets underway at Brands Hatch in Kent over the weekend of 7/8 April, before moving on to Donington Park and Thruxton.

Simmons, Sulaimán and Skelton set sights on Ford EcoBoost-powered success with JHR Developments

16 MARCH, 2018 – JHR Developments have confirmed a trio of talented teenagers will contest the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost with the squad. British F4 race winner Ayrton Simmons joins Steven Hunter’s outfit for his second full season in the series, alongside Manuel Sulaimán and Josh Skelton.

Simmons burst onto the single-seater scene partway through the 2016 campaign and capped it off with a superb podium in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. The circuit has been a happy hunting ground for the Epping based racer. It was the location of his breakthrough maiden victory at the start of the 2017 season, in a year which would see him go on to finish seventh in the standings with a further five podiums to his name.

In 2018 Simmons is looking to make plenty more visits to the top step of the podium in his bid for the UK’s most coveted single-seater title.

“When we were given the opportunity to join JHR Developments for 2018 it was a no brainer,” explained Simmons. “I have seen how professionally they operate over the last couple of years.

“We will have a limited testing plan due to my other commitments, but we all feel that I can have a genuine shot at the championship.

“Having Manuel Sulaimán as a team mate is great news as we are both native Spanish speakers and good friends away from the track.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my outstanding sponsors DWS, ELEV8 and Couper Earnshaw for their support. They are all as excited as me to be part of the JHR family.”

Manuel Sulaimán from Puebla, Mexico returns to the F4 British Championship in 2018 for a full season, having dovetailed commitments in the sister Mexican F4 series last year.

The 16-year-old starred on the podium in 2017 and is hoping for more of the same in 2018. Having recently been signed to the highly regarded management team All Road Management, Sulaimán is looking forward to proving himself against the best junior single-seater talent.

“I am delighted to return to race in the F4 British Championship,” said Sulaimán. “It is the toughest F4 championship in the world to win given the quality of the drivers that compete in it. It’s where you want to be racing because battling with the best talent makes you raise your game.

“To be able to contest the season with JHR Developments again is brilliant. They know how to fight for the top positions having finished runner-up and third in the overall standings in the past. Their determination to win is incredible.”

Josh Skelton from Dearham, Cumbria completes JHR Developments’ stellar line-up. The 17-year-old arrives on the back of a wealth of karting success in European Rotax Max and British Super One.

“I am thrilled to join JHR Developments for 2018,” said Skelton. “They have such an incredible record of getting the best from young drivers and helping them to achieve high levels of success.

“I know that Ayrton, Manuel and I will work well together and I hope to repay the faith placed in me by my sponsors Alpine Stars, Skelton Joinery and BJ Human Performance by bringing home some great results.”

Said JHR Developments team principal Steven Hunter following his raft of driver announcements: “We have followed Ayrton’s progress with interest as he is an incredibly talented young driver. This will be his second full season in British F4 and we feel he has an excellent chance of fighting for the title.

“It is fantastic to have Manuel return with us for a full championship campaign. It will enable him to build on the success attained at the end of last year and there is no doubt in my mind that Manuel will be at the front of the grid all year.

“Finally, attracting such a talented driver in the form of Josh is a real coup for the team.  Whilst he will be a rookie and need to learn the circuits, he has already shown us that he has an exceptional ability to learn quickly. We fully expect him to be at the sharp end of the grid soon.”

Hauger and Arden lead the way on Rockingham test day

  • Hauger and Hoggard share testing spoils.
  • Ginetta Junior graduates Jewiss and Priaulx continue to impress.

14 MARCH, 2018 – Dennis Hauger set the quickest time in yesterday’s official pre-season test for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

14-year-old Hauger completed a superb testing performance around the 1.94-mile Northamptonshire circuit for Arden, climbing to the top of the times with a 1m 18.547s lap with less than an hour of the test remaining.

It put the Red Bull Junior Team driver 0.044s clear of morning pacesetter Johnathan Hoggard, who pumped in a time of 1m 18.591s just before the lunch break.

“Today has been a really good,” said Hauger. “I really enjoy driving around this circuit and I’m looking forward to coming back here to race in August.

“To set the fastest lap was fantastic, especially now there is not long until the first race. We only have one more test before the start of the season so it’s great to see that the pace is there.

“We have worked very hard to find a setup that enables us to produce consistently quick lap times, while looking after the tyres. I think we have found it and that’s going to prove so important for the races.

“This is only my first year racing in cars so to have test days like today when there are a mix of track conditions really helps with the learning process. The track started off quite wet and then dried out. That gives you the chance to improve your understanding of how the car behaves in different conditions.”

Said morning pacesetter Hoggard: “It’s been a really positive test for us with P1 in the morning and top three in afternoon.

“Compared to last year I’ve had a lot more time to prepare and really focus on what I’m doing. Everything feels more natural. There is still room for improvement, but I’ve come a long way since last season and I’m feeling much stronger.

“There’s some more work we need to do back at base and on the simulator to be completely ready, but we’ll get there in time for the start of the season.

“The winter break was a great opportunity to recharge the batteries, but it’s brilliant to be back behind the wheel on days like today to showcase the excellent pace we have.”

It was another impressive showing from Kiern Jewiss who arrived having set the pace in the first official pre-season test at Brands Hatch last month. The Double R driver finished second quickest in both the morning and afternoon sessions. His best lap of 1m 18.758s came in the afternoon and was just over two tenths shy of Hauger.

Behind Jewiss on the timesheet could be found fellow Ginetta Junior graduate Sebastian Priaulx (Arden) who completed the leading quartet of drivers capable of breaking the 1m 19s barrier.

2017 Ford F4 Challenge Cup champion Hampus Ericsson looked assured out on track, completing a comprehensive programme for Fortec Motorsports and improved upon his morning’s best time by over half a second in the afternoon.

The experienced Ayrton Simmons (JHR Developments) came to the fore when conditions were at their most difficult during the initial morning’s running. It saw the field having to contend with a very damp circuit and called for the use of Hankook’s wet tyres. A solid day’s work followed for the British F4 race winner on the way to sixth in the combined classification.

Patrik Pasma and Jack Doohan ensured that all four Arden-prepared cars were inside the top 10. The latter completing a mammoth 133 laps – more than any other driver.

The Double R duo of Paavo Tonteri and Sebastian Alvarez sandwiched 10th place man Lucca Allen on the combined classification. Allen finding plenty of room for improvement between the two sessions, much like team-mate Ericsson.

Manuel Sulaiman and Jamie Sharp completed less laps than they would have liked. Their running was limited due to an off and a technical gremlin respectively, while Sulaiman’s JHR Developments team-mate Josh Skelton wound up 14th.

Ford’s young stars are back in action in just seven days, with the next official pre-season test taking place at Snetterton on Wednesday 21 March. All roads then lead to the season opener at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April.

Testing times Rockingham, 13 March, 2018 (am/pm)
1 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 1:18.976 / 1:18.547
2 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 1:18.591 / 1:18.776
3 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R 1:18.862 / 1:18.758
4 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 1:19.063 / 1:18.953
5 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 1:19.694 / 1:19.089
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 1:19.217 / 1:19.098
7 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 1:19.337 / 1:19.239
8 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 1:19.267 / 1:19.269
9 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R 1:19.330 / 1:19.310
10 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec 1:20.137 / 1:19.383 etc.

Full times