French & German Formula 4 Weekend Recap

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French Formula 4

Saturday: 4th success for Masson, 1st for Giusti

Esteban Masson started from pole position and brilliantly dominated Race 1, before the inverted grid in Race 2 spiced up the proceedings. Alessandro Giusti kept a cool head to take his first victory in the French F4 Championship.

Organised as part of the International GT Open, the first two races of the Hungarian meeting in Budapest offered their episodes of confirmations and surprises. While Race 1 was generally clear due to the high level of performance and consistency of the drivers entered with the FFSA Academy, Race 2 quickly became animated, with numerous overtaking moves and even an outing from the safety car.

Race after race, Esteban Masson kept demonstrating his speed and determination to win the 2021 French F4 Championship. The driver from the Ancenis club in the Pays de la Loire region managed to hold on to his lead at the start, before setting a fantastic pace at the front of the field. "The work done with all my entourage has paid off again in terms of riding technique and race control," enthused the championship leader. "I quickly got a lead, which allowed me not to force my tyres. Despite this, I managed to extend the gap to win by 7 seconds and the best lap point."

Behind him, Macéo Capietto also put in a solid performance, without ever really being able to take a breather because of the pressure exerted by the Thai Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, who made an excellent debut for his first appearance with the FFSA Academy. Owen Tangavelou was also on an excellent pace and was a candidate for the podium, but ended up taking 4th place while preserving his tyres as much as possible.

In his usual fashion, Daniel Ligier jumped up at lights out to quickly gain a position at the expense of Gaël Julien, then a second on the following lap over Swiss driver Dario Cabanelas, to complete the top-5. Cabanelas could however be satisfied with his 6th place. Behind Australian Hugh Barter who came back in 8th, Alessandro Giusti recovered a place in the top-10 after having missed his take-off. A short distance away, Enzo Geraci won an important duel with Pierre-Alexandre Provost, as his 10th place was synonymous with a pole position start in Race 2.

According to the principle of the reversed grid, Enzo Geraci and Alessandro Giusti took their places on the front row at the start of Race 2, which saw Giusti give his compatriot a run for his money from the first corner. "Shortly after the halfway point, the safety car came on track. It adopted a rather slow pace and a lot of rubber debris was deposited on my tyres. On the restart, the car started to slide and I really had to stay focused and fast to hold off Gael Julien, and then Daniel Ligier when he went into second." The safety car intervened following a collision that eliminated Esteban Masson.

Behind the Giusti-Ligier-Julien trio, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak was 4th after a good attacking race, as he was only 8th on the grid. Owen Tangavelou overtook Enzo Geraci at the end of the race to take 5th place, but the latter still managed to get his best result in the discipline. The last points awarded went to Australian Hugh Barter and Macéo Capietto, closely followed by Elliott Vayron, author of the best lap and three places up.

Macéo Capietto strikes back in Race 3 in Budapest

In a duel with Masson throughout the meeting at the Hungaroring, Capietto this time beat his rival from the start to win for the second time in the 2021 French F4 Championship.

The feared stormy showers did not invade the skies over Budapest and the drivers of the FFSA Academy were once again able to enjoy warm and sunny weather. The Pirelli tyres fitted to the FFSA Academy's Mygale-Renault Sport single-seaters were put to the test, but the young drivers of the French F4 Championship were able to cope with this additional difficulty during 23 minutes of an exciting race from start to finish.

At the front, the start played an important role in the final hierarchy and the podium. On the outside of the front row, Macéo Capietto made a perfect start. "I must admit that I had the best start of my career," confirmed Macéo. "When I got to the first corner I already had a lead and I immediately tried to give myself a bit of breathing space compared to Esteban. I continued with a high pace, without taking all the risks. My tyres kept a good efficiency until the end." The best lap in the race set by the winner of the day confirmed his level of performance. "This meeting at the Hungaroring allowed me to achieve a good score in terms of points, which is positive for the rest of the season."

Esteban Masson, winner of the previous day's race, scored the second place points, resisting perfectly to the Thai Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, who repeated his performance of Race 1 by climbing on the third step of the podium. After the spectacular collision in Race 2, the FFSA Academy mechanics were able to repair Masson's single-seater in time, and he remains a solid leader in the French F4 Championship with a 40-point lead over Macéo Capietto and 44 over Hugh Barter, who will be able to regret his modest qualifying session. Winner of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy this winter, the Australian nevertheless finished on a positive note by moving up from 14th to 7th place in Race 3.

