In September, Gedlich Racing announced the creation of the Formula Winter Series for February 2023. Several months later, some prestigious teams have joined the series and excitement is building up. F1 Feeder Series spoke to the FWS promoters about this new championship and their ambitious plans for the future that could revive the German F4 scene.
By Perceval Wolff
December is the part of the year when drivers and teams, finally, get some rest after intensive post-season testing in order to prepare next year’s campaign. However, these holidays are quite short as winter championships often start in January, with Formula Regional Middle-East, F4 UAE and Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand.
These championships have been around for years and offer some warm-welcomed racing to fans, but also for drivers who want to prepare for their main championship. In Formula 4, UAE F4 used to be the only option during the winter for the drivers, before the weather improved for a European-based series later in the year. Up steps Formula Winter Series, due to hold four rounds in Spain from February to March at Jerez, Valencia, Navarra and Barcelona.
A winter series in Europe
“The big advantage of Formula Winter Series is of course that you don’t need to go to another continent, it’s much closer to all the team’s factories, you can do testing and racing during winter for a very cheap price compared to F4 UAE. It’s much less of an effort for logistics.” explained Robin Selbach, the Sales and Consulting Director of the championship and of Gedlich Racing. “We also divided the calendar in two back-to-back events to reduce travel for all the FWS teams.”
Before this, I was a team manager so I have experience from both the organisation and the team sideRobin Selbach, Sales and Consulting Director of the Formula Winter Series
Robin Selbach may not be a well-known name in feeder series, but he sure has some experience, especially with Gedlich Racing. “It is a growing name in motorsport. We have been running the GT Winter Series for a couple of years now, we hold a lot of test days all over Europe. I’m responsible for sales of GT Winter Series and now Formula Winter Series at Gedlich Racing. But before this, I was a team manager so I have experience from both the organisation and the team side.” he explains.
The Formula Winter Series have put an emphasis on track time, as drivers will have four hours of free practice before qualifying and races on the final day of the weekend. “For a young driver, it’s so important to get experience and if they start in Italian, British or Spanish F4, it’s very good for them to have some valuable track time before, to get used to the car, to the tracks, and also to the teams.”
Prestigious teams joining
One month after the launch of FWS, US Racing, AS Motorsport and AKM were the first teams that announced joining the Spanish-based series. They were quickly followed by PHM Racing, Jenzer Motorsport and BWR. All these teams are racing in Italian F4, while we could have expected Spanish F4 teams joining the series as the tracks used are the same.
“Spanish F4 teams are welcomed in our championship, and some of them are also interested, but there is a testing restriction in Spanish F4 after March 1st. So Spanish F4 drivers who will participate to the last two rounds of FWS will get penalised because these two meetings will take place under the testing restriction. That’s why it’s more interesting for the competitors of Italian or other F4 series.”
Maybe, we will try to do something in Germany for the summer in 2024Robin Selbach
The Formula Winter Series final round at Barcelona could be a good preparation to the future Euro 4 series from ACI (also Italian F4’s promoter) that is yet to be announced, as this three-event series could have a stop in Catalonia.
’15 to 20′ drivers are expected for the first race in February at Jerez, which could be the average number for the season. All drivers will run the new Gen2 Tatuus F4-T421 cars, with Abarth engines, as in most of the F4 series.
However, no live streaming will be provided, but ‘highlights on social media, reels, stories and live timing will be available.’ As the series is not FIA-certified, no Super Licence points will be awarded for this first season, and drivers will have to be more than 15 years old to enter a weekend.
Plans of expansion in Germany?
Gedlich Racing is a German group, launching a new series in Spain, as German weather in winter would make it difficult to offer good racing over the winter months. However, the start of FWS comes at the same time as ADAC F4 collapse. Could there be plans of exporting the Formula Winter Series in Germany? “I can’t tell you everything for the moment. Of course, we are thinking about what we can do, but there are no concrete plans for the moment.”
“First of all, we want to do the FWS in a very good way, we want to expand it for the coming seasons, maybe in 2024. So maybe, we will try to do something in Germany for the summer in 2024. It’s an option.”
Formula Winter Series will hold their first weekend at Jerez from February 10th to 12th.
Header photo credit: Formula Winter Series
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