The 2023 Spanish F4 Championship is finally back later this week. With a 30-driver grid for the season opener in Spa-Francorchamps, the series is ready to get started. Who will follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Nikola Tsolov? Here is Feeder Series’ season guide to the 2023 Spanish F4 Championship.
By Grégoire Devaux
Since its launch in 2016, the Spanish F4 Championship has been arguably one of the most prestigious F4 series – with former champions including the likes of Richard Verschoor, Christian Lundgaard, and most recently Nikola Tsolov. This season, 30 drivers will compete across the best tracks in Spain to vie for a place in the championship’s history books.
The 2023 Spanish F4 calendar remains similar to the 2022 one. The only change is the race in Portugal, which will take place in Estoril instead of Portimão. The season opener will take place at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, while the drivers will have the opportunity to race across Spain’s best tracks – with the season finale being held yet again in Barcelona.
- Round 1: Spa-Francorchamps (5–7 May)
- Round 2: Motorland Aragón (27–28 May)
- Round 3: Navarra (24–25 June)
- Round 4: Jerez (23–24 September)
- Round 5: Estoril (30 September–1 October)
- Round 6: Valencia (14–15 October)
- Round 7: Barcelona (11–12 November)
The length of the Spanish F4 races has been revised for 2023. Up until now, Races 1 and 3 had a duration of 25 minutes + 1 lap, while the second race lasted for 18 minutes + 1 lap. From this season onwards, however, Races 1 and 3 will now last 30 minutes + 1 lap, with Race 2 set to 25 minutes + 1 lap.
Practice and qualifying will remain the same as in previous years. On Saturday, there will be two free practice sessions of 40 minutes each, one qualifying session of 15 minutes, and the first race of the weekend – with the grid being set according to the drivers’ best lap set during qualifying.
On Sunday, a second qualifying session will take place, with the best lap from each driver setting the grid for Race 3. The grid for the second race will be set according to the drivers’ second-best lap times during the first qualifying session.
Following Nikola Tsolov’s standout performances last season, Campos have a strong chance of retaining the drivers’ title this year.
One of the favourites for this new season is undoubtedly Noah Strømsted (#55). The 15-year-old Danish driver has already cameoed with the Spanish side for the last two rounds of the 2022 season, during which he managed to achieve three top-six finishes in six races. During the first collective test days held last week in Motorland Aragon, Strømsted managed to finish in the top five during two of the four sessions.
However, the Dane will face fierce competition from within his team, with Christian Ho (#23) also having set his sights on the title. The Singapore-based driver returns for a second season in the series after finishing 15th with MP Motorsport in his rookie season. Having switched to the Spanish outfit for the 2023 season, he was the quickest in the collective test last week, topping two of the four sessions.
Another driver that could help the team gain important points is Enzo Deligny (#17). The French driver, who was one of the biggest stars in karting in the last few seasons, made his competitive single-seater debut earlier this month in the first round of the Italian F4 Championship. Despite his lack of experience, Deligny managed to stay in the top 10 in all three races – making him one to watch throughout the Spanish F4 season.
Jesse Carrasquedo Jr (#3) has also gained some experience in the opening round of Italian F4. The Mexican driver, who previously competed with Campos in three rounds of the 2022 Spanish F4 Championship, had mixed results at Imola – achieving a top 10 in the first race before retiring from the third one. He will be looking to open his points tally as he embarks on his first full season of Spanish F4.
Campos completes their line-up with the addition of two rookies, Matteo de Palo (#8) from Italy and Peruvian Andrés Cárdenas (#18). The former had his first single-seater experience in the Formula Winter Series earlier this year, finishing first and fifth in the two races he took part in. De Palo also competed in the Italian F4 season opener, in which he managed to score 10 points for R-ace GP. The latter will miss the opening round of the season at Spa as he will celebrate his 15th birthday during the month of May.
MP Motorsport will field a five-driver line-up, with the first-ever Brazilian F4 champion Pedro Clerot (#22) aiming to clinch the drivers’ championship. Valerio Rinicella (#55) returns for his second season in the series after achieving two podiums and finishing sixth in the standings in 2022. Rinicella’s fourth-place finish in this year’s F4 UAE Championship makes him another favourite for the Spanish F4 title.
Another young talent to look out for is Jerónimo Berrío (#66). The Colombian finished sixth in French F4 last year, achieving his maiden win in single-seaters in the process.
These three experienced drivers will be joined by two rookies. Richard Mille shootout winner Keanu Al Azhari (#14) continues his first year in single-seaters, having impressed in F4 UAE despite his lack of experience. The Emirati driver claimed two podiums and finished seventh in the standings, gaining valuable confidence and experience ahead of the start of the season.
