The secret life of… Oliver York

18 AUGUST, 2017 – A British and world kart champion, and an undisputed rising star backed by the MSA Academy and Andy Priaulx Sports Management. This 16-year-old from Woking has probably completed more laps on the simulator at iZone than Sabine Schmitz has of the Nürburgring. We hear from the newest addition to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost winners’ club and the Fortec Motorsports racer who goes by the name of the chocolate bar that’s not for girls, Oliver York.

Apart from driving a British F4 car, what is your favourite buzz?
Playing and watching football. I’m a big Manchester United fan and my favourite player is Ryan Giggs.

Who is your favourite driver?
Ayrton Senna because he was so good under pressure and made very few mistakes.

What’s your favourite track?
On the British F4 calendar I would say Snetterton. My favourite that’s not on the calendar is Spa.

Define yourself as a driver in three words?
Attacking, brave and fair.

What should everyone try once in their lifetime?
Playing football. Preferably with Ryan Giggs!

What are you afraid of?
Spiders and snakes! I steer clear of the snake enclosure at the zoo.

What did your teachers say about you in your school report?
You would have to ask my Dad. I don’t look at my school report for fear of what the teachers might have said!

What is the worst purchase you have ever made?
A mini Segway. I’ve got one just sitting in the corner of my room and it will be on eBay very soon.

If you could own one Ford road car what would it be?
A Ford GT.

What’s your favourite film?
I cannot say my favourite because it’s an 18! Let’s play it safe and say Winnie the Pooh.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Teleportation. I would teleport everywhere so I could avoid the long drive to places like Anglesey Circuit for testing which is six hours away.

What’s the most important thing in life?
To have fun and make the most of the time you have.

 

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.

Fewtrell claims British F4 prize and is honoured at FIA prize-giving

5 DECEMBER, 2016 – In the space of a week 2016 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Max Fewtrell rubbed shoulders with the great and the good of motorsport as he collected prestigious silverware to go along with his British F4 title.

On Saturday 26 November Fewtrell and the other outright winners of the BTCC and its supporting championships were honoured at TOCA’s Night of Champions.

Fewtrell shone throughout the year in his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer demonstrating metronomic consistency on his way to 16 podiums and three race victories, and was presented with his stunning trophy by MSA chief executive Rob Jones.

Less than seven days later on 2 December the Carlin ace found himself in the Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria alongside newly crowned FIA Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg and FIA WRC Champion Sebastien Ogier, at the spectacular FIA prize-giving Ceremony to receive the FIA British Formula 4 Champion trophy.

New Ford F4 British Championship Challenge Cup launched for 2017

28 SEPTEMBER, 2016 – 2017 will see an exciting development in junior single-seater racing with the introduction of the Ford F4 British Championship Challenge Cup. Run to identical regulations as the overall Championship class, the Challenge Cup will give drivers the chance to race against motorsport’s brightest young stars at a reduced budget in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.

Prizes for Challenge Cup drivers include: free scholarship entry for the 2017 Challenge Cup victor to the 2018 F4 British Championship worth £15,000; £10,000 cash prize fund across the season courtesy of Ford Motor Company; podium for the Challenge Cup class at every round and £5,000 cash prize available to the first Challenge Cup driver to win a race overall.

Entrants will compete in seven of the ten F4 British Championship race meetings during the season and the championship registration fee will be lowered to £2,000.

Testing for Challenge Cup drivers during the season will be limited to Friday official test days of chosen meetings, plus seven additional official organised test days.

Both technical and sporting regulations will be identical to the overall Championship class. Therefore all drivers compete equally on track, with any Challenge Cup driver eligible to finish in the overall race podium positions and score points in the overall championship.

Explained championship manager David Lowe: “There are a lot of drivers who have so much talent, but haven’t got sufficient budget behind them to make the step to single-seaters.

“The F4 British Championship has always strived to provide exceptional value in terms of cost per track mile. Coupled with the Motor Sport Association’s directive to provide affordable motor racing, the introduction of the Challenge Cup in 2017 ensures that the series remains at the forefront of providing highly competitive, yet affordable racing.

“The Challenge Cup gives drivers who might have thought the crucial first step on the FIA single-seater pyramid was out of reach the chance to compete in Britain’s most competitive single-seater series and on a level playing field.

“It is our hope that drivers who race in the Challenge Cup will be able to progress by making full use of their experience and increased exposure in British F4 to embark on an assault for the overall championship the following season.”

