It was around this time four years ago that 15-yr old Lando Norris climbed into the new Ford-powered single seater at Brands Hatch and raced to the first of two wins that weekend; victories that would set him on the way to becoming the first British champion of the modern F4 era, and ultimately, a McLaren Formula One driver.
Rebranded FIA Formula 4 in 2016, Britain’s most competitive entry-level single seater series is now one of fourteen national/regional championships held under the FIA’s price-cap code, a cost-restricted scheme dedicated to managing the transition of karting talent into adult racers; young men and women who are often already successful juniors, seeking a gateway to a structured career ladder towards Formula One. Of course, whilst for most, the thrill of lining-up alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel is the ultimate goal, you only need to look at the growing list of notable alumni to see that of those whose journey ends prematurely, many go-on to forge exciting careers outside of single-seaters, in the manufacturer-backed worlds of GT and prototype racing.
Powered by Ford and supported by Hankook Tyres, British F4 now leads the way (along with its German counterpart) in hosting some of the most thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing of any junior category; drivers from around the world lining-up in a bid to emulate Norris’s success. As a supporting championship to the BTCC, these young racers are immediately thrust into the spotlight of tens of thousands of fans at venues around the country, and a live television/streaming audience reaching millions over the season. And for those with winning ways, there are big prizes to race towards too; cash at every round and the season finale, but more importantly, FIA Super Licence points to the top seven finishers each year *.
* Drivers hoping to gain a Super Licence, one of the requirements of entry into Formula One, must have accrued at least 40 qualifying points over the previous three seasons of racing. The winners of all F4 Championships receive 12 points, going down to a single point for P7.
Here are twenty of our favourite images from the official British F4 Media Day test. You can expect many more when the action begins for real.
* * *