Williams’ Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley looks to British F4 for Formula 1’s next generation

18 JANUARY, 2017 – Williams’ Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley spent time with the F4 British Championship on the MSA stand at the Autosport International show, to see where Formula 1’s next generation of drivers and engineers are coming from.

Early in his career Smedley gained valuable experience in the BTCC; the championship which British F4 is the sole single-seater support series for on the live-televised TOCA package.

The man from Middlesbrough who has risen through the ranks with successful spells at Stewart Grand Prix, Jordan Grand Prix and Scuderia Ferrari enthused about the talent emerging from the UK’s most competitive single-seater championship: “Williams is always looking for talent, both driving and engineering, throughout the spectrum of the lower formula.

“We look at British F4 for these talents. As far as we are concerned, the earlier we can get them on our books the better.

“The fact that British F4 has OEM backing gives it added credibility. Having any blue-chip company involved definitely helps in this respect.

“The British F4 cars are great. They are well engineered and ideal for young drivers to cut their teeth in.”

The F4 British Championship is the UK’s official FIA F4 series and Smedley paid testament to the opportunities for development it provides: “At this level of motorsport British F4 is the best when you consider the costs involved and what drivers are going to get out of competing in the championship.

“British F4 allows them to hone their race skills. It gives them the chance to learn about both engineering and driving, and this works really well.”

Rising star Lando Norris believes British F4 has played a crucial role in his success

16 JANUARY, 2017 – Lando Norris continues his meteoric rise up the FIA single-seater pyramid, following in the footsteps of previous champions Jenson Button and Ayrton Senna to Formula 1. Nevertheless, he still found time to catch up with the series in which his single-seater career began, the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.

As the 17-year-old reacquainted himself with the Ford EcoBoost-powered racer on the MSA stand at the Autosport International show he said: “What was at the time known as MSA Formula, and is now British F4, was my first year of single-seaters and it was undoubtedly the very best championship for me to join.

“You learn how to drive around a variety of different circuit types and on the TOCA package along with the British Touring Car Championship, which means you get a lot of media coverage.”

In 2016 Norris enjoyed success on multiple fronts, claiming both the Eurocup and Northern European Cup titles, as well as the TRS title and capped off a remarkable year by winning the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

It has earned him a test in a McLaren Formula 1 car and a simulator role with the British team, all of which he reckons might not have been possible had he not cut his teeth in the UK’s leading single-seater series.

“Crucially, you learn so much more than just the basics because the racing is so close,” explained Norris.

“It means you have to be really precise. You have to be very good in qualifying and at starts for example. These are all things that you have to learn and understand to prepare for a career in motorsport. The F4 British Championship enables drivers to do this. It enabled me to do this.

“It helped me become more accurate and precise behind the wheel; to find that extra bit of lap time to be on pole or win a race. What I learned in British F4 has definitely helped me to achieve the results I have since graduating from the series.

“Ford’s backing of the championship is great and there is the possibility for drivers to progress with them with things like their Ford GT programme. There are so many positives which come as a result of competing in British F4 and that’s a good thing for youngsters to see.”

The 2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion, who will continue his progression up the FIA single-seater pyramid in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2017 with Carlin, was keen to emphasise how some of the sport’s best teams make up the British F4 grid.

“There’s a lot of top quality teams in British F4, for example Carlin who I raced with,” said Norris.

“It’s also the only single-seater series in the UK open to 15-year-olds. There are equivalent championships in Germany and Italy, but you race on more technical and unforgiving tracks in the UK than you do in those countries.

“British F4 is the category to start in.”

British F4 to start 2017 in style at Autosport International

  • Ford EcoBoost-powered British F4 racer to take centre stage at Autosport International show.
  • Visitors will have the chance to drive British F4 car in Richardson Racing’s state-of-the-art simulator.

10 JANUARY, 2017 – The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford is set to turn heads at the world-famous Autosport International racing car show at Birmingham’s NEC this week (12–15 January, 2017). The championship’s Ford EcoBoost-powered racer will have pride of place on the MSA stand at the show’s main entrance.

2017 marks a major milestone for Ford; it’s 50th consecutive year of supporting young motorsport talent. It also sees the introduction of the Ford F4 Challenge Cup which gives drivers the chance to compete for a £10,000 prize fund and prove they have got what it takes in the UK’s leading single-seater series for less than £100,000.

Visitors to Autosport International will have the chance to meet championship personnel and find out more about joining the grid for what promises to be another thrilling season.

In addition, they will be able to experience what it’s like to drive a British F4 race car by getting behind the wheel of Richardson Racing’s new state-of-the-art simulator on stand 6401.

The Richardson Racing team is gearing up for an exciting campaign in British F4 this year following the recent launch of its new workshop facilities in Corby. The successful launch saw the unveiling of their new simulator which will be available to British F4 drivers as part of their package with the team.

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford is the sole single-seater support series for the ever-popular British Touring Car Championship and will be contested over 30 rounds at the UK’s premier race circuits. As in previous years British F4 will enjoy live free-to-air TV coverage on ITV4 and bumper raceday spectator attendance. The 2017 season gets underway on 1/2 April at Brands Hatch.

For more information on the upcoming season please download the 2017 British F4 brochure.