Gerard Quinn, Senior Manager, Ford Performance Europe added: “2017 will be Ford’s 50th consecutive year of supporting young drivers at grass roots level. The introduction of the Ford F4 British Championship Challenge Cup next season is therefore a timely and excellent example of this commitment.

“The Challenge Cup is a perfect addition to the hugely successful F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford and will strengthen the series further. Ford continues to develop motor racing’s stars of the future and the Challenge Cup enhances the Championship’s standing as the ideal place for drivers to begin their journey up the FIA single-seater pyramid.”

All interested parties should email F4 British Championship Coordinator Eve Lake-Grange by clicking here.

Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly shines light on why F4 British Championship is key step on the road to F1

  • F4 British Championship takes centre stage alongside Formula 1 on the FIA stand at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
  • British F4’s youngest Rookie Class winner Arden’s Ayrton Simmons gets the chance to star alongside one of GP2’s most exciting prospects and Red Bull Racing reserve driver Pierre Gasly.
  • Gasly and Simmons provide fascinating insight into why F4 is the ideal starting point for any driver looking to work their way up to F1.

4 JULY, 2016 – The F4 British Championship’s stunning Ford EcoBoost-powered racer took centre stage on the FIA stand alongside Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 2015 F1 car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, illustrating the different stages of the FIA single-seater pyramid.

The FIA’s steps to Formula 1 are being trodden by Red Bull Racing’s reserve driver Pierre Gasly. Pierre began his car racing career in F4 and joined the F4 British Championship’s youngest ever Rookie Class winner Ayrton Simmons to discuss why the series is an ideal starting point for any driver.

“It brings back lots of good memories seeing the Formula 4 car here. It wasn’t that long ago when I was racing in F4. I was 15 and really excited to step up to Formula cars from karting,” explained Gasly who claimed four victories and three podiums in the category.

“Starting in F4 for me was the best option because it’s the easiest way to learn the basics with single-seaters. When you are a rookie aged 15 or 16 and starting your single-seater career it’s a good place to begin. It’s a powerful car with 160bhp and at that age it’s really impressive.

Gasly then shone a light onto why F4 plays such an important role in a driver’s development: “The races are different to karting. The way you need to overtake. The way you need to manage your race. Everything is different and I think it’s the best way to start.”

“With these cars you can really feel the downforce and it’s good to understand the performance that it gives you because as you step up to higher series the downforce increases.

“All the feelings you get from the car when you start in F4 increase with the speed [as you go up the FIA single-seater pyramid]. In F1 cars you go faster and have more g-force and downforce; but the way you drive the car is similar to F4.”

Aside from both having raced in F4, Gasly and Simmons have driven for Garry and Christian Horner’s hugely successful Arden team; one of a number of leading motorsport outfits which compete in the F4 British Championship.

Said Gasly: “I gained a huge amount of experience working with Arden in 2014 [in senior single-seater racing]. With all their knowledge they gave me what I needed.

“It was the first time I worked with an English team and they are really dedicated to what they do. Motorsport in England is something huge. You can feel it in the team. I know as a driver I have grown a lot working with them.”

Simmons echoed Gasly’s sentiments: “It’s great to see that Pierre did F4 and I know he has worked with Arden. It shows how good Arden are at developing drivers and making them fast. They have got the best engineers and they set the car up brilliantly.”

Gasly also provided an insight into being part of the Red Bull Junior Team; a programme which multiple F4 British Championship race winner Luis Leeds is also a member of: “They expect you to be the best on and off track so you need to be at the top of your game. They try make you better as a driver with lots of mental and physical training.

“It’s the kind of chance you only get once in your life. It’s a great programme and we have seen in the past that if they think you deserve to be in F1 they give you the chance.”

Speaking of chances, a beaming Simmons reflected on his day at Goodwood: “Having the F1 car next to me and meeting Pierre is really exciting. It’s been great to get some insight into F1. As a top team reserve driver, Pierre gave me a good overview of what it takes to move up the ranks.”

“I want to focus on the F4 British Championship and climb up the FIA single-seater pyramid like he has. The series develops you into a quick driver with initiatives like the MSA Driver Coaching programme. You work with your engineers and the MSA coaches to improve your performance.

“Everyone around the world keeps an eye on the F4 British Championship because it has so many talented drivers. The cars are so close, particularly with the Ford EcoBoost engines. There have been so many race winners this season and that shows how competitive the series is.”

To which Gasly, exuding a level of confidence and maturity that far belies his age of just 20 (a mere five years older than Simmons), provided his wise words of wisdom to drivers looking to succeed in British F4: “When you start in F4 it seems quite far from F1, but it’s actually really close. In reality you don’t have much time and in this short time you have to put in the hard work to try to get the best out of everything. Every second on track you need to learn as much as you can and use every experience to be better as a driver.”

