Ford’s young stars ready to rock

  • Eight drivers still in with a realistic chance of the title as Max Fewtrell leads the way going into Rockingham meeting.

25 AUGUST, 2016 – Just nine races remain to decide the outcome of this year’s F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. The title fight is wide open with no less than eight drivers still having a realistic shot at top honours.

Championship leader Max Fewtrell arrives at Rockingham Motor Speedway battling to defend his slender points lead after keeping cool amid the fireworks out on track at Knockhill and adding yet another valuable podium to his tally.

Fewtrell is part of the formidable Carlin quartet which includes Devlin DeFrancesco, James Pull and Petru Florescu. The squad were dominant in pre-season testing at Rockingham. Don’t be surprised to see more of the same.

During a dramatic weekend of Ford EcoBoost-powered junior single-seater racing just a fortnight ago, it was Australians Luis Leeds (TRS Arden) and Zane Goddard (Double R Racing) who came out on top with a win apiece. As others around them faltered, the Aussies were in the ascendancy and in doing so put themselves into thick of title fight; Red Bull Junior Leeds now sitting just five points adrift of Fewtrell.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn also made strides in the standings, finally having a weekend where he could showcase his true pace; claiming a race victory and romping further clear in the Rookie Class.

JHR’s Sennan Fielding is another serious contender for the title and despite a Knockhill weekend that didn’t quite come together, he showed flashes of speed which if unleashed consistently could prove devastating. Team-mates Billy Monger and Jack Butel have no shortage of talent behind the wheel either so are also likely to be in the mix.

Elsewhere, TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins, as well as star rookies Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons all have the potential to compete towards the sharp end.

Jamie Caroline and Frank Bird are hungry for more strong point scoring success, with Nicolai Kjaergaard wanting to rediscover the form he showed at Snetterton last month.

Compatriot Patrik Matthiesen (JTR) returns after missing out on Knockhill and Richardson Racing’s Alexandra Marinescu re-joins the cohort of Ford EcoBoost-powered young talent.

Carrie Schreiner also returns for Double R; the highlight of her last British F4 outing a fantastic fourth place at Thruxton.

The Ford EcoBoost-powered action gets underway with two test sessions tomorrow ahead of official qualifying at 1020 and Round 22 of the Championship at 1415 on Saturday. The action then ramps up even more on Sunday with the second race of the weekend at 1050 and the final race starting at 1552 which will be screened live on ITV4.

Rockingham timetable
Friday 26 August
1205-1305 & 1655-1755 Testing

Saturday 27 August
1020 Qualifying; 1415 Race 1

Sunday 28 August
1050 Race 2; 1552 Race 3 LIVE ON ITV4

On TV – Live on ITV4 & itv.com/btcc Sunday 1552
On Radio – Listen to live circuit commentary on British F4 Radio.
Listen to interviews throughout the weekend here.

Zane Goddard blitzes British F4 field for Knockhill win

  • Goddard in a league of his own as he flies to second British F4 win of the year.
  • Quinn makes it a hat-trick of Rookie class victories at Knockhill.
  • Leeds pulls off stunning overtake on his way to second in the race and the standings.

KNOCKHILL 14 AUGUST, 2016 – Zane Goddard claimed an emphatic win in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford feature race at Knockhill. He led home compatriot Luis Leeds and Racing Steps Foundation backed Alex Quinn.

Goddard had been exceptional off the line in the preceding British F4 races this weekend and it was the same story for Round 21 of the Championship, as he flew past Leeds for second place into turn one.

The Australian then set about Quinn who led from pole. The breakthrough came sooner than he perhaps imagined. Quinn locked up on tyres that weren’t quite up to optimal temperature into Taylor’s Hairpin and Goddard needed no encouragement to scythe his way up the inside.

His Double R-prepared race car looked like it was on rails around the 1.27 mile Fife track; the team clearly having set the car up perfectly. Goddard maximised the Ford EcoBoost-powered machinery at his disposal and was simply untouchable, unsurprisingly recording fastest lap on the way to his second British F4 victory.

Said Goddard: “I was super consistent. It felt perfect. The whole race played out perfectly. It couldn’t have been any better. I’m really happy. Huge thanks to the team and the fans. They’ve been great and cheering me on as I crossed the line.

“The car was so good it was hard to actually do anything wrong in it. The car was hooked up and fantastic.

“The starts have been so good lately. We keep nailing them and hopefully we can keep this up in the future.”

“Knockhill is a track where there isn’t too much braking which means you’re pushing the car quite hard most of the time and to the limit which is tricky to do, but it’s rewarding when it works out.

