Cars turn left at the Lausitzring as spray from a previous rainstorm blankets the main straight

Report: ADAC F4 on the brink of collapse

In recent days, multiple reports have surfaced suggesting that the 2023 ADAC Formula 4 season will not go ahead and even that the whole championship could disappear from the junior single-seater scene. F1 Feeder Series tells you everything we know so far about the state of the German racing series.

By Jan Husmann

Single-seater motorsport in Germany has never again reached the astronomical heights of the early 2000s, when Michael Schumacher dominated Formula One. Afterwards, there was a rise in German talent coming up in the sport, which fuelled German motorsport until recently. But with the departures of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher from the Formula 1 grid, Nico Hülkenberg will be the sole German on the F1 grid in 2023, returning on a full-time basis for the first time since 2019.

As if this were not troubling enough, German single-seaters could suffer another big blow in the coming weeks. On Thursday evening, Austrian website formelaustria.at reported that the 2023 season of ADAC F4 would be cancelled. This is backed up by italiaracing.net, which reported on Friday that ADAC F4 would close its doors for good.

Uncertainty surrounding the future

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) told F1 Feeder Series that they would not comment on any rumours regarding ADAC F4 but that they would present their plans for the 2023 season in the coming days. However, teams have already become frustrated with the uncertainty around the series. US Racing, who have competed in ADAC F4 since the series’ inception in 2015, told F1 Feeder Series that their focus will shift full-time to Italian Formula 4 in 2023. They had already skipped three of the six ADAC F4 rounds in 2022.

While 2023 schedules were announced by Italian and Spanish F4, among other championships, the future of ADAC F4 remains uncertain. US Racing said that they have had more difficulty planning ADAC F4 campaigns since 2020 and that teams and drivers have looked elsewhere as a result.

Cars turn left through the sweeping left-hander at Turn 2 of the Sachsenring
A record-low eight cars started Race 1 of ADAC F4’s 2021 Sachsenring round | Credit: ADAC

In recent years, ADAC F4 lost out to Italian F4 in terms of driver quantity, but the quality of the field remained among the top in Europe. F1 driver academies have developed a habit of putting their drivers through combined Italian and ADAC F4 campaigns, with the best drivers dominating both in the same year, as Ollie Bearman and Andrea Kimi Antonelli have done in the past two years.

Top talents seek competition

In years past, the likes of current Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu competed in ADAC F4, and recently, Bearman and Antonelli took the title on their way up the ladder. Featuring venues like Spa-Francorchamps, the Hockenheimring and the Nürburgring, the ADAC F4 Championship always had value to young drivers, who could gain experience on proper grand prix tracks.

But while the talent was always of high quality, the fact that the series was, for many drivers in recent years, an addition to an Italian F4 campaign has made it easily replaceable. Italiaracing.net suggested that WSK Promotion and ACI Sport, which jointly oversee Italian F4, would implement a new championship called Euro 4 as an extension of Italian F4 to give drivers additional race weekends in the same series instead of in ADAC F4. Euro 4 would be an international Formula 4 competition with three events throughout the year.

Changes at ADAC Motorsport

The motorsport branch of the ADAC seems set for change soon. On Thursday, it was confirmed that the ADAC is in talks with ITR regarding joint events. ITR is the head organisation of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), which, since its switch to GT3 cars in 2021, is in direct competition for drivers and teams with the ADAC GT Masters series. Neither series has confirmed their schedule for the 2023 season.

ADAC F4 has been a support series of ADAC GT Masters for four of its six race weekends in 2022. Because the two series share the same organising body, this arrangement was expected to continue in the upcoming season. But with the uncertainty surrounding the GT Masters season, there is no announcement expected soon regarding the future of ADAC F4.

Even though new ADAC sport president Gerd Esner recently reiterated the ADAC’s commitment to supporting motorsports in Germany, this does not necessarily include its Formula 4 series. For now, a lot of questions remain unanswered as one of the most important F4 series in recent years finds itself in a state of uncertainty.

Header photo credit: ADAC

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