Preview: Season-high grid descends on Silverstone
Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne stands on the verge of securing the 2022 ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA title heading to Silverstone this weekend, as the series announces its biggest entry for a single weekend in six years.
The Irish teenager enjoyed a record-breaking visit to Thruxton last time out, twice converting pole position into victory, his tenth and eleventh wins of the season respectively the highest any driver has achieved in a single season in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.
And, with a healthy 106-point advantage in the standings over nearest rival Ollie Gray (Carlin), Silverstone marks Dunne’s first opportunity to mathematically wrap up the coveted crown with a meeting to spare.
A much closer 36-point margin separates Gray from his team-mate Ugo Ugochukwu in second and third overall, and Ugochukwu is also 20 points clear at the top of the Rookie Cup standings over fellow F1 junior Daniel Guinchard, the two representing McLaren and Mercedes-AMG respectively.
Carlin are on course to kick off the championship’s ‘Gen 2’ era with the first Teams Cup title, their advantage over Hitech some 58 points.
Over half the grid in ROKiT British F4 have visited the winners’ circle in 2022, and behind the chief protagonists are several drivers with proven credentials looking to give their own standing a late boost.
Louis Sharp (Carlin) missed out on the season opener due to his age, but the Kiwi has rallied, and his consistent streak of silverware puts him fourth. Phinsys by Argenti’s Aiden Neate holds fifth, albeit by a single marker from JHR’s Joseph Loake.
Georgi Dimitrov (JHR), Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech) and Guinchard are covered by three points in the battle for seventh, eighth and ninth in turn, with Oliver Stewart (Hitech) now comfortable at the foot of the top ten after his maiden win in the reverse grid contest at Thruxton.
Only five points separates Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin and Edward Pearson for 11th and 12th, with Noah Lisle (JHR) leading an equally close battle for 13th back to 16th involving Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech).
Jack Sherwood has confirmed his seat on the grid for the final two events after a promising start to life in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, and there are also several new and a returning face to factor in as ROKiT British F4 hits 20 cars, the highest entry for a single weekend since 2016.
Isaac Barashi, James Higgins, and Jaden Pariat are all newcomers to the championship, racing with Argenti, the returning Fortec Motorsport outfit and Chris Dittmann Racing respectively. Partnering Higgins at Fortec will be Marcos Flack, the three-time podium finisher returning to F4 after a full-season campaign in 2021.
Silverstone’s National circuit often produces great racing in single seaters, with plenty of slipstreaming opportunities down the Wellington and National Pit straights. Becketts and Brooklands are also prime spots for a move on the brakes, so expect ‘thrill-a-minute’ action across the three races this weekend.
After two free practice sessions on Friday, qualifying kicks off the competitive action at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ at 10:30 on Saturday morning, with the opening race to follow at 15:14.
Sunday features a double-header of action, including Dunne’s first opportunity to wrap up the title, with lights out at 09:35 and 15:05. Race 3 is live on ITV4.
Off track, head to the F4 Race Centre in the support paddock at 12:20 on Sunday for the autograph session, and a chance to meet the next generation of motorsport stars.