Team Spotlight: Argenti Motorsport
Argenti Motorsport may be among the newest professional single seater teams in the UK, but after two seasons in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA have established themselves as one of the nation’s leading outfits.
After taking Double R Racing’s place on the grid in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at the start of 2020, Michael Meadows’ outfit made an instant impact, including two victories and a record-equaling run of nine consecutive podiums courtesy of Casper Stevenson, who would go on to register third outright in the standings.
With that momentum behind them, Argenti went a step further in 2021 to become fully-fledged title contenders, taking the battle for the honours down to the final event at Brands Hatch courtesy of Peruvian racer Matias Zagazeta.
Meadows reflected proudly on his outfit’s rapid rise since the formation of Argenti – the Italian word for silver, notable given his family ties with the Mercedes F1 team – at the end of 2019, and he praised Zagazeta’s performances over the course of the past campaign.
“When he came to us at the end of 2020, he’d had a tough year, but we gave him everything we could to help out,” says Meadows. “He’s taken a big step and won a lot of races but was unlucky at the end. Overall, we can be very pleased with what we have achieved together as it highlights how well we can develop young drivers.”
Of all the teams in ROKiT British F4, Argenti are in a unique position as the only outfit to also compete in the top-level karting championships. In the UK they race in both Rotax and X30, while in Europe enter the OK and OK-Junior categories. On average Argenti run eight karts on a given weekend but have been known to increase to almost double that number.
While many teams in British F4 also compete further up the motorsport ladder, Meadows says the priority when establishing Argenti was to help bridge the gap between karting and the first step into single seaters.
“We always felt there was not enough help for young drivers leaving karts and graduating into cars,” says Meadows. “They are entering a different world with a lot of pitfalls, so we wanted to help smooth that transition. Today there are so many different options for a young driver who is looking to develop their career. Do they choose Ginetta Juniors, move to Europe or opt for a single-seater route? With our operation competing at the grassroots level, it means drivers are aware of what we can offer.”
Meadows is well-versed in racing, having competed himself over a ten-year period. After originally making his debut in Formula BMW UK in 2005, he graduated to the national class of British Formula 3 – racing for Master Motorsport. Within a couple of seasons Meadows switched to racing Porsches and was a back-to-back champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2012 and 2013.
That led to a five-year stint in sportscars, including amongst overs, racing in the Spa 24 Hours and the pan-European Blancpain series.
“Aside from the racing, I’ve always found the business of motorsport interesting, so when I turned 30, I felt I’d reached the ceiling of what I was going to achieve behind the wheel. That’s when I had discussions about setting up my own team,” says Meadows. “After talking with Double R Racing the stars aligned at the end of 2019 and I thought that was the best time to go for it.
“Right now, it is still early days for the team, but we want to grow and take the next step forward in due course,” says Meadows. “It’s all about timing in motorsport and we’ll make the move to expand when the time is right.”
Alongside Zagazeta, another driver also made an impact for the team in 2021. Unable to compete in the first six rounds of the season because of his age, when Aiden Neate (son of touring car racer Andy) did get behind the wheel, he impressed with three podiums and two fastest laps.
“Despite starting late in the championship, Aiden still finished ninth overall, which shows how strong he is,” says Meadows. “Aiden is a great talent and there’s no doubt that with a full year he’ll be right up there. I’m looking forward to see what he can do in the future.”
At the final event of the year Neate was awarded the Joe Tandy Memorial Trophy which recognised his achievements throughout the year.
It’s an exciting time for the Edge Hill-based outfit and as Argenti are aptly running a silver livery in 2022, they will be hoping the sequence of drivers third and second overall in their first two seasons will lead to silverware and first place next year.