Team Spotlight: Hitech GP
A new team on the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA grid next season will be Hitech GP, the outfit that runs drivers from the Red Bull Junior Team in both F2 and F3. Hitech’s decision to expand their operation into F4 will give the team a presence at each level of the FIA’s elite single-seater pathway.
Hitech was originally founded in 2003 by former F3 race engineer David Hayle. After exchanging hands, the team was revived in 2016 under the leadership of former karting champion Oli Oakes. Subsequently Hitech GP have enjoyed success in both FIA European Formula 3 (scoring victories with George Russell) and since 2020 have competed in Formula 2. This year they fielded Red Bull juniors Liam Lawson and Jüri Vips.
“I was originally working with [former owner] David Hayle on a programme to help karters make the transition to cars when the idea of taking over Hitech began,” says team boss Oli Oakes.
“I’d worked with a few young drivers on different projects and we were helping fill the void between karting and cars. It’s actually quite a big step and unless you have done it yourself, you can’t really claim to know how difficult it is. Some of the junior teams are poorly run in comparison to the top-level karting teams, so for us, there was an opportunity to help.”
Hitech are well-established in FIA Formula 3, finishing runners-up in 2019 with Jüri Vips and this year they ran Red Bull junior drivers Jak Crawford and Ayumu Iwasa. With the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA getting an overhaul for 2022, with a new promoter in Motorsport UK, plus the Gen2 Tatuus chassis in combination with Abarth engines and Pirelli tyres, Oakes believes this is the best time to field a new team.
“The main thing is that with the new car, it’s a level-playing field,” says Oakes. “In addition, the choice of car-engine-tyre is the perfect package to have if you also want to compete in Europe. In addition to a new promoter in Motorsport UK, all the ingredients are there to make it a very attractive proposition to young drivers.
“It’s a natural step for Hitech to get involved at this level because competing in F4 will help build an eco-system that will feed the other teams in our organisation, not only with drivers but for engineers and mechanics too.”
As a former racer-turned-team boss Oakes is perfectly placed to understand the demands facing young drivers as well as operating an organisation at the highest level. Hitech’s association with Formula 1 teams – and Red Bull Racing in particular – offers the squad the opportunity to instill a professionalism into drivers from a young age.
“During our five years in existence, I’ve often been asked to assess or scout someone from karting by a Formula 1 young driver programme,” says Oakes. “What’s important for us is by working with drivers at a young age, we can teach them the right things early on, so they avoid learning bad habits.
“You always want to race again the best and I think British Formula 4 will be fun as the smaller teams will want to prove themselves against the bigger outfits. Drivers do their research though and they know the type of team they want to be part of and possibly stay with that team all the way through their junior career – which is something we can offer.”
Based at Silverstone, Hitech GP are situated right at the heart of Motorsport Valley in the UK and are a stone’s throw from three of the biggest Formula 1 teams on the grid. Their 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility is perfectly suited to their expansion across every level of the single-seater elite pathway from F4 to F3 and F2.