Owen Tangavelou, a podium contender, was caught out by Inthraphuvasak on the first lap and was never able to find an opening afterwards despite a clear round and excellent lap times. Now 5th in the Championship, Owen also had to watch out for the return of Gaël Julien, who confirmed his rise to prominence with each passing race. Gaël overtook Swiss rider Dario Cabanelas at the start, before getting the better of Alessandro Giusti to complete the day's top-5. Giusti had to settle for ninth place in the last part of the race.

Cabanelas didn't give up after his difficult start and showed a lot of fighting spirit to recover the lost places. His efforts were rewarded with a 6th place overall. The neck and neck battle in this category with Alessandro Giusti continues!

The promising Elliott Vayron, who started 15th and finished 8th, can congratulate himself on his great debut in single-seater competition. Noah Andy completed the top-10 of the day in front Pierre-Alexandre Provost and Enzo Geraci. Excellent in Minikart and Cadet karting, Enzo Richer has been almost completely free of competitions for almost four years. He was delighted to discover the FFSA Academy and its high-level F4 FIA Championship. It was a disappointment for Angélina Favario and Daniel Ligier, who ended up being left behind following an incident at the start of the race.

The next round of the championship will be held at Ledenon from September 10 to 12.

German Formula 4

Bearman wins Saturday’s race in Zandvoort

Van Amersfoort driver Oliver Bearman takes a lights-to-flag victory. Sebastian Montoya and Tim Tramnitz complete the podium.

Van Amersfoort driver Oliver Bearman claimed his third win of the season in the opening race of the ADAC Formula 4 weekend at Circuit Zandvoort. The 16-year-old, who started from pole position, led from start to finish at the circuit in the Dutch dunes. Bearman had already proven to be unbeatable on Friday: the Brit has so far set the fastest lap time in all four track sessions. Bearman also won the first two races of the season at the Red Bull Ring in season. As such, the Van Amersfoort now holds a clear lead at the top of the German Formula 4 championship with 75 points. Columbian Sebastian Montoya (16, Prema Powerteam) and Tim Tramnitz (16, Hamburg, US Racing) joined Bearman on the podium in perfect conditions in Zandvoort. Runner-up Montoya came home half a second behind Saturday’s race winner, before ADAC Stiftung Sport driver Tramnitz crossed the finish line 2.307 seconds later.

“That was a really good race from me. I am very quick this weekend. The key to the victory was definitely pole position. We knew beforehand that qualifying would be particularly important, as overtaking manoeuvres are risky here in Zandvoort. I owe this victory to my team. The set-up of the car was top in all areas,” said Bearman shortly after the race.

Bearman made a brilliant start from pole and had already opened a gap of over a second by the end of lap one. Montoya also started well from the front row of the grid, while Tramnitz held off Luke Browning (19, Great Britain, US Racing) to hang on to his third place. Van Amersfoort’s Bearman proceeded to control proceedings through his rear-view mirror and put clear distance between himself and the chasing pack. On the whole, there were few changes of position within the field – until a crash involving guest driver Leonardo Fornaroli (16, Italy, Iron Lynx) resulted in an appearance of the safety car, which bunched the drivers up again. However, even after the re-start, Bearman once again pulled clear of everyone else to take a victory that at no point looked at risk. Bearman was followed over the finish line by Montoya, Tramnitz and Browning, with Kirill Smal (16, Russia, Prema Powerteam) taking fifth.

“It was really difficult to attack, but nor did I have to do an awful lot of defending,” said Tramnitz. “We were relatively fast from the word go. My car felt very good before the safety car phase, but I struggled with degrading tyres at the end. That was when I started having to look in my mirror. It goes without saying that we always want to be right out in front, but in the end third place gets me some good points again,” said the young man from Hamburg.

Second place for Montoya was enough for the Columbian to remain third in the overall standings. The Prema driver now has 50 points and currently lies behind Luke Browning (57). “I obviously always want more. Finishing second behind Oliver Bearman is not the best feeling. All the same, I have picked up some good points. We had the quality and speed to win. However, it is simply difficult to overtake on this track. The next two races are tomorrow, when I hope that I can win a trophy again.”

