The Battle of the Bulls: how Jonny Edgar won the 2020 ADAC F4 title

After 21 races over the course of three and a half months, the 2020 ADAC Formula 4 championship has come to an end. The cherry on top of this season was a thrilling finale at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. The battle was fought out by two Red Bull Juniors: Jak Crawford and Jonny Edgar. In the end it was Edgar who won the championship in the last race of the season. Just two points ahead of his teammate. This is how that fight played out.

By Lisa Ihde

It has been a bumpy ride until the season took off on the first weekend of August. As most of us, ADAC Formula 4 was also affected by the corona pandemic. After two calendar changes, eleven drivers and four teams made it to the season opener at the Lausitzring. US-Racing were hoping to repeat the success they had the previous year, when they won all three championships. They signed Elias Seppänen, Tim Tramnitz, Oliver Bearman and Vladislav Lomko.

There is no competition without rivals though. Who would be the one challenging them in 2020? French team R-ace GP hoped to fight for the championship with Victor Bernier and Kirill Smal. German outfit ADAC Berlin Brandenburg signed Joshua Dürksen (returning to the grid for a second year) and Josef Knopp. They were hoping to improve after the team finished last in 2019. Last but not least Dutch veterans Van Amersfoort Racing contracted Red Bull juniors Jonny Edgar and Jak Crawford.

Jonny Edgar at the Lausitzring (Copyright: ADAC F4)

Edgar has racing ingrained into his DNA. He is the fourth generation of the Edgar family to be involved in motorsports. After joining the Red Bull junior team in 2018, and some good results in international karting, he started racing cars in 2019. While his main focus that year was the Italian F4 championship, where he finished tenth in the standings, he joined Spanish F4 in Le Castellet for a one off with Jenzer. There he scored podiums in all three races. He also made an appearance in ADAC F4, but due to being a guest driver he was unable to score points.

For Jak Crawford this was his first time racing cars in Europe. On the other side of the Atlantic ocean he has finished seventh in the USF2000 championship, and second in the 2018-19 NACAM Formula 4 championship. In NACAM F4 he was also crowned rookie of the year. After being announced for the Red Bull junior team in January 2020, he was looking for bigger challenges.

With two wins in the season opener Jonny Edgar showed that he was the man to beat this year. He led the championship from the start, far in front of his teammate Crawford, whose start to the season was rather average, being just fifth in the standings after the first round.

Formula 4 is always good for surprises, and the Nürburgring gave us a good one. Three different winners in the three races: Gabriele Mini (Prema did only two rounds of the championship), Jonny Edgar and Joshua Dürksen.

Jonny Edgar was the man of the weekend though; After just six races in the season so far, he already had a twenty point lead over Seppänen, and was 47 points ahead of his teammate. While Crawford’s highlights so far were two podiums, Edgar had already won three races, and got another podium to his name.

Jonny Edgar struggled at Hockenheim though, finishing just seventeenth in the Sunday afternoon race. He made contact with his Italian teammate Francesco Pizzi, and had to make a pit stop due to a puncture. This gave his rivals the opportunity to close the gap in the championship. Jak Crawford took it with both hands, finishing on the podium twice that weekend.

Jak Crawford at the Nurburgring (Copyright: ADAC F4)

Jet-pack Jak did his nickname justice when the championship visited the Nürburgring again. This time running as a support series for the 24 hour race. Crawford won the first race of the weekend, his first of the season. With those results he finally got himself P2 in the standings, as the second half of the season had started. But there was still a thirty point gap to his teammate championship leader Edgar.

At the Red Bull Ring the both Red Bull juniors excelled. Jonny Edgar took another two wins, but struggled in the reversed grid race though. Starting from P8, he finished just seventh. Meanwhile Jak Crawford managed to win the race from P7. But Edgar was mostly dominant throughout the first fifteen races of the season. The Brit had the most race wins of the season so far (six), with Jak Crawford and Joshua Dürksen trailing him with two each.

In the penultimate round of the season at the Lausitzring, the championship battle heated up. It would be the only weekend of the season without Edgar scoring a podium. Crawford reduced the gap in the championship further, even though he had to retire in Race 3. Tim Tramnitz won the rookie championship for US-Racing that weekend. The 15-year-old German had a solid season.

Coming to the final round of the season in Oschersleben, four drivers were still in contention for the title. Jonny Edgar led the championship from the start of the season, Jak Crawford (-23), Elias Seppänen (-47) and Victor Bernier (-71) all still had a mathematical chance. But with just 75 points still up for grabs, it would be a fight between the Bulls. 

Things were looking good for Jonny Edgar, leading Race 1 in front of Jak Crawford. With less than four minutes left on the clock Crawford tried to attack. Edgar defended, but the two teammates made contact. While Crawford managed to nurse his broken front wing to the finish line, the Brit had to pit for new rubber, dropping out of the points. Jak Crawford now led Jonny Edgar by two points, who, for the first time in the season, had lost the championship lead.

The American also started the second race of the weekend from pole position. While Jonny Edgar stayed close to Crawford for the whole race, he didn’t manage to place an overtake. The Brit finished behind his teammate, who extended his championship lead to a total of nine points, taking the championship battle to the final race.

Now it was Edgar’s turn to be in pursuit. He needed to outscore Crawford by nine points. The final classifications would be calculated by summing up the nineteen best results out of the 21 races held, with disqualifications being included in those best results.

An advantage for Edgar: his two scrapped results were a P17 in Hockenheim, and the P12 at Oschersleben. For Jak Crawford though, things were not as easy. He got one retirement in the previous round at Lausitzring, but apart from that he never finished out of the points. If he finished in the points in the last race of the season, one point for a P10 finish would not be counted in his final results. All Edgar needed for the championship were equal points, since he had more wins than his teammate Crawford (six vs. five).

Jonny Edgar at Oscherlseben (Copyright: ADAC F4)

With the reversed grid Jonny Edgar started from P7, Jak Crawford from P8 right beside him. Edgar quickly made up places, and finished the race in second behind Tim Tramnitz. The rookie might have won his first F4 race, but all eyes were on Edgar. Crawford could only manage P6, making the 16-year-old Jonny Edgar the 2020 ADAC Formula 4 champion by just a two point lead over his teammate. It would have been even closer if all races were counted. Then the gap would have been a single point.

Both drivers have a good chance to make the step up to the FIA Formula 3 series next year, after taking part in postseason tests. Jak Crawford with Hitech Grand Prix, while Jonny Edgar tested the MP Motorsport car.

Plans for the seventh season of the ADAC Formula 4 championship are already underway. It is set to start in May 2021 in Oschersleben as a support series for the ADAC GT Masters. Check out the full calendar below.

May 14-16: Oschersleben

June 11-13: Red Bull Ring

August 6-8 Nurburgring

August 20-22: Zandvoort

September 10-12: Lausitz

October 1-3: Sachsenring

October 15-17: Hockenheimring

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