British F4 graduates win big at Autosport Awards

  • British F4 graduate Dan Ticktum scoops McLaren Autosport BRDC Award to land prize F1 test with McLaren.
  • 2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Lando Norris wins National Driver of the Year.
  • 2015 Rookie Champion Enaam Ahmed awarded British Club Driver of the Year.

4 DECEMBER, 2017 – British F4 graduates were out in force at last night’s glittering Autosport Awards in London, with class of 2015 stars Lando Norris, Enaam Ahmed and Dan Ticktum receiving accolades. The latter scooped one of the most coveted prizes for young drivers in motorsport, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, and ensured that for the second consecutive year the prestigious Award was won by a British F4 graduate.

The Award gives Ticktum the chance to test a McLaren F1 car and play a simulator role with the team, as well as full BRDC membership and an Arai crash helmet.

Fresh from his thrilling Macau Grand Prix victory just a fortnight ago, Ticktum emerged triumphant having been up against fellow British F4 graduates Max Fewtrell (2016 FIA British Formula 4 Champion), Enaam Ahmed (2015 Rookie Champion), and Harrison Scott (2013 and 2014 vice-champion) in a comprehensive test which put them through their paces.

The quartet went head-to-head over two intensive days of assessments at Silverstone in October, featuring on-track tests on the Grand Prix circuit in Formula 2, Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT3 cars, plus fitness tests conducted by McLaren.

“I had an amazing weekend in Macau and this has exceeded that,” said Ticktum.

“I cannot put into words how proud I am right now to have won this award.

“It’s been an incredible experience right from the outset. The two days were incredibly difficult and having to wait six weeks to find out who the winner was was agonising to say the least.

“People know I had a tough career to start with and there have been some very important people who believed in me, particularly Red Bull, Christian Horner, Dr Helmut Marko – they’ve given me a chance and I hope I can do them proud.

“I fought back and learned from my mistakes and my immaturity and I’m stronger because of it.”

The judging panel was led by ex-F1 driver, 1992 world sportscar champion and outgoing BRDC president Derek Warwick, and comprised two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, 1997 Award winner and GT boss Andrew Kirkaldy, ex-F1 designer and engineer Mark Williams, leading circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, Autosport magazine editor Kevin Turner and Autosport Plus editor Scott Mitchell.

Spa 24 Hours victor and 2008 Award winner Alexander Sims was the guest judge.

“It’s such a big challenge for these guys at this stage in their career to jump into these three different cars,” said Sims.

“Dan this year was outstanding.”

Sims was joined by McLaren’s Éric Boullier, Turner and BRDC chairman John Grant to present Ticktum with the Award.

Other previous Award winners include 13-time GP victor David Coulthard, 2009 F1 world champion and 1998 Formula Ford champion Jenson Button, triple Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, as well as Ticktum’s 2015 British F4 rival Lando Norris.

Ticktum will look to further emulate Norris in 2018. He makes the step up the FIA single-seater pyramid to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, in which Norris took the title in his first year in the series with Carlin.

2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion and newly crowned FIA European Formula 3 Champion Norris had plenty of reason to celebrate at the star-studded ceremony, winning National Driver of the Year. It capped another sublime year for one of motorsport’s brightest young talents, in which he was announced as McLaren’s F1 test and reserve driver for 2018.

Enaam Ahmed made it a hat-trick of British F4 success by winning British Club Driver of the Year. Having clinched the Ford EcoBoost-powered Rookie title in 2015, the 17-year-old looked unstoppable for much of this season as he romped to 13 victories from 24 races on his way to the British F3 crown. 2017 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Jamie Caroline was also nominated for the Award which was won by Norris in 2016.

Images by LAT Photographic.

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.”