2020 F4UAE CALENDAR CONFIRMS MAIDEN FORMULA 1® SUPPORT EVENT
Dubai, UAE: July 23, 2019
The FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship powered by Abarth has released its official five-round calendar for the 2019/2020 season, including a maiden non-championship support event at the Formula 1® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this year.
In what will be its fourth season, the F4UAE championship will support Formula 1® for the first time with a non-point scoring Trophy Round scheduled at Yas Marina Circuit in November, before the championship begins in earnest in January 2020.
“The F4UAE Championship is the only F4 FIA Championship in the region and after three seasons so far the Championship is growing to be one of the best platforms for new talented drivers to expand their careers,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization, and FIA Vice President for Sport.
“We are very proud that F4UAE will be a support race to the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix later this year. It will give the F4UAE drivers a chance to race in the same arena as the Formula 1 which will be a great opportunity and very exciting.”
While Round 1 of the championship officially begins as a support to the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai from January 8-10 at the Dubai Autodrome, F4UAE technical director Craig Thompson said there is no doubt that the Trophy Round would be a drawcard for the season.
“We are extremely excited that after a lot of hard work by many parties, and long discussions over the last few seasons in fact, that F4UAE will be a support category to the Formula 1® finale at Yas Marina Circuit,” said Thompson of AUH Motorsports.
“F1 is the category that the majority of our young open-wheeler racers aspire to reach, and so to now give them a platform to race in front of the best teams in the world and their racing heroes, it’s a huge bonus for the F4UAE Championship.”
The 2020 season will again be a five-round championship with 20 point-scoring races in total, with events run at both the Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit until the finale during the first weekend of March 2020.
“Last season we intentionally compressed the calendar between January and March in order to fit nicely between the European racing seasons, and it worked well in helping our overseas teams and drivers keep travel costs as low as possible," added Thompson. "By the time the F1 event runs in Abu Dhabi, all of the European championships will have been completed and we will be working closely with as many of them as possible to ensure we have a solid grid for the Trophy Round in November.”
Over the last three seasons, F4UAE has continued to build a strong developmental platform, by providing various benefits including up to 40 hours of track time each season, practice start sessions at test days to help new drivers learn to start races safely, media coaching workshops, plus opportunities to work with officials in better understanding the regulatory side of the sport; all aspects which hold young racers in good stead for future development up the racing ladder.
Governed by the Emirates Motorsport Orgainzation (EMSO) – formerly known as the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE – and promoted by AUH Motorsports, F4UAE was considered one of the most important additions to the UAE’s local motorsport calendar when it launched in 2016. It has since welcomed a total of 51 drivers through the championship in three seasons, most of whom have gone on to successful results in Europe since.
Italian Matteo Nannini claimed his maiden open-wheeler and circuit racing title when he won the 2018/2019 F4UAE Championship for Xcel Motorsport. The 16-year-old also won the Rookie Championship and, along with teammate Shihab Al Habsi from Oman (who finished third outright), helped his team take the Teams Championship title last season as well.
Other successful graduates from last year who have gone on to win races in Europe include Paraguay racer Joshua Dürksen (2018/2019 F4UAE runner-up) who has won in Italian F4, Lebanese racer Rashed Ghanem (F4UAE Sportsmanship Award winner) and Al Habsi who have won in Spanish F4, while Al Habsi has also won three races in Formula 4 South East Asia.
Previous drivers to have graduated through F4UAE include inaugural 2016/2017 champion Jonathan Aberdein from South Africa who is currently competing in DTM for WRT, season two champion Charles Weerts from Belgium won the 2019 Gulf Sportscar Championship and is racing in Blancpain also for WRT, and Australian Oscar Piastri who sits third outright in Formula Renault Eurocup.
F4UAE is open to drivers aged 15 years and above and was created by the 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®.
Utilising the Tatuus chassis from Italy with the Abarth Turbo engine, the open-wheeler category allows new drivers extra seat time to become familiar with the unique purpose-built race cars, while teams are given the opportunity to test and refine their engineering and operations at international-standard circuits.
