Starting 2022, India will welcome two new FIA-certified championships on its home soil: Formula 4 India and Formula Regional India (FRIC). The world’s second most populous country has already had two F1 drivers, one F1 team, one national Grand Prix but it has now vanished from the great Formula 1 circus. With these two championships, India aims to find its new generation of drivers but also engineers a clear path to the pinnacle of motorsport.
By Perceval Wolff
Mumbai Falcons, backed by two very wealthy Indian companies (Megha Engineering and Gadhoke Group), is the entity behind these two new championships. If you have watched Asian F3 last winter, this name should ring a bell: they came 3rd in the teams’ championship. The Indian squad with an all-Indian line-up has also led Jehan Daruvala to P3 in the drivers’ championship with three race wins.
Armaan Ebrahim, who was behind te Indian X1 Racing League and is Mumbai Falcons team principal, is proud of the new series. “It is great to finally have world-class equipment and race cars on our home soil. We look forward to building a series of championships that enable Indian drivers to compete at the highest level globally and will make Indians a force to reckon with in the motorsport world.”
Mumbai Falcons has reached an agreement with Prema Powerteam to become the technical partner of both championships. The Italian team will help and train Indian race engineers by sharing their experience and their data.
F4 India and FRIC will be winter championships which take place before the start of the European championships. Five rounds in five weeks on four difference racetracks. The opening round will be held at Buddh International Circuit, on the weekend of February 25-27. The two championships will be the first to drive at a new street track in Hyderabad, then go to Kari and Madras before heading back to Hyderabad for the final round on March 25-27.
During the live presentation, Mumbai Falcons announced FRIC would welcome fifteen drivers while twelve drivers would form up the grid of Indian F4. Formula Regional India will use the well-known Tatuus F.3 T-318, powered by an Alfa Romeo engine (as Asian F3 or W Series). The champion will be granted a free seat in Asian F3 for next year in Mumbai Falcons’ team and will earn eighteen precious FIA Super Licence points (which is as much as non-European Regional F3).
In the meantime, Indian F4 will use the brand new second-generation car from Tatuus with an Abarth engine, as UAE F4. There also, the winner will get a free seat in Formula Regional India for the following year, with twelve FIA Super Licence points.
All of this could create a real ladder to high-level single-seaters for young drivers. For example, the ‘22 Indian F4 champion could go and win Formula Regional India ‘23, before going to Asian F3 in ‘24. How many Indian drivers will be able to start their racing career thanks to these championships? And how many European drivers will be tempted to go to India? Whatever the result, these two new championships are undoubtedly a major step forward for Indian motorsport.
Full calendar for Indian F4 and Formula Regional India in 2022
23 – 24 February: Buddh (pre-season test)
25 – 27 February: Buddh
4 – 6 March: Hyderabad (street circuit)
11- 13 March: Kari
18 – 20 March: Madras
25 – 27 March: Hyderabad (street circuit)