END OF AN ERA AS FORD’S RISING STARS DESCEND ON BRANDS HATCH FOR BRITISH F4 FINALE


A quartet of drivers head to Brands Hatch’s iconic GP circuit this weekend with a shot at securing the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title as the series brings down the curtain on an era of FIA Formula 4 racing in the United Kingdom.

Perhaps fittingly, Ford’s involvement with junior single seaters in the UK will conclude at the same Kent venue that hosted the first Formula Ford race back in 1967, with this weekend’s action set to be every bit as hard-fought and action-packed as that historic weekend, over five decades ago.

Matthew Rees (JHR Developments) arrives at the 2.4-mile Grand Prix circuit with a crucial 12-point advantage over nearest rival Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti), the Brit having scored a brace of victories at Donington Park a fortnight ago to give his title bid some momentum.

Two other drivers remain in outside contention – McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) and Joel Granfors (Fortec Motorsport) – but, with a maximum score of 83 points on the table after 16 entries for the event were confirmed, the pair will need a serious shift in the order from 47 and 68 markers back respectively.

Cresswell will also have to fight on two fronts with the Rookie Cup title at stake versus Rees; the pendulum has swung between the pair in the class standings all season long, but the latter arrives in the proverbial driving seat, 45 points to the good, with their JHR squad also out front in the Teams Cup.

Although the spotlight will be fixed on the title contenders this weekend, a whole host of rising stars are waiting in the wings to end the campaign on a high note.

James Hedley (Carlin) will look to round out the top five in the standings for the second successive campaign, having narrowly missed out on remaining in mathematical contention for the honours, whilst sixth-placed Joseph Loake (JHR) will be aiming to add to victories at Thruxton, Oulton Park and Silverstone earlier in the season.

Kai Askey’s form has been lightning-fast in recent rounds, the Carlin ace now well-placed to capitalise on the absence of Oliver Gray (Fortec) and break into the top-seven outright after a strong run, including three podium finishes in his last five starts.

He will need to be wary of Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti), however. The 15-year-old has been something of a revelation since joining the series mid-season and continues to knock on the door for a maiden victory in single-seaters.

Zak Taylor will be aiming to maintain the top-ten spot he re-claimed last time out in the East Midlands, as an absolute minimum, but the leading Arden Motorsport challenger in the standings could yet leap-frog both Askey and Neate into the top eight, should results fall his way.

That has certainly been true of his team-mate Georgi Dimitrov of late, the British-Bulgarian arriving in Kent looking to make it a hat-trick of reverse grid victories on the spin. The ever-improving David Morales and Cameron McLeod have also been a potent threat, and should be back among the points this time out.

Ditto Marcos Flack, the rapid Australian enjoying a hat-trick of points finishes and one of his strongest outings in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series to-date at Donington. Team-mate Eduardo Coseteng also has every reason to feel uplifted after a maiden podium in Leicestershire.

Coseteng’s success marked a notable milestone for the series, the strength in depth of the competition highlighted by the fact every entry in 2021 has achieved at least one podium finish.

Last, but by no means least, is Dougie Bolger; the Japanese racer undoubtedly looking to head into the winter on an upward trajectory.

After seven seasons in its current guise, Ford’s support of the F4 British Championship ends this weekend at Brands Hatch but make no mistake – the iconic marque has one last title decider in store, and at least one more star of the future will join the likes of Schumacher, Senna, Button, Hill and Norris in starting their career under the famous blue oval.