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The fifth season of the FIA F4UAE Championship powered by Abarth starts this weekend at the Dubai Autodrome, with 14 drivers on the starting grid for Round 1 and a large group of 10 rookies among them. With drivers from the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Peru, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Italy, Germany and the United States of America, it's an exciting mix of international karting stardom and F4-winning experience. So which drivers make up the class of 2021?

#3 Saud Al Saud – 3Y Technology (Rookie)
Saud is a relative newcomer to motorsport, having recently contested the KSA Rotax Max Challenge. He was crowned vice champion in the KSA endurance karting championship as well and this year he debuts in open-wheelers with F4UAE and Dubai-based 3Y Technology.

#07 Kirill Smal – Xcel Motorsport 
Kirill commences his second year in single-seaters with F4UAE and Xcel Motorsport. Last year the 15-year-old Russian finished second in the WSK Champions Cup (OK) and seventh in the South Garda Winter Cup, before making the transition to cars. In 2019 he finished fourth in the Karting World Championships (OK). He competed in the ADAC Formel 4 Championship with R-ace GP and scored three podiums to finish ninth outright. In Italy, he raced for Prema for three rounds and finished second in the final race of the season. After F4UAE he is expected to return to Italian F4.

#08 Matias Zagazeta – Xcel Motorsport
Experienced Peruvian driver has come from a rookie season with Carlin last year  in British F4, scoring a best race finish of fifth, outright 12th, and two Rookie Cup wins. Signed by Infinity Sports Management, Matias joins Xcel Motorsport as one of only four drivers with previous open-wheeler racing experience.

#13 Pepe Marti – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
The top rookie in 2020’s CIK-FIA World Karting Championship, Pepe graduates to single-seater racing with Xcel Motorsport in F4UAE. In 2019, the Spaniard won the Spanish Junior Championship  before stepping up to OK with Kart Republic for 2020. Pepe has been a protege of two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso during his karting career and has previously been a factory driver for Tony Kart. After F4UAE, Pepe will join Campos Racing for the Spanish F4 season.

#14 Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
A 15-year-old Thai karter, Tasanapol finished fourth in the IAME Asia Cup in 2020, while in 2018 was runner up in X30 Junior. The young racer then went on to take a podium in the DKM last year in the OKJ category. This year Tasanapol finished fourth in the IAME Asia Cup in X30 Senior. He makes his single-seater debut with Xcel Motorsport in 2021.

#15 Nikita Bedrin – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
Russian karter Nikita has an illustrious karting career with many wins at an international level. In 2017 he won the WSK Final Cup (60 Mini) and came second in the WSK Super Masters Series (60 Mini). In 2019 he finished second in the WSK Final Cup (OKJ), first in the Italian Championship (OKJ), and third in the WSK Euro Series (OKJ). Moving up to OK karts in 2020, he won the WSK Super Masters Series and Champions of the Future titles. He makes his single-seater debut with Xcel Motorsport this year in F4UAE.

#17 Dilano Van’t Hoff – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
This 16-year-old Dutch karting star will make his single-seater debut in F4UAE with Xcel Motorsport. He has raced in senior karting for the past two seasons with standout results including winning Italy’s prestigious Trofeo delle Industrie, finishing fourth in the WSK Open Cup and fifth in the CIK-FIA European championship in 2019. He has also been the driver to beat in pre-season testing for F4UAE, finishing fastest in all sessions. 

#23 – Oleksandr Partyshev – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
This Ukrainian teen has raced in karting for the last two years with Ward Racing with the highlight of his first year being sixth place in the nation-based FIA Karting Academy Trophy in 2019. He came sixth overall in the three-round series for OKJ karts, and was the overall winner of the second round at Sarno. In 2020 he stepped up to senior karts and was 46th in the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship. Oleksandr is another rookie driver for Xcel Motorsport in 2021 F4UAE.

#24 Jamie Day – Xcel Motorsport (Rookie)
Jamie is a Britain-born racer who is based in Dubai with his father Kevin running and owning Xcel Motorsport. A successful karting star, he finished sixth in the WSK Super Master Series and won the Champions of the Future round he contested. Jamie won the 2019 French Cup at the junior level, as well as sixth in the CIK-FIA European and World karting championships, and his partnership with Lennox Racing Team led to joining Charles Leclerc’s karting brand for 2020. He also spent time with Charles Leclerc himself when F4UAE supported the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December 2019.

#28 Francesco Braschi – Mucke Motorsport
Italian racer Braschi contested part of the Italian F4 in 2020 with Jenzer Motorsport, taking a best finish of 14th and will stay with the team for a full season in 2021. Francesco is currently confirmed for the first F4UAE round.

#29 Enzo Scionti – CRAM Durango (Rookie)
This American teen racer moved up from junior to senior karting at the end of 2019 and spent much of 2020 racing in Italian championships. Making his debut in F4UAE in 2021, the 15-year-old is using the category to warm-up for his rookie Spanish F4 campaign with Drivex School.

#34 Enzo Trulli – CRAM Durango (Rookie)
Enzo is the son of Formula 1 race-winner Jarno and makes his single-seater debut in F4UAE with the CRAM Durango team before plans to race in the Spanish F4 championship with FA Racing in 2021. Taking part in the Italian federation’s Federal School in December, Trulli was a rookie in senior karting last year finishing 15th in the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship.

#77 Jonas Ried – Mucke Motorsport (Rookie)
Jonas has been karting since 2009, racing in Bambini, OK Juniors, OK and KZ2 classes and makes his open-wheeler debut this weekend in F4UAE. In 2018, the German racer placed fifth in the ADAC Kart Masters OK Juniors, in 2019 was part of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy, and last year placed eighth in the DMSB DKM (German Karting Championship) KZ2. With several F4 tests last year, Jonas is now embarking on a full assault in 2021 and plans to race in F4 in Europe after F4UAE.

#88 Hamda Al Qubaisi – Abu Dhabi Racing
Hamda is the most experienced racer in the 2021 F4UAE season having won three races and 12 podiums last year in her home country, finishing fourth outright and winning the Sportsmanship Award among her peers. The young Emirati was the first Arab woman to win a championship open-wheeler race in 2020 at Yas Marina Circuit, two months after he sister Amna won the non-championship race supporting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamda will race for the same Prema-supported team as last year, Abu Dhabi Racing. She also has experience racing in Italian F4 with Prema; a relationship that began back in 2019.

Round 1 starts official on Thursday January 14 with free practice, two qualifying sessions and two races, followed by the final two races on Friday January 14. All four races will be live streamed on the F4UAE YouTube Channel and Facebook page.