Overhead shot of the entrance to Turn 1 at the Bugatti Circuit, with cars in pit lane and one car on track

Your season guide to the 2023 French F4 Championship

It’s Easter this weekend! And as has been tradition for several years now, Easter weekend is when French F4 kicks off its new season at Nogaro on the Circuit Paul Armagnac. With the largest grid ever in 30 years of existence, the single-team championship is set for one of its greatest seasons. Here is our guide to the 2023 French F4 season.

By Perceval Wolff

Pierre Gasly, Anthoine Hubert, Ye Yifei, Sacha Fenestraz, Victor Martins, Caio Collet, Théo Pourchaire, Pierre-Louis Chovet, Arthur Leclerc, Hadrien David, Ayumu Iwasa, Isack Hadjar… the never-ending list of the drivers that started their successful career in French F4 became a little longer after 2022 thanks to 2023 FRECA driver Alessandro Giusti and FIA F3 driver Hugh Barter.

This year, the grid will consist of 26 drivers, the biggest the championship has ever had. Thirteen nationalities are represented, with 20 rookies and 6 returning drivers. We have already reported on the main takeaways from the final pre-season testing days, but it is now time to go deeper and discover the drivers of the 2023 French F4 season, the calendar, the weekend format and more.

The calendar

Round 1 – Nogaro (8–10 April, alongside FFSA GT)
Round 2 – Magny-Cours (5–7 May, alongside FFSA GT)
Round 3 – Pau (12–14 May, alongside EF Open)
Round 4 – Spa-Francorchamps (2–4 June, alongside GB3)
Round 5 – Misano (15–16 July, alongside GT World Challenge)
Round 6 – Lédenon (22–24 September, FFSA GT)
Round 7 – Paul-Ricard (6–8 October, alongside FFSA GT)

The standings

Since 2022, all the results of the drivers are counted in the standings. However, a particular rule surely cost Hugh Barter the title last year, as the Australian was illegible to score any points at Spa and Valencia as he had already competed on these two tracks before French F4 when he raced in Spanish F4, giving him what was considered to be an unfair advantage over other drivers.

Hiyu Yamakoshi could be a driver impacted by this rule this year if he signs with Tecnicar in Spanish F4. He would then not score points for the Spa-Francorchamps round.

The format

French F4 keeps the same weekend format as in 2022, with one single qualifying session and three 20 minute + 1 lap races, as well as a 30-minute free practice session on Friday morning followed by 25 minutes of qualifying in the afternoon. At some events, such as this weekend at Nogaro, drivers will be allowed to have several testing sessions to discover the track before official free practice.

On Saturday morning, the first race takes place, with the grid being set from the classification of qualifying. On Saturday afternoon, as in F2, the top 10 from qualifying is reversed to set the starting grid for Race 2. Finally, on Sunday morning, the grid for the third race of the weekend is decided by taking the second-best lap of each driver in qualifying.

French F4 will keep the same weekend format as last year | Credit: Perceval Wolff

However, let’s take into account that this timetable could be shifted by one day depending on the meetings. For the opening round at Nogaro, races will be held on Sunday and (Easter) Monday.

Races 1 and 3 give the same number of points as in F1: 25 for the winner, then 18, 15, 12, et cetera, and one final point for the driver in tenth position. The reverse-grid Race 2 gives fewer points, with 15 points for the driver in P1, then 12, 10, et cetera, then 1 point for the driver in eighth. Each pole position gives one point, and each fastest lap also awards one point.

The car

How did this championship, one of the cheapest FIA-certified F4 series, manage to unveil so many drivers in such a short period of time? Unlike all other F4 championships, there are no teams in French F4. All the Mygale M21-F4 are prepared by the same entity, the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile (FFSA) Academy.

To ensure that all drivers have the same chances to fight for the title (and that a better engine doesn’t give an unfair boost of power to one driver), all drivers that win three races need to swap their engine with a randomly chosen driver.

The drivers

Title contenders

The 2020 French Junior kart champion and fifth-place finisher in French F4 last year with two reverse-grid race wins Enzo Peugeot (#74) is the highest-finishing returner and undoubtedly the biggest favourite in the series given his experience, as FRECA was even considered for him at the end of the year. He will have to withstand the numerous rookies who will do everything to fight him.

With accolades like French senior karting champion, fifth in the OK European Championship, winner of the IAME World Final and the SKUSA Supernats in Las Vegas, and Richard Mille Young Talent Academy finalist under his belt, 16-year-old Evan Giltaire (#95) is already highly regarded and could well be the most exciting drivers to watch.

A major surprise of pre-season testing in 2022 before ultimately finishing only 13th overall, Edgar Pierre (#27) will now hope to clinch wins and podiums after another successful run of pre-season testing sessions this winter. Still supported by Victor Martins’ family management and coaching agency VictoryLane, the 17-year-old knows he must fight for the title to stay in single-seaters in 2024.

Sixteen-year-old Frenchman Romain Andriolo (#16), a Winfield Racing School protégé, has already won in French F4 last year, finishing tenth in the overall standings. Despite testing in Porsche Carrera Cup at the end of the year, he is returning for a second year in French F4, in which he should be one of the frontrunners.

Winfield drivers

Alongside Andriolo, Adrien Closmenil (#14) is one of the three other drivers supported by the Winfield Racing School. He will make his F4 debut after many karting races at the national and international level.