Sixth place went to Frenchman Victor Bernier (16, R-ace GP), with Russia’s Vlad Lomko (16, US Racing) seventh. He was followed over the finish line in eighth and ninth by Van Amersfoort team-mates Joshua Dufek (16, Switzerland) and Valint Bence (16, Hungary). In tenth place was Francesco Braschi (16, Italy, Jenzer Motorsport). The fastest rookie was Nikita Bedrin (15, Van Amersfoort Pilot), who leads this competition. The Russian finished eleventh to give Van Amersfoort Racing yet another reason to celebrate. “For Van Amersfoort Racing, this race win at the team’s home event is obviously wonderful. This kind of success means an awful lot to the whole team,” said Bearman.

Bearman and Smal win the Sunday races

Van Amersfoort driver Oliver Bearman claims a lights-to-flag victory in Sunday’s first race. Kirill Smal wins race three at Zandvoort.

A dominant lights-to-flag win for Oliver Bearman and the first victory of the season for Prema driver Kirill Smal (16) were the standout stories from Sunday’s ADAC Formula 4 races at Circuit Zandvoort. Van Amersfoort driver Bearman claimed his second victory from pole position in race two at the spectacular circuit in the Dutch dunes. The 16-year-old Brit now holds a commanding lead at the top of the championship with 112 points. Bearman was joined on the podium by his team-mates Joshua Dufek (16, Switzerland) and Nikita Bedrin (15, Russia), making it a one-two-three for Van Amersfoort Racing at the Dutch team’s home event. In Sunday’s second race, it was the turn of young Russian Smal to celebrate. Second place went to his team-mate Sebastian Montoya (16, Columbia), ahead of ADAC Stiftung Sport driver Tim Tramnitz (16, Hamburg, US Racing).

“This victory feels fantastic. It was a very good race and I am extremely happy about our team success,” said Bearman after his fourth win of the season. Smal was also happy with more than just his own performance: “We did a super job in race three. I am proud of the whole team. We ended the weekend here in Zandvoort with first and second place. We can now travel home with a smile on our face.”

Race one saw a commanding display from championship leader Oliver Bearman, who converted his pole position into a lead at the start, and refused to give it up for the entire race, despite three safety car phases. Bearman had already enjoyed one lights-to-flag victory at the spectacular circuit on Saturday. “What a race! To occupy the first three places with my team-mates, I am delighted for the whole team. It is the reward for the hard work we are all putting in,” said a jubilant Bearman after the race. His team-mate Dufek said: “I am very happy with my second place, although I obviously always want to win. It’s not every day that you occupy the first three places as a team. We are all so happy.”

Fourth place went to Victor Bernier (16, France, R-ace GP), with Smal taking fifth place ahead of Tramnitz. Frenchman Sami Meguetounif (17, R-ace GP) was seventh. Montoya came home eighth. Completing the points positions were Luke Browning (19, Great Britain, US Racing) and Vlad Lomko (16, Russia, US Racing).

In the third race of the weekend, the reverse grid saw Montoya, who finished eighth in race two, start from pole position. The Columbian made a real mess of his start and Smal took advantage of his mistake to take the lead. Smal was not to be shifted from the front of the field, even after two safety car phases. Montoya seemed unaffected by his poor start, fighting back strongly to cross the finish line in second place. “The circuit here in Zandvoort is not actually suited to overtaking manoeuvres, but I was really quick and able to make up for my mistake. I will learn from the mistake, that is what they are there for,” said Montoya. Tramnitz finished third, with the otherwise dominant Bearman fourth. “It has obviously been a very good weekend for me on the whole, although I would have liked to have finished on the podium in the final race,” said the championship leader. Montoya climbs into second point in the overall standings on 72 points. Smal improves his standing by two positions and now lies third with 70 points, closely followed by Tramnitz (69).

Fifth place went to Bernier, with positions six to eight occupied by Browning, Dufek, and Leonardo Fornaroli (16, Italy, Iron Lynx). Taylor Barnard (17, Great Britain, BWR Racing) and Conrad Laursen (15, Denmark, Prema Powerteam) completed the top ten.

Bedrin is the dominant driver in this year’s rookie competition. He has won five of this season’s six races so far in his category, and consequently holds a comfortable lead: “I am learning every race and always try to do my best,” said the Van Amersfoort driver. Only in the final race in Zandvoort was Bedrin beaten. This time, the best rookie was Switzerland’s Michael Sauter (16, Sauter Engineering + Design), who finished twelfth.

The next race weekend takes place from 6th to 8th August at the Nürburgring.