2019/2020 F4UAE Championship Calendar:
NC - November 28-December 1, 2019 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 1 – January 8-10, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome
Round 2 – January 17-18, 2020 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 3 – February 14-15, 2020 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 4 – February 21-22, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome
Round 5 – March 6-7, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome
For more information on F4UAE, head to www.f4uae.com
HANKOOK RENEWS PARTNERSHIP WITH F4UAE AS OFFICIAL TYRE SUPPLIER
Organisers of the FIA F4UAE Championship powered by Abarth today announced a renewed partnership with Hankook Tires as the official tyre supplier for 2019/2020 season, with the Ventus F200 slick tyres bring provided by the Hankook Middle East appointed dealer, Dragon Racing.
The UAE-based team – which won the F4UAE drivers and teams titles in the 2017/2018 season – will continue to support the F4UAE championship thanks to its team of expert tyre fitters who service over 1500 tyres each season, and will again ensure parity across the grid for all competitors thanks to its advanced bar code scanning system.
As part of the arrangement with the Championship promoter, the Hankook-appointed dealers will again provide tyre fitting services at every event when official sessions take place and will provide an experienced tyre engineer who will be available to all teams for advice on their tyres and setup.
F4UAE technical director Craig Thompson said he was glad that the relationship with Hankook was continuing, to ensure teams have familiarity of the product and so that they can maximise their use of data from previous seasons.
“We are very pleased with the arrangement we’ve secured with Hankook and Dragon Racing to provide tyres for our fourth season of F4UAE,” said Thompson. “Hankook provides the level of quality and safety we require for competition, especially when being able to withstand the hot and dusty conditions that the Middle East circuits are known for. They’re a proven product, and this can only enhance the teams’ ability to build on their understanding of the tyres' performance, which in turn will better prepare them for working with a new wave of young drivers who will head to the UAE to race later this year.”
The 2019/2020 F4UAE Championship will again consist of 20 point-scoring races across five rounds that will be held at both Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Autodrome where Dragon Racing is based.
“The Hankook Ventus F200 slick has been well received by the F4 competitors due to its minimal tyre degradation and consistent performance, which is critical to this championship where the track time available per weekend is often in excess of 8 hours,” said Brad Fincham, F4 team principal at Dragon Racing.
“With the introduction of the bar code scanning system last year, we have also ensured that there is a fair environment for all teams and drivers to compete on. We are delighted to renew our partnership with F4UAE and in being able to service all the teams for what will be our third season of being a supplier of Hankook Tires to the open-wheel championship.”
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®.
Hankook Tires first joined F4UAE in the 2017/2018 season. More information about the upcoming F4UAE Championship season, including calendar and event information, will be announced next week.
More information can be found at www.f4uae.com
For further information, please contact:
F4UAE Technical Director
Dragon Racing F4 Team Principal
[Image credit: WSF Creative]
XCEL MOTORSPORT EXPANDS F4 PROGRAM TO SPANISH F4 CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2019
F4UAE Champions Xcel Motorsport will expand their open-wheeler operation to Europe this season, entering the Spanish F4 Championship for the first time with a three-car team.
Having already developped a heavy racing footprint with karting in Europe, the Dubai-based racing team will now take their F4 cars and equipment to Spain in time for the season opener in early April, running Omani frontrunner Shihab Alhabsi as lead driver for the full season.
Xcel Motorsport recently won the triple crown of titles in the 2019 F4UAE Championship, including the drivers and rookie titles with Italian Matteo Nannini, plus the teams championship. Additionally, Alhabsi also finished third outright in the drivers championship and contributed to the 10 race wins, 4 pole positions and 29 podium finishes achieved, making the 2019 season Xcel Motorsport’s most successful in three years of F4UAE competition.
“We wanted to race in Europe last year but this extra year of racing in F4UAE has proven to be very successful and definitely the extra experience we needed in running a larger operation before going to Europe,” said team manage Paul Hardy.
“It’s the right time for us now to go over, and the Spanish F4 Championship is a good introduction for us to get into the European market. Shihab has done a great job racing with us in F4UAE and to have him part of our team in Spain will be great in giving him continuity with his support team and engineers too. It’s all of those smaller things that are really important to these young racers and hopefully it will be a good year for us.
"We’re well aware of how competitive it is over there, and we’ve had three solid years of F4UAE that will hopefully be great preparation for us. Even though that’s only a short amount of time compared to some teams in Italy and Germany, the Spanish Championship suits where we are and hopefully we can help bring rookies back to the UAE next season before moving up through other F4 championships.”
With two seats available, expressions of interest are welcomed for drivers wishing to race with Xcel Motorsport in the Spanish F4 Championship. For more information please contact Paul Hardy on email@example.com