There will be four drivers supported by the Winfield Racing School in French F4 this year | Credit: Perceval Wolff

The British-based American Garrett Berry (#18) was a guest driver in the final French F4 round last year. He is now going for a full-time effort, retaining the support of Winfield. He has showed notable progression in testing.

The final Winfield driver is Ukrainian drift champion Yaroslav Veselaho (#44), who will be closely watched in his adaptation from drifting to single-seaters.

Volant winners

After Lorens Lecertua last year, Belgium will once again have a representative in French F4 with Yani Stevenheydens (#17). Unlike his predecessor, the 17-year-old went through the RACB Road to F4 Volant, a competition between several of the most talented Belgian kart drivers to get a fully funded F4 season. The competition previously unearthed Stoffel Vandoorne, who went on to win the title in what was called F4 Eurocup 1.6 at the time.

Another Volant winner is Kevin Foster (#26) from Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Lemarié’s racing school FEED Racing. After beating many talented French kart drivers in the comeptition, the Canadian-Korean hopes to continue his progression as he moves into full-time single-seaters. He was one of the most impressive drivers in testing thanks to his technical feedback and tyre management.

The grandson of French racing legend Jean-Louis Schlesser, Louis Schlesser (#61) was the runner-up of the 2022 French Long Circuit karting championship after getting up to the quarterfinals of the FEED Racing Volant in August.

ADAC Formel Junior Team

Finn Wiebelhaus (#4), won three karting titles in Germany in 2022, is one of the three representatives of the new ADAC Formel Junior Team. Tom Kalender (#11) was the runner-up of the German Junior karting championship last year.

Joining these two French F4 rookies in the ADAC Formel Junior Team is 16-year-old Max Reis (#28), who was the youngest driver in French F4 last year. Despite having raw speed that propelled him to his maiden podium in Pau, he may have lacked physical preparation. As he returns for a second season in the series, he could be a dark horse in the title fight.

Other drivers

Édouard Borgna (#2) will make his racing debut at 18 years old. Without any karting experience, the Parisian started from zero and has tested a lot during the winter with the Winfield Racing School and with JHR to catch up with the rest of the field.

15-year-old Italian-Brazilian Leonardo Megna (#3) is starting his single-seater career in France. He was one of the frontrunners of the Italian national karting scene in the past few years, winning the ROK Euro Trophy in 2021 and 2022.

After racing under the flag of Andorra, his country of residence, last year, Pol López (#5) returns to French F4 with a Spanish license to represent his nationality. Finishing 21st in his maiden season with a single point last year, he has positively surprised in pre-season testing, but the difference between testing and racing means that no firm conclusions can yet be drawn.

Hiyu Yamakoshi (#6) from Japan is the only driver who has competed in a winter series this year, doing two rounds in F4 UAE with Pinnacle VAR and scoring eight points. He is also rumoured to be doing Spanish and French F4 at the same time, as Barter did last season. Yamakoshi has tested a lot with Tecnicar (formerly called Fórmula de Campeones) during the winter.

Paul Alberto (#7) turned 15 last Friday and will thus be the youngest driver in this year’s French F4. He was the runner-up of the FFSA Junior karting championship in 2021, then fought for top positions in the national senior category a year later. Karel Schulz (#9) from Lorraine will step up to F4 after several podiums in some national competitions.

French F4 cars lined up on pit lane at Le Mans, facing to the right
Unlike all other F4 championships, there are no teams in French F4 | Credit: Perceval Wolff

Coming from rallycross and rallying, Andrei Duna (#10) will be one of the two Romanian drivers of the championship alongside Luca Savu (#37). The latter is considered one of the hottest Romanian prospects, winning the Radical Cup SR1 national championship in sports cars last year at only fourteen years of age.

Automòbil Club d’Andorra official sim racer Frank Porté (#22) will be keen to be even more successful in real-life racing as he makes his car racing debut. Junior Saloon Car Championship race-winner Gabriel Doyle-Parfait (#46) also had an atypical pathway to go to F4. It will be intriguing to see how well the British-French driver, who is racing under a British license this year, will adapt to F4 after racing in a Citroën Saxo for the whole of last year.

French-Luxembourgian Enzo Richer (#66) will be the most experienced driver on the grid. He started F4 in July 2021, taking a best race result of seventh at Monza in 2021.

Third in the Panamerican Senior ROK karting competition last year, Joao Paulo Diaz (#77) will have to discover single-seaters and an all-new continent. He will hope to follow the footsteps of his countryman Jerónimo Berrío, who finished sixth last season with a win.

The arch-rival of Foster on the Canadian national karting scene, Jason Leung (#89) will hope to continue his rivalry with the FEED winner in French F4.

Where to watch

As they were last year, all races will be streamed on YouTube on the FFSA TV channel and on the FFSA Academy page on Facebook. Moreover, Races 2 and 3 of this weekend’s round at Nogaro will also be broadcast live on L’Équipe online.

However, it must be noted that on some occasions, the first race of the weekend might not be live-streamed. The broadcasts are often organised by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO), promoter of the GT World and FFSA GT4 series, and the first race of French F4 may take place before SRO has validated the streaming and cameras system. Regardless, live timing is available for all sessions.

Header image credit: Perceval Wolff


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