F4 UAE Unveils Stellar International Line-up for Season Eight

Jan 09,2024
  • Fledgling talent joins proven winners on intriguing entry list
  • Five continents represented in capacity grid
  • 15-race season gets underway at Yas Marina this weekend

United Arab Emirates, January 9, 2024: The Formula 4 United Arab Emirates Championship Certified by FIA (F4 UAE) continues to go from strength to strength. On the eve of its eighth season, a stunning entry of 36 cars has been attracted as a host of global motorsport talents take their fledgling steps on the single-seater ladder to Formula 1.

Action begins with a two-day test at Yas Marina Circuit this week (Wednesday January 10 and Thursday January 11), before the competition proper kicks off at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix venue this weekend from Friday January 12 to Sunday January 14, with the first of three triple-header race weekends, for a total of 15 races. There follow four further events, with two more at Yas Marina and a pair at Dubai Autodrome.

Last year’s champion was James Wharton, racing under the banner of the Mumbai Falcons squad operated by Italian powerhouse Prema Racing. The Australian has now stepped up to make his debut at the next level with Prema in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship, but the team has assembled a formidable roster of talent attempting to follow in his wheeltracks.

Three of the four drivers competing in the Mumbai Falcons stable made impressive steps into Formula 4 late last year. Britain’s Freddie Slater was a podium finisher in the F4 UAE Trophy races that supported the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and was in contention for victory in the Macau Grand Prix F4 event. London-born Japanese-Slovakian karting star and Alpine Formula 1 junior Kean Nakamura-Berta was in winning contention on his car-racing debut in F4 South East Asia at Sepang. And Jamaican-American Alex Powell, a protégé of the Mercedes F1 team, had his first taste of F4 after claiming a World Championship runner-up slot with Prema’s karting team. Back for his second season of F4 UAE is Indian Dion Gowda, who was fourth in last year’s British F4 Championship.

Prema has entered a further two cars under its own name. Local fans will be cheering for 15-year-old Abu Dhabi native Rashid Al Dhaheri, who claimed his maiden car racing win in the SE Asia series at the end of last season at Sepang. Frenchwoman Doriane Pin, another to win in F4 SE Asia on her way to runner-up in the series, will begin the campaign in the sister car, while Latvian Tomass Štolcermanis – another to impress at Sepang – will replace her for the final two rounds.

One driver they will all be keeping a wary eye upon is Nikita Bedrin. He was fourth in F4 UAE in 2022, and a double winner in Formula Regional Middle East last year before moving up to compete in FIA Formula 3. Now he is stepping back to F4 on circuits that are very familiar to him to lead the charge of German team PHM Racing. Alongside him under the PHM AIX banner are Australian Kamal Mrad, who moved from karting into F4 last year, single-seater newcomer Maksimilian Popov, and American Everett Stack.

Hitech Pulse-Eight, based on the doorstep of British GP venue Silverstone, brings a strong line-up. Deagen Fairclough built up a large following in his rookie season of single-seaters last year thanks to his spectacular and determined driving on his way to third place in British F4, and is joined by fellow Britons Gabriel Stilp, who was also a race winner in the UK series in 2023, and Reza Seewooruthun, third in the Ginetta Junior championship won by Freddie Slater. Scottish-born Emirati Sebastian Murray completes the Hitech quartet for his second F4 UAE campaign.

Australian operation AGI Sport returned to F4 competition after a hiatus in triumphant style in last year’s South East Asia series. Its home-grown talent Jack Beeton won the title, and he is back for another crack at UAE honours. Nicolas Stati also stood atop the South East Asia series podium, and he and fellow Aussie Peter Bouzinelos continue alongside Beeton, while German Carrie Schreiner joins the line-up after scoring a race win in the all-female F1 Academy series last year. 

Two very strong French teams each bring four-car attacks to F4 UAE. Among the R-ace GP line-up are two French drivers: Enzo Deligny is a Red Bull Junior and showed some explosive pace on his way to fourth in Spanish F4 last year after celebrating his 15th birthday on the eve of the season, while Raphaël Narac was a podium finisher in F4 South East Asia. So too was promising Italian-Chinese Taipei talent Enzo Yeh. Also in the R-ace roster is Finnish karter Luka Sammalisto, who has won a full year in F4 with R-ace GP after winning a shootout run by the team.

Also flying the French tricouleur is Saintéloc Racing. Italian-Emirati Matteo Quintarelli is back for another crack at F4 UAE, joined by Colombian Maximiliano Restrepo, Sri Lankan karting graduate Yevan David, and Brazilian Ferrari protégé Aurélia Nobels, who raced in Italian F4 last year and moves into F1 Academy this season.

Of the teams hailing from the UAE, the driver to watch must be local talent Keanu Al Azhari. All eyes will be upon him as he bids to repeat his dominant performance from the Abu Dhabi GP-supporting F4 UAE Trophy. Al Azhari lines up once again with Yas Heat Racing Academy, joined by compatriot Zack Scoular. Xcel Motorsport, meanwhile, fields the top two drivers from last year’s Chinese F4 Championship, with title-winning Macau driver Tiago Rodrigues partnered by Hong Kong-based runner-up Liu Kai Shun. Italian Alvise Rodella is with Xcel Motorsport for the first couple of rounds, with Cui Yuanpu on board from round two onwards.

Asian team Pinnacle Motorsport is spearheaded by two of the drivers it ran in the South East Asia series at the end of last year: Indian Kai Daryanani, whose debut F4 season across multiple championships was topped by podiums in SE Asia and a win in GB4, and Chinese racer Fu Yuhao.