FIA British Formula 4 Champion Max Fewtrell visits class of 2017

11 APRIL, 2017 – A scintillating start to the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost campaign at Brands Hatch received some added magic with a visit from 2016 title winner Max Fewtrell.

Since being crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion, Fewtrell’s career has continued to hit new heights; the 17-year-old taking another step toward becoming a Formula 1 driver by joining Renault’s F1 Academy.

“It’s been a year since my first race in the F4 British Championship and it was kind of strange being back as a spectator as opposed to a driver, but it was actually nice to see everything from a different perspective,” said Fewtrell.

“As a driver you’re so focused on the job you have to do and that means you don’t necessarily get to enjoy other aspects. It was brilliant to be back. I’ve got so many great memories of racing in British F4.

“I would love to take part in a British F4 race again, even if I had to start last and come through the pack. It would be so much fun.”

Fewtrell was also keen to pay testament to the UK’s leading junior single-seater series: “I think doing my first year in cars in British F4 was vital for my career. The competition is so close in the championship and it teaches you how to perform under pressure.

“Racing in British F4 helped me in every aspect of my career. I’m now on an F1 junior driver programme and I hope that one day I’ll be visiting British F4 again as a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver.”

Fewtrell, part of the same Infinity Sports Management stable that looks after 2017 British F4 racer Logan Sargeant, took the Ford EcoBoost-powered title with Carlin in his first full season of car racing last year.

He recorded a remarkable 16 podiums, including three race victories and couldn’t resist casting an eye on the 2017 field: “I think Arden and Carlin look absolutely on it this season, but it’s still early days. The others aren’t going to be standing still. I’m sure they will get stronger as the season progresses and soon be challenging at the front too.”

FIA British Formula 4 Champion takes step closer to Formula 1

  • Ford EcoBoost-powered FIA F4 champion Max Fewtrell joins Renault F1 Academy.

21 FEBRUARY, 2017 – FIA British Formula 4 Champion Max Fewtrell has taken another step forward to becoming a Formula 1 driver following his successful campaign in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. Fewtrell has been announced by Renault as one of its Junior Academy drivers for 2017.

Fewtrell, part of the same Infinity Sports Management stable that looks after new Mercedes F1 protege George Russell, won the British F4 title with Carlin in his first full season of car racing last year. He recorded a remarkable 16 podiums, including three race victories.

17-year-old Fewtrell will contest the Formula Renault Eurocup for Tech 1 Racing in 2017.

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.”

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.

Priaulx helps British F4 drivers reach the top step

  • Priaulx inspires British F4 grid with driver coaching session at Snetterton.
  • F1 teams taking keen interest in British F4 and its drivers according to Priaulx.

8 AUGUST, 2016 – Drivers in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford returned from the summer break joined by none other than triple World Touring Car Champion and Ford GT World Endurance Championship star Andy Priaulx MBE at Snetterton.

Aside from a list of motorsport achievements almost as long as Snetterton’s Senna straight, Priaulx has been a coach to a number of drivers who have made it to F1 stardom such as Marcus Ericsson and Bruno Senna; so there was no better person to lead a driver coaching session with the 2016 British F4 cohort.

Priaulx’s masterclass acting as yet another fine example of how British F4 and Ford continues to provide the best learning and developmental opportunities for young motorsport talent.

His session covered a variety of topics; ranging from optimising performance both on and off the track to the importance of leading the team and pulling everyone together around you. All areas which the dedicated team of experts at Priaulx’s iZone Driver Performance facility encourage drivers to focus upon.

“I hope after meeting all the British F4 drivers I have been able to provide an insight into where they will go on to in their careers,” said Priaulx.

“It’s important to realise that Formula 1 teams are looking at British F4. That’s a really good accolade for the series and testament to where it is going.

“British F4 is affordable and offers a high level of competition which is what young drivers need.

“It is a brilliant starting point for youngsters. It’s on the TOCA package which is excellent and it’s a great series to graduate from.

“Drivers in British F4 are in one of the most high profile championships with Ford’s support and a host of major partners [such as Snap-On Business Solutions and Samsung].

