Title rivals Piastri and Caroline top the times in British F4 testing at Brands Hatch

  • Piastri posts quickest time of the day in dry afternoon session.
  • Caroline tops wet morning running.

29 SEPTEMBER, 2017 – F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title protagonists Jamie Caroline and Oscar Piastri came to the fore in testing ahead of this weekend’s season finale at Brands Hatch.

TRS Arden’s Piastri ended the day quickest having topped the majority of the dry afternoon session, and after winding up second in the rain hit morning session by a margin of 0.047s to championship leader Caroline.

“Today was my first time in a British F4 car around the Brands Hatch GP circuit so I’m particularly pleased with my performance, especially compared to Caroline who has much more experience around here,” said pacesetter Piastri.

“We were quick out of the box and less than half a tenth off in the wet which was pretty good. Then in the afternoon we were very quick on old tyres and were even quicker on new tyres. We’ve had the pace throughout.

“It was only testing so I wasn’t pushing to the absolute maximum, as was probably the case up and down the paddock. I know I’ve got plenty more pace to unleash.

“It’s quite an unforgiving track so one mistake can result in you paying quite a lot for it and I was wary of that at this early stage.

“Hopefully I can maintain my pace advantage into the rest of the weekend. Qualifying will be important because it’s quite hard to overtake around here.

“Winning the championship will be tough, but we’ll go out there to win as many races as we can this weekend. Even if we don’t pull it off, it would be nice to secure second place in the standings from the likes of Sargeant and Quinn.”

Throughout his Ford EcoBoost-powered career Caroline has excelled in the wet and today was no exception around the circuit where he took his maiden win in the series. Caroline ultimately had to settle for fifth on the combined classification after a trip to the barriers in free practice two left him with a wounded car.

“Today has been alright, apart from putting the car in the barriers very early on in the second session which meant the steering was out for the rest of it,” said Caroline.

“I came in with about five laps left on the clock as it wasn’t possible to improve with car the way it was. There is plenty of time up our sleeve.

“Even with damage we were fifth quickest. So without that we would have been P1 or P2.

“In the wet we would have been quicker because my best lap was done when the track was at its wettest. I didn’t really get a clear run towards the end of the session when the rain had eased off. If I had, my margin at the top would have been greater.”

Piastri was equally impressive and in the afternoon set a strong pace to put himself three tenths of a second clear of his nearest challengers, Logan Sargeant (Carlin) and Alex Quinn (TRS Arden), with a lap of 1m 26.497s.

“It’s been a solid Friday,” said Sargeant. “P3 in the wet and P2 in the dry. We improved by one position during today so hopefully we can do one more tomorrow.

“We’re still quite close to Oscar in the championship and beating him is essential for me to become vice champion, so I’ll be pushing 100 per cent as always to get wins and bring home one-two finishes for Carlin.”

Added Quinn: “Our pace is good. We’re not far off Oscar. There’s definitely an improvement to be made overnight. I had to contend with a couple of technical problems and that held me back a bit.

“Nevertheless, we were still pretty quick and we can get on top of all these little problems for the rest of the weekend to make a step forward and fight for big results.”

Sandwiching Caroline on the timesheet was Ayrton Simmons (TRS Arden) and Linus Lundqvist (Double R), both drivers making up the leading sextet all within four tenths of a second of each other.

Oliver York was quickest of the Fortec Motorsports runners having been fourth fastest in the morning and seventh fastest in the afternoon, ending up ahead of team-mate Hampus Ericsson.

With mixed conditions forecast during the weekend an already fascinating battle for the Ford F4 Challenge Cup between Ericsson and Harry Webb, who are tied on points, looks even more intriguing.

Richardson Racing’s Webb has made a habit of shining in the wet and was comfortably inside the top 10 in the morning, while Ericsson who has limited experience in the conditions could only manage 13th. However, the tables turned in the dry with Ericsson the Class pacesetter.

TRS Arden’s Olli Caldwell will be a key player in the Challenge Cup this weekend too. Ninth quickest overall and only a couple of tenths slower than Ericsson suggesting that the top step of the rostrum is going to be intensely fought over by the trio. Meanwhile Falcon Motorsport’s Lucca Allen will look to get in the mix to take his first win.

The Ford EcoBoost-powered action gets underway at 0900 tomorrow. It will be lights out for Round 28 of the F4 British Championship at 1400 when Caroline will aim to wrap up the title. In what promises to be a blockbuster day of single-seater entertainment, a further race will follow at 1700. The season finale will commence at 1502 on Sunday and televised live on ITV4.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Leading testing times Brands Hatch GP, 29 September, 2017 (am/pm)
1 Oscar PIASTRI / AUS / Arden 1:42.311 / 1:26.497
2 Logan SARGEANT / USA / Carlin 1:42.568 / 1:26.802
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Arden 1:43.036 / 1:26.875
4 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:43.550 / 1:26.885
5 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Carlin 1:42.264 / 1:26.886
6 Linus LUNDQVIST / SWE / Double R 1:43.085 / 1:26.897
7 Oliver YORK / GBR / Fortec 1:42.942 / 1:27.204
8 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 1:45.281 / 1:27.544
9 Olli CALDWELL / GBR / Arden 1:44.873 / 1:27.772
10 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Carlin 1:44.446 / 1:27.808 etc.

Full times