Matthew Rees crowned 2021 champion at Brands Hatch
JHR Developments racer Matthew Rees claimed the 2021 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title with a hat-trick of top-five finishes around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit last weekend (23-24 October).
The 15-year-old from Cardiff, Wales arrived at the 2.4-mile Kent circuit with a 12-point advantage over closest rival Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti), with JHR team-mate McKenzy Cresswell and Fortec’s Joel Granfors also in mathematical contention to seal the honours.
Despite qualifying marginally behind Zagazeta, the title fight swung decisively in Rees’ favour during the first of three races. Running behind the Peruvian heading into the closing laps, Rees put one hand on the Drivers’ title after Zagazeta ran wide at Sheene Curve and ended his race in the gravel.
That meant Rees needed a four-point swing in the reverse grid race on Saturday evening to secure the title with a round to spare, and he duly delivered, rising from the sixth row of the grid to finish fifth; with Zagazeta ninth, the race to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 champion was over.
Rees’ triumph also included the Rookie title, and his efforts – plus a brace of victories for Cresswell – went some way to securing the Teams Cup title for JHR, marking the first time an entrant has completed a clean sweep of championship titles in a single season.
“It feels amazing to win the championship,” said Rees.
“It shows that all the time in winter testing has paid off, and of course it means a lot to me, my Dad and the entire team at JHR Developments.
“It’s Steven [Hunter]’s first time winning the Drivers’ title too, that means a lot to him and I’m happy to be able to give that to him.
“As we’ve progressed through the season, we’ve kept the speed and then been able to convert it into race wins, and I think that’s what was crucial in this championship.”
Rees concluded the weekend with a fourth-placed finish in the ITV4-televised finale.