TEAM NEWS: Successful launch for British F4 outfit Richardson Racing’s new Corby home

Supplied by team’s PR.

13, DECEMBER 2016 – The Richardson Racing team is hard at work preparing for the 2017 season after a successful launch of its new workshop facilities in Corby.

A special event at the new workshop – located on the Earlstrees Industrial Estate just minutes away from Rockingham Motor Speedway – was attended by a number of specially invited guests; including Councillor Julie Riley, the Mayor of Corby.

Following a brief presentation and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests were able to take a tour of the new workshop and get up close to some of the cars that the team will use for its 2017 racing programme which will include entries into the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.

As well as revealing the workshop, the event also provided the team with the first opportunity to display a new state-of-the-art simulator that will be available to drivers as part of their package with the team.

Non-team drivers will also be able to make use of the simulator by appointment, with the facility being viewed as a key part of the team’s ongoing expansion.

The simulator will be present on Stand 6401 at next month’s Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

“We’re delighted to be able to reveal the new workshop and simulator facility, and are pleased that so many people were able to come along to the official opening,” team principal Gwyn Richardson said. “A lot of work has gone into the workshop in recent months and it provides us with the ideal base to move forwards with our racing programmes; offering easy access to a range of local suppliers and also being close to Rockingham circuit.

“The simulator is a major part of our future plans and we are confident that it will become a valuable tool for the team over the coming years. It’s something unique that we can offer as part of the package for drivers who are racing with us next year, and will also be available to others who want to gain experience of different circuits and cars.

“Without doubt, these are very exciting times for our team and we are determined to make our mark on track in 2017.”

Having been asked to cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony, Mayor of Corby Councillor Julie Riley, revealed her pleasure at welcoming the team to the area.

“This is a very exciting new venture, and hopefully the town of Corby and businesses like Richardson Racing can move forwards together and be successful in the future,” she said. “I love what the team is doing with the new workshop facilities and am particularly impressed with the way they are working with local apprentices to give them first hand experience of motorsport. I wish them every success.”

2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Lando Norris wins McLaren Autosport BRDC Award

  • 2015 Ford EcoBoost-powered star scoops McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and British Club Driver of the Year gong at Autosport Awards.
  • Norris lands prize F1 test with McLaren and a simulator role with the British team.

5 DECEMBER, 2016 – 2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Lando Norris capped a phenomenal 2016, which saw him claim both the Eurocup and Northern European Cup titles, as well as the TRS title, by winning the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

The Award earns him a test in a McLaren F1 car and a simulator role with the British team, as well as full BRDC membership and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon crash helmet.

Norris emerged triumphant having been up against fellow British F4 graduates Ricky Collard (2016 British F3 vice champion), Toby Sowery (2016 British F3 multiple race winner) and Sennan Fielding (2016 FIA British Formula 4 vice champion) in a comprehensive test which put them through their paces.

The young stars battled it out over two intensive days of assessments at Silverstone in November which featured on-track tests on the Grand Prix circuit in Formula 2, Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT cars, plus simulator sessions and fitness tests conducted by McLaren.

Said Norris upon receiving the Award on the same night that he was crowned British Club Driver of the Year: “It’s been great, the racing success this year, but this has really topped it off.

“I need to give a lot of respect to the other drivers – Ricky, Sennan and Toby.

“I’ve raced against them for the past few years, we’ve given each other a lot of respect and they’ve made my life hard.”

The judging panel was led by former F1 driver, 1992 World Sportscar champion and BRDC president Derek Warwick, and also comprised two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, McLaren’s Andrew Kirkaldy and Mark Williams, guest judge David Brabham, leading circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, Autosport Editor Kevin Turner and Autosport Features Editor Scott Mitchell.

Commented Warwick who was joined by Brabham, Turner and McLaren racing director Éric Boullier to present Norris with the Award: “He was one of the quickest in the DTM car, one of the quickest in the McLaren GT3 car and was stunning in the Formula 2 single-seater. He’s got a great career ahead of him. In Lando we’ve got a future Formula 1 driver and a future F1 World Champion.”

Added British F4 championship manager David Lowe: “Many congratulations to Lando. What he achieved in our championship at the age of 15 was very special and this year he has used the experience gained in F4 to go on to even greater heights.

“By winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, Lando will follow in the footsteps of another of our graduates and winner of this Award 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button. I have no doubt that Lando will continue to be a fantastic ambassador for British F4 as he progresses up the FIA single-seater pyramid.

“It’s been a superb year for our British F4’s graduates. All four finalists for this prestigious Award have competed successfully in Ford EcoBoost-powered machinery.

“This is testament to the championship’s ability to prepare and develop the sport’s brightest young talents for a career in motor racing. We are giving drivers the foundation for success. The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford is unquestionably the place to be.”

Images by LAT Photographic.

MSA Formula takes a bow at Birmingham

Birmingham, 14 January, 2016 – The Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula car has taken centre stage at the Autosport International racing car show at Birmingham’s NEC. The chassis has pride of place on the MSA stand at the show’s main entrance, and will be on display there until the exhibition closes on Sunday. Visitors to Autosport International also have the chance to meet championship personnel and find out more about joining the grid for the coming season.