Despite losing out to Goddard at the start there was no let-up from Leeds who focused on getting past Quinn and he did so with arguably the overtake of the weekend.

The Red Bull Junior ducking to the outside of Quinn into Taylor’s Hairpin forcing him to cover and then making a split-second switch down the Fortec racer’s inside under braking without locking up. A beautiful move, showcasing extremely fair and respectful driving from both drivers who exhibited true class.

Explained Leeds: “We had a lot of pace. This weekend started off pretty average in qualifying when we were unfortunate not to be on slicks at the right time, but we didn’t lose our focus.

“We got pole for race two and turned things around from there. We’re pretty close to leading the championship now and we must keep moving forward.

“This morning I was 48 points off the lead and now I’m only five away which is the beauty of this sport.

Speaking about his epic overtaking manoeuvre: “I learnt that move from Daniel Ricciardo when he did something very similar to Vettel at Monza when they were team-mates and I really hope he gets to watch my move today.

“I saw Alex make a mistake and I was originally going to go around the outside, but I thought I would make it look cool and switch to going down the inside. It looks pretty cool on camera I think.”

Quinn was solid in third and rounded out a strong weekend with yet another Rookie class victory. His 12th of the campaign.

Said Quinn: “I lost the lead to Zane on the opening lap and I think that was just down to tyre temperature which we have been struggling with all weekend, but I’m still really happy with this. A win (following’s Florescu’s exclusion from the meeting) and a podium is not a bad thing to be coming out of the weekend with.

“I’m really happy with my performance and the team’s performance. It’s definitely been a step higher after the summer break. It’s great to be back at the top here and I’m looking forward to the next round.”

A cracking battle for fourth emerged as the race progressed as JHR’s Sennan Fielding found himself fending off Max Fewtrell, Rafael Martins and James Pull. The latter having already pulled off superb move to overtake Kjaergaard.

Commented Fielding: “We made quite a drastic change to the car before the race which didn’t seem to work so I did well to get fourth. I’ve not felt too well in myself all weekend so I think this is one of those weekends you just have to brush under the carpet.

“We could have capitalised more on what happened this weekend [to other title rivals]. We had good pace in the car, but I know we have good pace in the car for Rockingham too and we were quick there last year. We’ve made a lot of improvements since then and I know we can do a really good job.”

Meanwhile Caroline and DeFrancesco resumed battle after the day’s earlier race as they jostled for eighth in entertaining fashion.

Kjaergaard rounded out the top ten claiming a well-deserved point and closing the gap to Jack Martin for second in the Rookie class, with Martin crossing the line less than three tenths behind the Dane.

Said Kjaergaard: “It’s been a tough weekend really. We’ve struggled with the setup of the car and I haven’t managed to adapt to this track as well as I would have hoped. I still managed to keep some of the rookies’ behind me though which has given me good points for the rookie championship.”

Ayrton Simmons and Frank Bird also showcased their wheel to wheel prowess with an enthralling battle for much of the race, whilst Monger was unfortunate to spin having been as high as sixth.

Provisional results Round 21 Knockhill 14 August 2016
24 laps / 30.4 miles
1 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 20m 18.396s / 89.84 mph
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +5.815s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +8.354s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +11.276s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +11.593s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +12.092s
7 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +12.533s
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Fortec +21.287s
9 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +21.603s
10 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec +26.364s etc.

Fastest lap Zane Goddard 50.232s / 90.80 mph

Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Kjaergaard, 3 Martin, 4 Simmons

Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 232, 2 Leeds 227, 3 DeFrancesco 214, =4 Fielding 210, =4 Pull 210, 6 Florescu 202, 7 Goddard 178, 8 Quinn 174, 9 Martins 128, 10 Caroline 122 etc.

Rookie class
1 Quinn 399, 2 J. Martin 288, 3 Kjaergaard 283, 4 Simmons 236, 5 R. Martin 130

Full results

Red Bull Junior Leeds charges to British F4 victory as fireworks fly

  • Luis Leeds shines on his way to third British F4 win.
  • Championship leaders Florescu and DeFrancesco crash out.
  • Enthralling 13 car battle for the final podium place.

KNOCKHILL 14 AUGUST, 2016 – Luis Leeds stood on the top step of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford podium for the third time this season after a perfect drive from pole.

The Red Bull Junior star made a clean getaway off the line and had enough pace in hand to keep Double R’s fast starting Zane Goddard at bay. Goddard having leapt past Jamie Caroline who stuttered off the line due to making a false start fractions of a second beforehand.

