Kids in toy cars? Maybe. Grids made up of (mostly) teenagers with no concept of fear? Likely. Fierce racing wherever they go? Absolutely!
Often the first destination for fresh-faced youngsters straight out of karting, Formula 4 is an ever-growing entry-level series around the world for drivers aged 15 and up. The FIA first introduced the current Formula 4 regulations in 2014 with the start of the new Italian championship, and the years since have seen a burgeoning amount of series and talented youngsters to fill them. This is where stars of the future are being made today. In fact, three current F1 drivers owe championship wins in F4 to their path to F1 - Lance Stroll, from the Italian championship; Lando Norris, from the British championship; and most recently, Yuki Tsunoda, from the Japanese championship.
This years' smörgåsbord of Formula 4 championships is already under way in the Middle East, with the out-of-season UAE championship reaching its conclusion this weekend. The championship has boiled down to a title fight between two drivers in their very first season of car racing - the wonderfully-named Dilano van't Hoff, 16-year-old son of long-time Middle East racer and ex-Dutch Supercar Challenge champion Alex; and 15-year-old Enzo Trulli, son of serial train driver and grape-botherer Jarno. Two outside bets for the championship are comparative veteran Hamda Al Qubaisi, daughter of long-time GT racer Khaled, and Russian Kirill Smal. van't Hoff has been nigh-on unbeatable in Qualifying, taking all but one of the pole positions, with the Dutchman also taking 5 wins to Trulli's 4. However, Trulli has had 13 podiums, compared to the 11 of both van't Hoff and Smal.
The rest of the FIA-certified championships to run this year are:
ADAC (German) Formula 4, using a Tatuus chassis with an Abarth engine. Recent champions include Formula 2 drivers Lirim Zendeli and Théo Pourchaire.
Argentine Formula 4, using a Mygale chassis with a Geely engine. This will be the first year of the championship.
British Formula 4, using a Mygale chassis with a Ford engine. This replaced the British Formula Ford championship.
Chinese Formula 4, using a Mygale chassis with a Geely engine, which I know nothing about if I'm honest.
French Formula 4, using a Mygale chassis with a Renault engine. Recent champions include Caio Collet and Hadrien David.
Italian Formula 4, using a Tatuus chassis with an Abarth engine. Recent champions include Enzo Fittipaldi and Dennis Hauger.
Japanese Formula 4, using a Dome chassis with a Toyota engine. Recent champions include Formula 1 driver Yuki Tsunoda, only 3 years ago!
NACAM (North and Central American) Formula 4, using a Mygale chassis with a Ford engine.
Spanish Formula 4, using a Tatuus chassis with an Abarth engine. Recent champions include Amaury Cordeel and Franco Colapinto.
US Formula 4, using an Onroak Ligier chassis with a Honda engine. Recent champions include Dakota Dickerson and a great example of nominative determinism, Joshua Car.
There are also further F4 championships outside of the FIA's remit, such as the Russian and Danish championships, the latter being where the oft-vaunted Juju Noda made her European racing début last year.
Who will stand out from the crowd this year?
Edited by Frood, 12 February 2021 - 22:09.