Piastri keeps title race alive with sublime sixth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of season

  • Poleman Piastri wins at Silverstone.
  • Championship rival Caroline follows him home in second.
  • Hoggard takes hard-fought maiden podium.
  • Caldwell secures Ford F4 Challenge Cup win, as Ericsson moves to top of Class standings.

17 SEPTEMBER, 2017 – TRS Arden’s Oscar Piastri scored his sixth win of the campaign, ahead of rival Jamie Caroline at Silverstone to take the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight to the season finale at Brands Hatch in a fortnight.

From pole position Piastri was a man on a mission, determined to score maximum points and finish ahead of Caroline to keep his championship bid alive.

A flawless getaway saw him unchallenged into turn one, while Caroline ran around the outside of Alex Quinn and Hampus Ericsson in a similar fashion to his exquisite first corner heroics in the day’s earlier race.

It left the top two in the championship to battle it out at the front, but Piastri had the edge. He built and managed a gap back to Caroline to secure a comfortable victory, setting fastest lap on the way to the chequered flag.

“It’s special to win at Silverstone, the home of British Motor Racing and the Grand Prix,” said Piastri. “It’s a home race for the team with TRS Arden based about half an hour down the road in Banbury, so it’s great to get a win and two podiums this weekend.

“I did everything I could this weekend. It’s a shame Jamie finished right behind me in second which limited the amount of points I took out of his championship lead, but I’ve managed to take the title fight to the final meeting at Brands Hatch and anything can happen there.

“I saw Jamie got into second straight away and he’s always quick in the opening laps, but once I saw I was pulling away I was able to find a rhythm and it was quite easy out front.

“I then just concentrated on driving a clean and smooth race, avoiding any potential penalties for track limits.

“We saved our best tyres for this race with two new tyres available to us and we made a change to the car which definitely helped us. The car was great and that shows with our pace and recording the fastest lap.

“It’s going to be tough to get the drivers’ title, but I will give it my all. The same goes for the Teams’ Cup too. This win keeps us in contention and if I can get some more wins at Brands Hatch we might be able to steal it at the end.”

“We almost took the title this weekend, but couldn’t quite pull it off,” said Caroline. “We’re on the verge of getting it wrapped up now, but I’m taking nothing for granted. I’ve won all three races in one weekend this season and there is no reason why Oscar cannot do the same.

“Every time I have been to Brands Hatch for the final meeting of the season I have qualified on the front row and won races so we’ll see if we can do that again in two weeks.

“Overall this weekend could have gone a lot better, but it could have also gone a lot worse. We’ve got our eyes firmly on the prize.”

There was no shortage of drama at the start. Alex Quinn got the jump on front row starter Hampus Ericsson, but the Swede made contact with the rear of Quinn’s car, spectacularly propelling the front of Ericsson’s racer up the air. Ericsson clattered the tarmac with a thud, but remarkably was able to continue.

Despite finishing last and four laps down the Fortec Motorsports racer took third in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. It crucially puts him to the top of the Class standings, tied with Harry Webb on 315.5 points, but ahead courtesy of his eight Class victories.

Quinn eventually succumbed to damage half way through proceedings, but not before dicing with team-mate Ayrton Simmons which provided Patrik Pasma with the chance to bravely run around the outside of the pair of them.

After the opening exchanges Logan Sargeant found himself in third, but under pressure from Johnathan Hoggard, the duo battling wheel-to-wheel, lap after lap. Their squabble allowed Pasma and Oliver York to make it a four-way scrap for the final podium spot.

With Hoggard seeing Pasma and York advancing in his mirrors, the rookie made a brilliant move on Sargeant. Team-mate York followed suit, getting the run on Pasma and hanging around the outside of Sargeant to take fourth.

York then set about passing Hoggard in a captivating intra-team battle. The former eventually overcoming Hoggard’s resolute defence on lap 18 by running around the outside of him into Brooklands to earn himself the inside line for Luffield.

Losing momentum, Hoggard found himself under attack from Pasma. Contact resulted, but Hoggard was able to keep going and York was forced into the pits with a technical gremlin, promoting his team-mate back up to third.

“I wanted to put on a good show for everyone watching at home, live on television, and I think I did that,” said a beaming Hoggard.

“It was a tricky race in so many respects, but I still managed to get third. I got past Logan after quite a struggle and then I saw Oliver getting closer and closer in my mirrors.

“Then he eventually got past me. There was a bit of an incident with Pasma, but with how the penalties worked out things finally went my way.

“This is a result I can build on and gives me a lot of confidence. It’s a weight off my shoulders to get this first podium. I’ve had some bad results when I could have been right up there, but it’s come good today.”

Double R Raicng’s Linus Lundqvist put on a thrilling performance for the millions of viewers watching on television with ITV4’s live camera fitted to his car. The super Swede came from the back of the grid to finish an incredible fifth, passing team-mate Karl Massaad in the process. The latter ending up seventh behind Simmons.

Olli Caldwell broke Ericsson’s run of five consecutive Ford F4 Challenge Cup wins by finishing eighth overall after climbing several places. It was a welcome return to the top step for the TRS Arden driver, having last tasted victory at Snetterton in July.