“I think a series like British F4 which is supported by a major manufacturer like Ford is invaluable. You can build a relationship with the blue oval and it’s a big brand. There is a staircase of talent forming here at Ford with British F4, the GT programme and NASCAR.”

Priaulx was also keen to emphasise the increasingly important role played by fuel economy in motorsport with Ford’s EcoBoost technology at the forefront: “What we do is all about fuel economy. Optimising performance with good economy. So the more laps we can do on one tank of fuel and the quicker it takes to refill, the quicker we will be at the end of the race.

“The EcoBoost technology is amazing. The power that we are producing from that little V6 engine [in the Ford GT in the WEC and the 1.6 litre turbocharged unit in British F4] combined with the fuel economy and performance of the vehicles is unbelievable.

“Learning about this kind of technology in junior single-seaters with Ford in British F4 is great. Learning how it all works and how to optimise fuel burn is very interesting and as a driver it’s always very good to have a technical understanding of this.”

Priaulx also cast an eye on the future of his son Sebastian who is beginning to work his way up the motorsport ranks; currently making waves in the Ginetta Junior Championship with the JHR Developments team which also competes in the F4 British Championship.

“I would love Seb to join British F4”, said Priaulx. “He’s done really well in such a short space of time. British F4 is an absolute must for him and if I can find a way next year to bring him in I will do. I think he would be really quick. It would be such a great story with my strong relationship with Ford.

“Without wanting to put any pressure on him I think it would be a great opportunity. Every driver needs single-seater experience. It’s so important.”

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford title battle rolls on to Knockhill on 13/14 August as the season draws ever closer to its climax.

Butel and F4 British Championship star at British Grand Prix

14 JULY, 2016 – The F4 British Championship once again played a starring role alongside Formula 1; on this occasion during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. JHR Developments driver Jack Butel’s Ford EcoBoost-powered racer was on display at the Silverstone Racing Club and unsurprisingly grabbed plenty of attention.

Commented Mike Norton manager of Ford Performance technical, sporting and programmes: “Having the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford car showcased at the British Grand Prix weekend further reinforces the F4 British Championship as the first step to Formula 1 on the FIA single-seater pyramid.

“Ford have supported young motorsport talent for almost 50 years and it has been great for F1 fans to get up close and personal with the series where the next stars of the pinnacle of the sport are coming from.”

Reflected Jack Butel’s father Derek Butel: “We had an excellent response at Silverstone. People loved Jack’s British F4 car. It was amazing to see how many people know about Jack and are following him in the series.

“At times you couldn’t even see the car because so many people were stood around it. From Saturday morning until Sunday night people were flocking to see the car.

“Silverstone Racing Club were over the moon to have Jack’s car on display and we’ve got their full support. Their logo will be on the nosecone for the remainder of the season.

“Nigel Mansell, Derek Warwick and Jerseyman James Walker were also really pleased for Jack’s car to be there. They are supporting Jack as much as they can in terms of advice. They’re really happy with what he is doing and they are excited to see where he is going to go next.”

It was undoubtedly a happy return to Silverstone for the Jack Butel camp. The circuit proving a happy hunting ground for the Jersey racer who claimed a brace of strong points scoring finishes in his maiden Ford EcoBoost-powered season last year.

Added Derek Butel: “Jack has gone really well at Silverstone in the past. It’s one of his best tracks. He’s been doing a lot of training during the summer break on the beaches of Jersey and has got some testing lined up to help him further up his game for the rest of the year.”

Despite it being the traditional summer break in the F4 British Championship calendar, Butel’s JHR Developments prepared racer has hardly stood still. In the run up to the British Grand Prix the car was on display at Longueville Manor and Jersey’s town centre in aid of Jersey Teenage Cancer Trust. It then had pride of place during a promotional night for customers of one of Butel’s sponsors Express Auto Parts.

Jack Butel and the rest of the F4 British Championship field will hit the track at Snetterton on 30/31 July, when the title battle will go up another gear as the UK’s leading junior single-seater series embarks upon the second half of its campaign.