SECOND SEASON OF F4UAE BEGINS AT GULF 12 HOURS IN ABU DHABI
The 2017/18 F4UAE Championship powered by Abarth officially begins its second season in the Middle East this weekend as a support to the Gulf 12 Hours event at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi (December 14-15, 2017).
With an expanded 24-race season beginning tomorrow around the 5.5fkm F1 GP circuit - which continues to be the official Home of F4UAE - four races will now be scheduled at every one of the six rounds and will all run for 30-minutes duration which is an additional 10mins compared to last season. Hankook has become tyre partner for 2017/18 to better align F4UAE with international championships such as the Australian F4 Championship, F4 Spain, British F4, SMP F4 NEZ Championship and F4 SEA. While even more drivers of international experience have travelled to the UAE this week to contest the championship that is fast becoming recognised as the category of choice for junior drivers hoping to gain extra racing experience before making a career in Europe.
"We are very proud of the growth of F4UAE during its first season and that many young drivers are now choosing the UAE as the best place to become better racing drivers on our world-class racing circuits," said Mohamed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and Emirates Motor Sport Federation, and FIA Vice President for Sport.
"We wish all of the drivers who are racing this weekend at round one the very best and we hope that all teams have a successful season ahead as our guests in the UAE."
With its successful first season completed back in March 2017, the newest open-wheeler category on the global FIA open-wheeler calendar attracted not only new Emirati and GCC drivers, but became truly global during 2016and 2017 as a wealth of racing talent converged on the UAE-based championship from countries within the UK, Asia, Europe, plus Australia, the USA and South Africa.
In 2017/18, F4UAE will include entries from both around the GCC region and Europe again with many drivers having already come from experience in F4 categories internationally.
SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai Racing Team will field UAE-based Lucas Petersson who claimed his first F4UAE race podium finish on debut in March, plus UK-based Olli Caldwell who contested British F4, German F4 and Italian F4 and scored a total of 14 top-10 finishes this past seson. Dragon F4 welcomes their new full-time F4 driver Lucas Alecco Roy who only began his race driving career back in April with British F4 where he scored five top-10 finishes. Charles Weerts also returns to F4UAE after having raced here last season with Team Motopark and also in the German F4 championship over the summer.
New UAE entrant CRAM Motorsport brings Tom Beckhauser to the championship, Rasgaira Motorsports welcomes rookie Petr Ptacek for the first three rounds of the season, Mikhail Spiridinov will race for GDL Racing, while 16-year-old Logan Hannah lines up for Dream Racing this weekend as the first official female ever to race in the championship here in the UAE after what was a solid debut test six weeks ago at Yas Marina Circuit.
Open to drivers aged 15 years and above, F4 was created by world’s governing body of motorsport, the FIA, to help young drivers bridge the gap between existing regional racing series and karting, to European competition and potentially Formula 1. F4UAE was considered one of the most important additions to the UAE’s local motorsport calendar and was the first of its kind in the MENA region for developing young driver talent. Additionally, F4UAE gives international drivers an opportunity to get extra racing miles during what would traditionally be the European winter off-season.
Eight of last season's drivers went on to make a name for themselves in European F4 championships this year, including inaugural F4UAE champion Jonathan Aberdein finishing 9th in the ADAC Formel 4 as well as Fabio Scherer who finished ahead in 5th, inaugural F4UAE Rookie of the Year, Logan Sargeant, finished third in British F4 behind Australian Oscar Piastri who finished the highest of any former F4UAE drivers overseas in second outright in the UK.
Lucas Alecco Roy, #8 Dragon F4: "The biggest drawcard for F4UAE was that you just get a lot of time in the car and that is just exactly what I need, to get more laps and miles and experience. From driving today, Yas Marina is a very tough circuit, it's quite easy to overdrive but tomorrow we have loads of time to practice before the races. I imagine once you get your head around it, it can be quite a fulfilling circuit to drive."
Petr Ptacek, #9 Rasgaira Motorsports: "What makes this circuit special and interesting is you need to make everything perfect because especially in the slow corner before the long straight, if you do a little mistake you will pay the whole straight for it. But it makes the driver focus more and push to the limit."
Logan Hannah, #92 Dream Racing: "I'm feeling a lot more confident about this weekend considering I have been in the car already, and I've done a couple of sessions in the simulator as well so I'm pretty confident that I will portray myself in my best light. It's only my second time in the car and at this track, so I'm looking at it just to learn as much as I can from the other drivers and make the most of the opportunity."
The first event for the 2017/18 F4UAE Championship begins tomorrow, Thursday December 14, with open testing, practice, qualifying and Race 1, while Races 2 to 4 will be held on Friday December 15.