“It’s really nice to be back on the top step of the podium, especially after the way the other two races went this weekend, as well as the weekend at Rockingham,” said Caldwell.

“We were running as high as fifth at one point and although I lost some places towards the end I still think this a really good result after such an eventful weekend.

“Staying mentally strong when things aren’t going your way is helped by having a great team around you and that’s what I’ve got at TRS Arden.

“I’ll have the advantage over my rivals in the Challenge Cup in two weeks because I don’t think any of them have raced around the Brands Hatch GP track and I have thanks to my experience in Ginettas last year.”

Sam Smelt delivered on his Friday practice promise by finishing in the top 10 for GW Motorsport, scoring points after a brilliant drive up the order from 16th.

Meanwhile Manuel Sulaiman doubled his tally for the weekend with another point score for JHR Developments. He denied Falcon Motorsport’s Lucca Allen his first point in British F4 by 0.053s on a weekend where the Irish rookie has shown a significant step forward in terms of pace.

Attention now turns to the season finale at Brands Hatch GP in a fortnight (30 September/1 October). Caroline will arrive with a 67.5 point lead in the standings and will only need a sixth place finish in Round 28 to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion. Meanwhile his Carlin squad can take the Teams’ Cup in the same race if TRS Arden fail to reduce their 103 point lead in the standings by 17 points.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 27 Silverstone, 17 September, 2017
21 laps / 34.44 miles
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 20m 10.018s / 102.49mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin +3.751s
3 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +16.453s
4 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin +19.879s
5 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R +20.016s
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +20.665s
7 Karl MASSAAD / LEB / Double R +21.393s
8 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden +21.584s
9 Sam SMELT / GBR / GW +22.193s
10 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +26.745s etc.

Fastest lap: Oscar Piastri 57.163s / 103.31mph

Ford F4 Challenge Cup: 1 Caldwell; 2 Allen; 3 Ericsson

Provisional championship standings
1 Caroline 412 points; 2 Piastri 344.5; 3 Sargeant 326; 4 Quinn 280; 5 Lundqvist 259.5; 6 Simmons 234.5; 7 Oliver York 233.5; 8 Pasma 147.5; 9 Massaad 80; 10 Webb 68 etc.

Provisional Ford F4 Challenge Cup standings
=1 Ericsson 315.5 points; =1 Webb 315.5; 3 York 298.5; 4 Caldwell 234; 5 Allen 174; 6 Monger 100

Full results

Caldwell ready to become youngest driver to race in British F4

6 JUNE, 2017 – As far as birthday presents go, competing in the UK’s leading junior single-seater series is probably one of the best. It’s exactly what’s in store for TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell along with cakes and balloons. He celebrates his 15th birthday on Sunday 11 June and therefore becomes eligible to race in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Croft Circuit. In doing so he will make history by becoming the youngest driver to compete in British F4.

Following an international karting career, which brought great success both in the UK and Europe, Caldwell competed in the second half of the Ginetta Junior Championship last year. While waiting patiently on the sidelines so far this season, Caldwell has been hard at work preparing for the challenge of racing against some of motorsport’s most talented junior drivers.

“I’ve been training hard physically, getting ready for my first race,” said Caldwell. “I’m part of the Young Racing Driver Academy and I’ve been working really well with them. I’ve also got a personal trainer who does three sessions with me every week.

“I attended some of the British F4 meetings earlier in the season to develop my understanding and to ensure I know what to expect. I feel prepared for what lies ahead.

“With my birthday on Sunday I’ll miss qualifying and race one on Saturday so I know I’m going start at the back of the grid which takes the pressure off a bit, but I’ll be able to test on Friday which is good.

“So many of the British F4 races this season have been action-packed and it has just made me even more eager to race. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.

“I chose to race in British F4 as opposed to any of the other F4 championships simply because it’s the best. It’s incredibly competitive and it brings the best out of drivers.”

Caldwell’s desire and determination to get behind the wheel has been clear for all to see, including TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “Olli has been desperate to get in the car. He’s seen all his team-mates racing on track and it’s been really hard to keep him away. He’s always in the workshop and his father is always phoning us up to check on progress. Olli is so excited. He’s keen and he’s ready.

“We’ve been doing a lot of simulator work with him as part of his preparation so he can hit the ground running. He certainly knows how to race. We saw that when he raced in the Ginetta Junior Championship.

“He’s been working with Arden and the YRDA for a long time. We helped him throughout karting and he’s gone from strength to strength. He’s a fast learner.”

Caldwell’s rate of progression in the Ford EcoBoost-powered racer has been impressive. Despite having less seat time than many of his rivals, the youngster from Stockbridge, Hampshire was frequently found in the top 10 on the timesheets during the recent official organised test days at Croft and Snetterton.

Caldwell is entered into the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. It sees drivers contest a maximum of seven meetings for a share of a £10,000 prize fund courtesy of Ford Motor Company and free entry to the overall championship in 2018 worth £15,000.