Alvise Rodella (#5) completes MP’s lineup for the 2023 season. The Italian driver made his single-seater debut in the Formula Winter Series earlier this year, in which he competed for two rounds with a best finish of seventh.
After finishing fourth in the team’s championship last season, Drivex will have another huge lineup with six drivers already confirmed. Daniel Nogales (#13) is the only returnee for the Spanish side, having finished 14th in the standings last season.
The Spanish driver will compete alongside Sergey Sirotkin’s S35 Academy drivers, Alexander Bolduev (#54) and George Zhuravskiy (#9). Both made their single-seater debuts earlier this year in the 2023 F4 UAE Championship. Georgian driver Alexander Abkhazava (#21) also made his debut in the prestigious winter championship, gaining two points with R-ace GP.
Drivex’s lineup will be completed by Juan Cota (#85) and Maximiliano Restrepo (#69), who both made their single-seater debuts in the Formula Winter Series. They gained valuable experience at the Circuito de Jerez and Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which are both scheduled on the Spanish F4 calendar this season.
For the second year in a row, Monlau Motorsport will not field any rookies for the full season. Eloi Gonzalez, who gained a wild card seat as the winner of the 2022 Spanish Karting Championship in the X30 Senior category, will compete in several rounds of the championship. At exactly which events Gonzalez will race have not yet been announced.
Fernando Barrichello (#41) – son of former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello – will make his debut in European single-seater racing. He competed in the inaugural season of Formula 4 Brazil last year, claiming two wins and four podiums to finish seventh in the drivers’ standings.
Fellow Brazilian driver Ricardo Gracia Filho (#33) returns for a second season in the series and will be hoping to improve after failing to score a point last season with GRS.
Frenchman Pablo Sarrazin (#12) will complete Monlau’s lineup for the 2023 season after having competed in his first full single-seater season in the French F4 Championship last year, in which he finished 18th in the drivers’ standings.
After having joined the championship from the fourth round last year, Saintéloc will compete in their first full season of Spanish F4 in 2023. The French outfit have retained Théophile Naël (#4) and Theodor Jensen (#30) for their first full season in the series and added Luciano Morano (#7), who raced in French F4 last year.
The trio competed in F4 UAE earlier this year, and Jensen is also taking part in the Danish F4 Championship – in which he took a win in the first round at Padborg Park last week.
As of now, GRS only have one full-time driver for the 2023 season. After taking part in the season finale of both the GB4 and Spanish F4 Championships last year, Carl Bennett (#11) will take part in his first full season in Europe. A double program will see the Thai-American driver also compete in the F4 US Championship, in which he has already claimed a win in March’s season opener.
After an impressive rookie season in 2021 and a brief cameo for one round with Teo Martín Motorsport last season, Dani Maciá (#28) will compete in selected rounds of the championship, beginning with Spa this weekend. Exactly which other events these are have yet to be announced.
The 2023 Spanish F4 season will see a new name on the grid, as Tecnicar takes over from Fórmula de Campeones. For their inaugural season, the Spanish outfit have decided to field two rookies, Griffin Peebles (#88) and Eric Gené (#19). The Australia-based driver made his competitive single-seater debut last month as he competed in the first round of the Italian F4 season.
Eric Gené, nephew of former Formula 1 driver Marc, will make his single-seater debut after having competed in karting for the last few years.
In the team’s second season in the Spanish F4 Championship, Cram Motorsport will field two rookie drivers. Flavio Olivieri (#35) made his single-seater debut earlier this year in the F4 UAE Championship and tested with the Italian outfit throughout last year.
Olivieri will be partnered by Alessandro Silvaggi (#36), who will make his single-seater debut later this year after having previously competed in karting.
The UK-based outfit will field Rodin Cars–sponsored driver Alex Ninovic (#26), who will make his single-seater debut after having clinched the Seniors Karting Nationals (KA3) in his native Australia last season.
Ninovic will drive alongside Noah Lisle (#2), who finished 13th in his rookie season in British F4 last season with JHR Developments and competed in selected rounds of Spanish F4 with both JHR and Drivex. Earlier this month, the Australian driver clinched his maiden win in single-seaters during the first round of the 2023 British F4 season.
Federico Al Rifai (#71) will complete Rodin Carlin’s lineup this season after making his single-seater debut this winter in F4 UAE with Xcel Motorsport.
Where to watch?
All races will be broadcast on the official Spanish F4 YouTube channel.
Editor’s note: This article was updated 3 May 2023 to include Rodin Carlin drivers Noah Lisle and Federico Al Rifai and to clarify that Silvaggi was not taking part in the opening round.
Header photo credit: Spanish F4
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