Ford MSA Formula rebranded to F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

03 MAY, 2016 – Ford MSA Formula has been rebranded in accordance with its British Formula 4 Championship status and renamed the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford.

The name change reflects the championship’s unique standing as the UK series conforming to global FIA F4 regulations, introduced in 2015 as the first rung on the racing ladder for young single-seater drivers starting out on the road to Formula One.

Rob Jones, MSA Chief Executive, said: “The rebranding of MSA Formula to F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford achieves two key goals. First, it identifies the championship alongside other FIA F4 series around the world, and secondly it confirms that there is a clear first rung on the single-seater ladder in the UK.”

“Given the global reach of FIA Formula 4, it is both natural and essential that the category establishes a strong base in the UK and continues growing from there,” said Stefano Domenicali, President of the FIA’s Single Seater Commission.

“It is obviously one of the major centres in the motor sport world with a proud and rich history in all facets of it. The nature of FIA Formula 4 is a national championship, meaning that driver entries are predominantly only allowed from the country in which it is run – as a result it is a way of specifically developing young British talent.

“The MSA Formula series was well-established in the UK, and I welcome the addition of the globally-recognised F4 brand – further providing a basis to compare drivers competing in the same category around the world.

“On behalf of the FIA, I must thank the MSA and their major partner, Ford, for ensuring the appropriate recognition of the FIA Formula 4 category in the UK.”

Gerard Quinn, Senior Manager, Ford Performance Europe added: “Ford is delighted with the rebranding to F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. It ensures that the name of the championship is now consistent with its counterpart FIA F4 series around the world. It adds to the transparency of the FIA motorsport ladder in Britain and underlines Ford’s ongoing commitment to developing young drivers which has spanned almost 50 years.”

The 2016 British F4 Champion will be awarded 12 points towards an FIA Formula One Superlicence. They will also attend the FIA Gala in Austria (2 December) and join an exclusive FIA F4 drivers’ club.

Eyes on the prize ahead of Ford MSA Formula season

  • Phenomenal array of prizes on offer to both drivers and team members throughout 2016.

31 March, 2016 – With less than 48 hours until the inaugural round of the 2016 Ford British F4 season, drivers and team members up and down the paddock have already got their eyes on the plethora of prizes in store for top performers.

For 2016 the Ford EcoBoost-powered series once again boasts an incredibly desirable array of awards. All of which are fitting for a series which has become renowned for being one of the hardest FIA Formula 4 championships to win.

Furthermore, the prizes reflect Ford’s continued commitment to support young drivers and engineers; enabling the next generation of racers to advance to the highest echelons of motorsport.

£30,000 Prize Fund – An unrivalled cash prize in UK motorsport from Ford Motor Company. Each weekend the winner of races two and three will to receive a cheque for £1,000. A further £1,000 will be up for grabs in race one, divided equally between the Scholarship Class winner and the driver who gains the most places between their starting and finishing position.

FIA British Formula 4 Champion – The 2016 title winner will be crowned ‘FIA British Formula 4 Champion’ and invited to one of the year’s most anticipated events within the motorsport community, the FIA Prize-Giving ceremony. The event will be hosted in Vienna on 2 December and will see champions from every major branch of international motorsport gather together to receive their official FIA awards. This year’s champion will also be invited to the 2016 MSA Night of Champions at the prestigious Royal Automobile Club in London’s Pall Mall.

FIA Super Licence Points – Awarded to the top seven drivers to enable their progression up the motorsport ladder; helping them fulfil their ambitions of acquiring a Super Licence to compete in Formula 1. In 2016 12 points will be awarded to the Ford British F4 Champion; two more than any National Formula 3 Championship.

FIA Formula 3 Test – A fully funded test with a leading FIA Euro F3 team courtesy of series partner and tyre supplier Hankook.

Henry Ford Trophy – Those who compete in Ford British F4 can use the series as a perfect platform from which to demonstrate extraordinary human endeavour in the field of motorsport and therefore put themselves in contention for the Henry Ford Trophy.

€1,000 Pole Position Prize – Awarded by Mygale to the team which runs the car that qualifies on pole at each round of the championship. The team will receive a €1,000 credit to be used for the acquisition of parts.

Snap-on Business Solutions Prizes – A £300 Snap-on Tools voucher will be given to the championship’s top technician at each round of the series. In addition, the top technician of the year will receive a uniquely customised Snap-on Business Solutions toolbox and tools, worth in excess of £3,000.