“Olli’s arrival is certainly going to make the Ford F4 Challenge Cup even more interesting,” said Bloomfield. “It’s going to be tough to win it because he can only contest six meetings due to the timing of his birthday. It means he’s already lost one seventh of his point scoring opportunities in comparison to his rivals, but I’m hopeful he can still come out on top.

“Although experience isn’t necessarily on his side, coming into the championship at pretty much the halfway point, we’re going to give him every chance to be successful. We’ve got a strong team, a good car and a lot of talented people around him.”

When asked about his ambitions for this season Caldwell is focused on two things, the Ford F4 Challenge Cup and his family who have been with him every step of the way.

“Everyone in my family is really excited about my debut,” he said. “They’ve supported me throughout my career, all the way through karting. In many ways this is more than just my journey. It’s a family journey which makes it even more special. I want to make them proud.

“I hope we can take the fight to the other drivers in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. Oliver York currently tops the standings and he’s been driving so well. It will be tough, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

TRS Arden confirms driver line-up for four-car F4 British Championship title challenge

8 FEBRUARY, 2017 – Having come tantalisingly close to the FIA British Formula 4 crown for the past two years, Garry Horner’s TRS Arden team have announced another strong squad of international drivers for 2017.

Ayrton Simmons, Oscar Piastri and Yves Baltas will all compete with TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford and the youngest of the four, Olli Caldwell, who doesn’t turn 15 until June, will race in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. All of the team’s drivers are products of the acclaimed Young Racing Driving Academy.

Simmons, who is himself still only 15-years-old, returns to the fold after a strong maiden campaign in which he ended 2016 as British F4’s Rookie class vice-champion having recorded six class wins, despite having missed the first two rounds due to his age. In the season finale at Brands Hatch Simmons held off Championship runner-up Sennan Fielding for second place and almost sneaked past champion and eventual race winner Max Fewtrell. Although still only 15-years-old, Simmons unquestionably has both youth and experience on his side as he embarks on his first full season in single-seater racing.

Ayrton Simmons: “I’m extremely excited to sign for Arden for a second year running in British Formula 4, and I’m very grateful for their confidence in my performance. Having been part of their Young Racing Driver Academy for a few years now, I know I’m in the right team to attempt the championship title and I am working very hard pre-season to achieve it”

Australian karting ace Oscar Piastri lit up the timing screens on countless occasions during the first official pre-season test at Oulton Park last week.

The 15-year-old already has F4 experience having competed in the sister UAE series and has no shortage of accolades to his name. Piastri finished sixth out of a field of over 90 drivers in the 2016 CIK-FIA World OK-Junior Championship, third in the 2015 KF3 Australian Kart Championship, second in the 2014 Australian National Sprint Kart Championship and third in the X30 Junior IAME International Final that same year.

Oscar Piastri: “I am really happy to join TRS Arden for the F4 British Championship. Testing has gone really well and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in one of the most competitive single-seater series in the world. I’ve raced in countries around the globe, but having the chance to race at the UK’s premier circuits, including the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and having it broadcast live on television to millions of people is something very special.”

Like Piastri, American hotshot Yves Baltas has shown pace and maturity during testing. As part of the YRDA programme, Baltas tested with TRS Arden throughout 2016, and underwent plenty of simulator training, which has given him the perfect preparation for the challenge ahead. The New York City teenager started karting aged four and went on to claim numerous podiums across the United States in the Rotax Mini Max and Junior Max classes. Baltas turns 15-years-old later this month and he’s ready to prove he has what it takes to succeed in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Yves Baltas: “Arden is a great team, the engineers are fantastic. They are helping me to learn everything and how to set the car up to ensure it’s as fast as it can possibly be. As testing has progressed I have felt increasingly comfortable in the car. It’s so much fun to drive, especially through the high speed corners. I think it should be a good year for us. I’m really proud to be an American driver with an American engine thanks to the 1.6 litre Ford EcoBoost engine that is used in British F4.”

Olli Caldwell completes TRS Arden’s four-car assault and is aiming to win the inaugural Ford F4 Challenge Cup in his rookie season in British F4. Challenge Cup drivers will race in seven meetings during the season for a share of a £10,000 prize fund courtesy of Ford Motor Company and free entry to the overall championship in 2018 worth £15,000.

Following an international karting career, which brought great success both in the UK and Europe, Caldwell competed in the second half of Ginetta Junior Championship last year. The young racer from Stockbridge, Hampshire will be the youngest ever driver to join the F4 grid on 11 June at Croft, as he turns 15 on the very same day as his first British F4 race!

Olli Caldwell: “I’m really excited to be joining Arden for this season’s F4 British Championship.  It’s something I have worked hard for over the last few years, having been through the Young Racing Driver Academy since I was 11 years old – I have received the best support throughout my career so far, I’m ready to take on the F4 Challenge Cup to claim the title.”
­­­
Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden Team Manager: “I’m delighted to welcome the drivers on board for the 2017 season. It is great working with the YRDA once again, and to have a full four-car line up. The championship focuses on the young talent, and within the team we have four of the most talented young drivers on the scene. We have been working closely with the drivers over the winter period – last week at Oulton Park for the first official test we proved we have incredible pace this year. I’m looking forward to the first race at Brands Hatch.”