After many test days, the first race week of the British F4 season is finally upon us. The championship gets underway at Donington Park this 22–23 April with a mixture of new and returning drivers for one of its most competitive seasons to date. Seven teams will battle it out across 10 rounds to clinch a championship previously won by the likes of Lando Norris and current Red Bull junior Zane Maloney. Here is your guide to the 2023 British F4 Championship.
By Gerren Scapens
After Alex Dunne won the title with a round to go in 2022 despite not appearing at that final round because of clash of schedule with Italian F4, we are in store for a higher-stakes season as the competition looks as tight as ever. Since none of last year’s top three are returning to the series, the title is anyone’s as of this moment. That, along with a new shake up in the rules, portends a very tight championship from start to finish.
Other than an event at Silverstone supporting the British Endurance Championship, British F4 will support the British Touring Car Championship at all the classic British circuits.
- Round 1: Donington Park National Circuit (22–23 April)
- Round 2: Brands Hatch Indy Circuit (6–7 May)
- Round 3: Snetterton 300 Circuit (20–21 May)
- Round 4: Thruxton Circuit (3–4 June)
- Round 5: Oulton Park Island Circuit (17–18 June)
- Round 6: Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit (24–25 June)
- Round 7: Croft Circuit (29–30 July)
- Round 8: Knockhill Racing Circuit (12–13 August)
- Round 9: Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit (26–27 August)
- Round 10: Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit (7–8 October)
The format is the same as last year’s, with two practice sessions, a qualifying session and three races. The way in which those races take place has now changed, though. For Race 1, the grid will be determined by the driver’s second fastest lap set during the qualifying session. For Race 2, the grid will be fully reversed from the qualifying order. For race 3, the grid is set by each driver’s fastest time in qualifying.
Races 1 and 3 follow the standard FIA points system of 25 for first place down to one point for 10th.. Race 2 will award 15 points for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 8 for fourth, 6 for fifth, 4 for sixth, 2 for seventh and 1 for eighth. All races have a single point awarded for the fastest lap.
Teams and drivers
There are seven teams that together are set to field 21 drivers this season. Other than JHR and Fortec Motorsport, each team currently has one driver in the rookie championship
Despite having the season’s drivers’ champion last year, Hitech came second in the teams’ cup, which will fuel the team and their four new drivers to take the top spot
Jimmy Piszcyk (#4) competed in Australian Formula Ford in 2022, finishing as the runner-up. For his rookie year in British F4, he is looking to go one step further.
Will Macintyre (#5) was runner-up in last year’s Ginetta Junior Championship before he ended 2022 with some GB4 races and the F4 UAE Trophy Race.
Kanato Le (#6) also competed in the 2022 Ginetta Junior Championship and, like Piszcyk and Macintyre, also took part in the F4 UAE Championship, giving him valuable track time ahead of the opening round.
The team’s final driver, Gabriel Stilp (#7), is competing in the rookie cup. In 2022, Stilp won the British Kart Championship in the X30 Junior category.
After its drivers finished 11th and 12th in 2022 and the team took fifth out of seven in the teams’ championship, Virtuosi have taken a different approach for 2023 by adding a third full-time driver.
Kai Daryanani (#8) began his single-seater career in the F4 UAE Championship over the winter after finding success in both karting and sim racing beforehand.
Joining him is Aqil Alibhai (#14), who first stepped up to single-seaters in the last round of the 2022 GB4 Championship. Alibhai also competed in the 2022 Ginetta Junior Championship.
Douwe Dedecker (#28) experienced an injury-plagued karting career, which stunted the progress of a talent spotted all across Europe. He will be looking to show his speed across a full season as a rookie after first experiencing single-seaters in pre-season testing.
After taking second, third, and fourth in the drivers’ standings in 2022 and wrapping up the teams’ cup, Carlin only has one more step to take in 2023, and that is to win it all.
Louis Sharp (#11) returns to Carlin after coming fourth in his rookie season last year despite missing the first round because of age restrictions. His two win, 12-podium season last year is the best of the returning drivers, many will be looking at him as the driver to beat.
Josh Irfan (#12) already competed in GB4 at Oulton Park this season alongside British F4 testing, which has kickstarted his F4 career. Irfan’s quick adaptation bodes well for his assault at the rookie championship.
Dion Gowda (#55) had not previously driven any F4 car before competing in F4 UAE during the winter, in which he took two points finishes.
Phynsis by Argenti
After a fourth-place finish in the teams’ championship in 2022 and a best of sixth for Aiden Neate in the drivers’ championship, Argenti have just one driver returning from 2022, though three more will join them for the full season
Returning to the team is Isaac Barashi (#26), who completed the last two rounds of 2022 and took part in two races of the Formula Winter Series (FWS) over the winter, giving himself plenty of preparation ahead of his 2023 campaign.
Pat Heuzenroeder (#17), who raced in Australian Formula Ford in 2022, had a similar build-up to this season as Barashi did by contesting two races in FWS.
Even more similarly to Barashi, Jaden Pariat (#77) did the final two rounds of British F4 last year as well as a round of FWS to prepare for this season – a level of similarity that can help the team make strides from their previous achievements.
Sonny Smith (#72) has had a different approach to the season than his teammates after graduating from the Ginetta Junior Championship with a race win and six podiums to his name in 2022.
Fortec can only go upwards in 2023 after only competing at the final two rounds of 2022 and tallying five points total. They have bolstered their line-up this year with three entries instead of two.
Most notable for Fortec is the last-minute addition of Aiden Neate (#57). Announced on the Wednesday before the opening round, the Alpine Academy driver will be looking only at the title in his third season and second full-time season in the series.
Returning to the team after racing in the last two rounds of 2022 is James Higgins (#18), who has impressed in testing this off-season and will be looking to make a big statement in his first full season with the team.
Joining Neate and Higgins is Mika Abrahams (#29), who will begin his campaign at Round 4 after he turns 15. The South African impressed in Danish F4 last season by finishing fourth.
Chris Dittmann Racing
Last season, Chris Dittmann Racing (CDR) had four drivers, none of whom completed the season, and finished sixth of seven in the teams’ standings. This year they have a full line-up of three drivers, who have impressed so far in testing.
Returning to CDR is Jack Sherwood (#78). Before completing the end of last season’s F4 championship, Sherwood took part in many GB4 races, placing himself inside the top five.
Joining CDR is rookie championship competitor Gustav Jonsson (#23), who steps straight up from karting with a second place in Rotax Max Challenge Sweden.
Coming back to the series with a different team is Daniel Guinchard (#49), who raced for Argenti with Mercedes Junior Team backing last year. After a win and six podiums in 2022 and some races in Spanish F4 at the end of the year, Guinchard is someone to watch heading into the 2023 season given his strong pace in pre-season testing.
JHR Developments had a promising 2022 season, finishing third in the teams’ championship with three full-time entries. This year, as of race week of Round 1, they have just one driver announced.
Deagen Fairclough (#87) competed in and won the ROKiT Racing Stars e-sports competition in 2022. Testing has proved that he has the pace to compete, and he aims to be in the fight at the sharp end of the field.
Monica Boulton Ramos, the other Racing Stars winner from 2022, was guaranteed a spot on the grid but has not yet been announced with a team.
Header photo credit: British F4
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