The two Aussies sped away from the field unaware of the drama that was to unfold behind them. Leeds recording fastest lap in the process and bringing home a victory which puts him right in the thick of the championship battle.

Said a beaming Leeds: “We’ve had a tough run of things lately, but we’ve worked so hard as a team. The car feels pretty perfect this weekend. We’re really on it and really starting to get things together now so we can be a real contender for this championship.

“I was pushing hard every lap out there. I was pretty chilled out at the start. I knew what I had to do. I then just kept my head down and pushed lap after lap.

“Everyone has had their share of bad luck this season. Hopefully we’ve had all of ours and we can get this championship.

“Big thanks to Dr Marko, the Red Bull team and Arden who are behind me. Things are going really well and we just need to keep this form going now.”

Commented Goddard: “I got a good start again. Not quite as good as yesterday, but fortunately Jamie didn’t get a good start so I got past him straight away and then I was behind Luis. I was quicker than him in some parts of the track and he was quicker in others. Second is great with really good points.

I think the team and I have done a fantastic job to be fighting at the front against the bigger teams so all credit to Double R. This result is well deserved. Hopefully we can get another good start in the final race and be on the podium again.”

Caroline received a 10 second time penalty for his false start but in typical Caroline fashion fought tooth and nail with a plethora of cars behind. It quickly became a 13 car battle for the final podium place as a train of Ford EcoBoost-powered cars raced nose to tail around the 1.27-mile Knockhill circuit.

Carlin’s DeFrancesco and Petru Florescu were in the pound seats swarming all over the back the back of Caroline. DeFrancesco ducking and diving in his attempts to get past the Fortec racer. It was to no avail however and as the race drew ever closer to its conclusion it ended in tears for the Carlin pairing.

Caroline’s robust defence unsettling DeFrancesco at Taylor’s hairpin, allowing Florescu to move alongside his team-mate down the main straight. The title rivals made contact, sliding into the tyre barriers and blowing the title race wide open.

Following the incident the officials chose to exclude Florescu from the meeting due to a trackside altercation, whilst DeFrancesco and Caroline were handed ten place grid penalties to be taken when possible to do so.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn found himself surrounded by the Carlin quartet for much of the race. Petru Florescu sneaking past early on, but then found James Pull and Max Fewtrell all over him. Fewtrell eventually found a way past and the fireworks between his team-mates provided him with a valuable third place.

Said Fewtrell: “Starting eighth I knew it would hectic around a track like this. It was kind of like karting all over again. I did a few good moves to get myself up the order and then I knew it would kick off so I was just waiting, ready to pounce.

“I think I did well and I’m happy with the podium after a difficult day yesterday. You’ve always got to keep an open mind and try to place yourself in the right position to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully today it did.”

Despite just missing out on the podium, Quinn found consolation in claiming his 11th Rookie class win of the year. Ayrton Simmons joined him on the podium for the second time of the weekend taking sixth overall, whilst Kjaergaard made a welcome return to the rookie celebrations with third in class.

Explained Quinn: “It was a harder race compared to yesterday because we weren’t on new tyres and others were. The car has improved though, but I would like a little bit more for the race this afternoon.

“I’m starting from pole so I think we have a good opportunity to take the win, but it’s going to be all about getting a good start and building a gap which I think we can do.

“All the Carlin cars have been so strong this season so it was tough against them. I struggled with a bit of understeer in turn six which had an impact down the back straight where there is a good opportunity to overtake so I had to defend really hard, but I did my best and still got fourth.”

JHR’s duo of Sennan Fielding and Billy Monger showed flashes front running pace, fighting up the order, but found themselves bottled up behind Simmons and Martins ahead. In a full blown TRS Arden vs JHR Developments duel, it was the resplendent red TRS Arden cars which came out on top.

Falcon Motorsports’ Alexandra Mohnhaupt drove brilliantly, equalling her best finish of her fledgling British F4 career.

Provisional results Round 20 Knockhill 14 August 2016
17 laps / 21.53 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 16m 15.334s / 79.49 mph
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +0.467s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.257s
4 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +3.026s
5 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +3.448s
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +4.018s
7 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +5.343s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +6.188s
9 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +6.568s
10 Frank BIRD / GBR / Fortec +7.534s etc.

Fastest lap Luis Leeds 49.814s / 91.56 mph

Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Simmons, 3 Kjaergaard

Round 21 grid Quinn – Leeds – Goddard – Fielding – Monger – Fewtrell – Martins – Pull – Kjaergaard – DeFrancesco etc.

Full results

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.”