BRITISH F4 GRADUATES WIN BIG AT AUTOSPORT AWARDS
British F4 graduates were out in force at last night’s glittering Autosport Awards in London, with class of 2015 stars Lando Norris, Enaam Ahmed and Dan Ticktum receiving accolades. The latter scooped one of the most coveted prizes for young drivers in motorsport, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, and ensured that for the second consecutive year the prestigious Award was won by a British F4 graduate.
The Award gives Ticktum the chance to test a McLaren F1 car and play a simulator role with the team, as well as full BRDC membership and an Arai crash helmet.
Fresh from his thrilling Macau Grand Prix victory just a fortnight ago, Ticktum emerged triumphant having been up against fellow British F4 graduates Max Fewtrell (2016 FIA British Formula 4 Champion), Enaam Ahmed (2015 Rookie Champion), and Harrison Scott (2013 and 2014 vice-champion) in a comprehensive test which put them through their paces.
The quartet went head-to-head over two intensive days of assessments at Silverstone in October, featuring on-track tests on the Grand Prix circuit in Formula 2, Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT3 cars, plus fitness tests conducted by McLaren.
“I had an amazing weekend in Macau and this has exceeded that,” said Ticktum.
“I cannot put into words how proud I am right now to have won this award.
“It’s been an incredible experience right from the outset. The two days were incredibly difficult and having to wait six weeks to find out who the winner was was agonising to say the least.
“People know I had a tough career to start with and there have been some very important people who believed in me, particularly Red Bull, Christian Horner, Dr Helmut Marko – they’ve given me a chance and I hope I can do them proud.
“I fought back and learned from my mistakes and my immaturity and I’m stronger because of it.”
The judging panel was led by ex-F1 driver, 1992 world sportscar champion and outgoing BRDC president Derek Warwick, and comprised two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, 1997 Award winner and GT boss Andrew Kirkaldy, ex-F1 designer and engineer Mark Williams, leading circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, Autosport magazine editor Kevin Turner and Autosport Plus editor Scott Mitchell.
Spa 24 Hours victor and 2008 Award winner Alexander Sims was the guest judge.
“It’s such a big challenge for these guys at this stage in their career to jump into these three different cars,” said Sims.
“Dan this year was outstanding.”
Sims was joined by McLaren’s Éric Boullier, Turner and BRDC chairman John Grant to present Ticktum with the Award.
Other previous Award winners include 13-time GP victor David Coulthard, 2009 F1 world champion and 1998 Formula Ford champion Jenson Button, triple Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, as well as Ticktum’s 2015 British F4 rival Lando Norris.
Ticktum will look to further emulate Norris in 2018. He makes the step up the FIA single-seater pyramid to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, in which Norris took the title in his first year in the series with Carlin.
2015 FIA British Formula 4 Champion and newly crowned FIA European Formula 3 Champion Norris had plenty of reason to celebrate at the star-studded ceremony, winning National Driver of the Year. It capped another sublime year for one of motorsport’s brightest young talents, in which he was announced as McLaren’s F1 test and reserve driver for 2018.
Enaam Ahmed made it a hat-trick of British F4 success by winning British Club Driver of the Year. Having clinched the Ford EcoBoost-powered Rookie title in 2015, the 17-year-old looked unstoppable for much of this season as he romped to 13 victories from 24 races on his way to the British F3 crown. 2017 FIA British Formula 4 Champion Jamie Caroline was also nominated for the Award which was won by Norris in 2016.