For the whole of 2022, championship-winning drivers like Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Alex Dunne and Nikola Tsolov have been heralded as the standout drivers in Formula 4. However, with success in the category being heavily dependent on a driver’s machinery, several unnoticed stars ought to be acknowledged. Here are seven of the most impressive F4 drivers of 2022 you may not have heard about.
By Alexander Studenkov
Jerónimo Berrío – French F4 (6th place)
Having started out into his first racing season on the European continent – and his first year of F4 for that matter – Berrío did not cover himself in glory at the season opener, failing to score points at Nogaro. From that moment on, however, the Colombian showed the perfect example of a steady learning curve. He began to score regular points from Round 2 onwards and took podiums at Magny-Cours, Spa and Valencia, all before capping the season off with a win at the finale in Le Castellet, showing great maturity against the more experienced Dario Cabanelas.
With plans in place for a move into Spanish F4, Berrío can use his newfound experience and positive momentum to his advantage next year.
Joseph Loake – British F4 (5th place)
A returnee to the category with three wins under his belt from 2021, Loake saw his title aspirations fall flat due to the switch to the new Tatuus F4-T421 chassis, which left his team, JHR Developments, chasing feeder series powerhouses Carlin and Hitech from the beginning of the campaign. Loake made the best of his predicament, picking up frequent podiums and four wins, including two from pole at Brands Hatch.
The Briton is heavily linked with a step to the GB3 Championship, where he could prove himself as a familiar face on the rostrum.
Kacper Sztuka – Italian F4 (6th place)
After scoring no points in 2021 while driving for the Slovenia-based AS Motorsport, Sztuka was confident that US Racing would give him a good platform to fight at the front. Despite a lack of money that hindered the Pole from conducting as many private tests as his rivals and several mechanical retirements, Sztuka won two races, having shown great composure in his racecraft.
His financial issues could deprive us of a driver who was quick and mature enough to battle frequently against both his rapid teammate Dunne and the dominant Prema team.
Rasmus Joutsimies – ADAC F4 (8th place)
Being the oldest yet least experienced driver on the ADAC F4 grid this year, Joutsimies had been denied an earlier move into single-seaters primarily thanks to budget constraints. The Finn, racing with Jenzer Motorsport for the season, scored in all but two races, although a more impressive accolade was his maiden podium at a rainy Lausitzring.
Pertinently, Joutsimies also came second in the rookies’ championship to Rafael Câmara, a result that has now put him onto the radar of one Helmut Marko and the Red Bull Junior Team.
Valerio Rinicella – Spanish F4 (6th place)
One of several to make their car racing debuts in F4 UAE, Rinicella competed in both Spanish and Italian F4, although it was the former that brought him success. Regardless of his being the youngest full-time driver in Spanish F4, Rinicella took two podiums and sixth place in the standings, demonstrating added consistency near the season’s end.
The young man from Rome drove for MP Motorsport in the postseason FRECA test, so an early promotion looks highly probable.
Tymoteusz Kucharczyk – Spanish F4 (3rd place)
An even more impressive rookie on the Iberian Peninsula was Kucharczyk. Overcoming huge financial hurdles, the Pole proved to be the only other regular competitor to the Campos pairing of Tsolov and Hugh Barter, whilst also beating his MP teammate and F4 veteran Kirill Smal.
A win at Jerez and 12 podiums in 21 races, coupled with third in the overall standings, prove that Kucharczyk is a talent to be nurtured.
Louis Sharp – British F4 (4th place)
A graduate of New Zealand’s Formula Ford scene, Sharp was forced to skip the season opener at Donington Park because he had not yet turned the minimum competition age of 15, although once he joined, his skill was put on display immediately. His racing prowess made him a contender for wins, the first of which came at Oulton Park, where Sharp managed to make his Carlin teammates, F1 academy members Ollie Gray and Ugo Ugochukwu, look noticeably less impressive.
Finishing in fourth place overall in British F4, only 18 points behind Ugochukwu, and with twelve podiums to his name, Sharp is the best Kiwi talent on the ladder since Liam Lawson.
Header photo credit: US Racing, Jakob Ebrey Photography, MP Motorsport; collage by F1 Feeder Series
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