As a driver you want to make a lasting impression in your first year of open wheel car racing. These drivers have done just that in Formula 4 series around the world. And if they keep improving, you might see some of these young talents in Formula 1 in a couple of years. (By: Floris Visman)
Most of the drivers featured in this list have come straight out of karting into the world of open wheel racing. The difference in speed, downforce and pressure is immense. So it’s not always that a driver that dominates in karting, is successful in a racing car. But these lightning fast teenagers have proven themselves in their debut year in Formula 4.
So let’s have it, in alphabetical order: these are ten Formula 4 rookies you should definitely keep an eye on.
Paul Aron (15, Estonia)
His brother Ralf Aron (Former Euro F3) isn’t racing this year, so Paul is defending the family honour on the race track. And the 15-year old Estonian is doing so brilliantly. He participates in ADAC F4 and the Italian F4 championship, as many other drivers do. Coming straight from karting, the talented drivers scored three wins in total this year: two in ADAC F4 and one in Italian F4. He has climbed the podium seven times total. And the good news is: he has kept up with his more experienced team mate at Prema, Gianluca Petecof. Mercedes is impressed by Aron and signed him as a junior.
Alex Connor (15, Great Britain)
Alex Connor is young. He is so young that he had to miss the first round of British F4 because he wasn’t old enough. But back in April he turned 15 and it was just in time for the second round at Donington Park. While he hasn’t reached the podium yet with his Arden, he is remarkably consistent. In the eighteen races he did, he scored sixteen times and only failed to finish once. And whilst consistency alone isn’t enough it’s something to build on as a 15-year old rookie. Connor, who was born in Dubai, sits tenth in the standings with a highest finish of fourth.
Hadrien David (15, France)
Whilst only in his first year of car racing, Hadrien David (Yes, David is his last name) has been busy. In his first open wheel car racing season he has featured in French F4, ADAC F4 and F4 SEA. In that last category he absolutely destroyed the competition. While he has featured only in eight races because of his duties in other series, he won six out of the eight races he participated in. In French F4 he leads the championship with six wins despite three DNF’s. It’s only a matter of time before a Formula 1 team snaps him up as a junior.
Joshua Dürksen (15, Paraguay)
The hopes of an entire nation rest on the shoulders of young Joshua Dürksen. And the 15-year old is coping amazingly well. He started the season in the United Arab Emirates to compete in F4 UAE and finished second winning five times and reaching the podium ten times in total with Mücke Motorsport. He continued with the team into ADAC F4 and Italian F4. Whilst his season in the German championship isn’t what he expected yet, finishing on the podium only once, he won a race in Italian F4. And with three podiums in total his sits in seventh. Results he can build on in a second season.
Jonny Edgar (15, Great Britain)
Whilst only 15-years old, Jonny Edgar is already a Red Bull Junior. So pressure is high for him, but he is coping well. In his first full season in Italian F4 he has outscored his team mates and got Jenzer’s second podium at Imola last weekend. In his sole outing in Spanish F4, he scored three podiums in three races, only to be topped by his more experienced team mate Giorgio Carrara. Edgar is adapting quickly to car racing, but knowing Red Bull he has to start getting regular podiums next year.
Tijmen van der Helm (15, The Netherlands)
It’s been a rollercoaster season for karting star Tijmen van der Helm, that started in F4 UAE. There he only did the second and third round, but managed to win a race and get three podiums in total. After this he joined MP Motorsport in the Spanish F4 championship. His time there has been one of highs and lows. He got five podiums in twelve races (a nice ratio), but also had a complete off weekend at Paul Ricard finishing thirteenth, seventeenth and fourteenth. If 15-year old Van der Helm can find consistency, he can go on to do great things.
Zane Maloney (15, Barbados)
Zane Maloney may be the outstanding Formula 4 rookie of the season. In his debut season in British F4, the first ever driver from Barbados has won a record seven races in a row (not counting the Croft race where eventually half points were awarded). He leads the standings, comprehensively beating his Carlin team mate Joe Turney (although Turney only did five rounds to Maloney’s seven). It’s a wonder the talented driver isn’t snapped up yet by a Formula 1 team.
Matteo Nannini (16, Italy)
Italian driver Matteo Nannini (Family of ex-F1 driver Alessandro Nannini) has already made a step up in his first season of car racing. He started in F4 UAE and dominated the championship, eventually winning it, reaching the podium sixteen times in twenty races. After this successful start of the year, the Italian began racing in Spanish F4. But after only one round he got a call from Corbetta to drive in the Formula Regional European Championship. There he is still adjusting to the more powerful machinery, but has proven himself a regular points finisher.
Elias Seppänen (15, Finland)
Finland has a history of fine Formula 1 drivers and Elias Seppänen is trying to become one. As a 15-year old he is leading the F4 South East Asian championship in front of Irish Lucca Allen. Coming straight from karting he scored five wins and eighteen podiums in total in 28 races. And that as the youngest driver in the field. The Finn could work on his outright speed grabbing only two pole positions. But when he gets that under control, who knows what his limit will be.
Roman Stanek (15, Czech Republic)
We conclude with one of the top Formula 4 rookies of 2019: Roman Stanek. As other drivers he has driven in three series already this year. The most important one being ADAC F4. In that championship he ranks third with two wins and four podiums in total. But even more important for the youngster from the Czech Republic is that Alfa Romeo has taken a liking to him and added him to their Sauber Junior Team. With their backing and his talent, the 15-year old can go a long way.
Honorable mentions: Zijian He (Second in Chinese F4), Jak Crawford (Second in F4 NACAM) & Christian Brooks (Third in F4 US)