This weekend's Round 4 of the 2017/18 F4UAE Championship will be the largest event starting grid since the category's introduction in 2016, as three new drivers and one new team make their debut at Yas Marina Circuit.
Berlin-based BWT Mücke Motorsport joins the championship with two of its "Pink Panther" Formula 4 Tatuus cars, entering 15-year-old Finnish driver William Alatalo (#5) and 15-year-old German racer Niklas Krütten (#6). While DR Formula Racing - which debuted at Round 2 in January - brings 17-year-old Hungarian karter László Tóth; making a grid of 13 drivers and 7 teams in total.
"Today we welcome even more drivers to the F4UAE Championship and hope that they have a successful first event racing the Formula 4 cars at Yas Marina Circuit," said Mohamed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE, Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport Federation and FIA Vice President for Sport. "It is truly wonderful to see that many drivers in Europe are talking about F4UAE and think of it highly enough to want to come here and get valuable racing experience. We hope to welcome more drivers in the future."
Alatalo won the 2016 OK Junior class in Finland before switching to open-wheel racing in 2017. The Finnish junior took a race win and four more podiums in his first year in the Formula STCC Nordic and was fifth overall, and will contest two rounds of F4UAE prior to racing in the Italian Formula 4 championship.
Krütten - who finished third in the 2012 Westdeutscher ADAC Kart Cup, has had top-five and top-10 placements in the German Kart Championship, the Italian Trofeo delle Industrie and the CIK-FIA European and World Championships - is also looking to compete in the Italian F4 Championship this year as well as the ADAC Formel 4 Championship in Germany.
While 17-year-old Toth, already a frontrunner with DR Kart in the WSK and European Championship KZ2, is set to make his very first appearance in the series after testing an F4 car at the Mugello circuit late November.
Last round at Dubai Autodrome, US Racing/Rasgaira Motorsports took a clean sweep of wins thanks to German rookies Leon Köhler (#77) and David Schumacher (#27) scoring their maiden open-wheeler victories. Dragon Motopark F4's Charles Weerts (#88) leads the Drivers Championship on 158 points, followed closely behind by Charouz Racing System's Tom Beckhäuser (#95) on 155 points. SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai leads the Teams Championship.
In Thursday official testing at Yas Marina Circuit for Round 4, Weerts clocked the overall fastest time during the three sessions, with a best time of 2m10.785s around the 5.55km Grand Prix circuit layout. SILBERPFEIL Energy Dubai's Caio Collet (#23) and Schumacher also posted fastest times in various sessions.
Round 4 of the 2017/18 F4UAE Championship will see Friday February 3 hold free practice, qualifying and Race 1, while Races 2 to 4 will be held on Saturday February 3.
FULL EVENT INFORMATION: http://www.f4uae.com/events/2017-round-four
For more information head to www.f4uae.com
William Alatalo, #5 Mücke Motorsport (FIN): "I've had a great time so far in motor racing and am set to become involved with BWT Mücke Motorsport in 2018, which is the next big highlight for me. I'm really looking forward to this season and am aware of the challenges I face in the two Formula 4 championships and can hardly wait to get started. I want to be a part of the success story at BWT Mücke Motorsport."
Peter Mücke, Team Principal of Mücke Motorsport: "Finland has produced an impressive number of great athletes, and fresh talent continues to emerge with each new generation. William has shown in every series in which he has raced that he is extremely quick and a fast learner and we intend to build on that in 2018. While with Niklas, we've been watching him for quite a while and seen that he has what it takes to challenge for the Best Rookie title in 2018. Niklas has done well in karting at both national and international level, and the time is ripe for him to take the next big step together with us. Like any rookie, Niklas will learn a lot in his first season in Formula 4, and as for the team, we have the rookie title firmly in our sights."