Hall Of Fame: 2021 feeder series champions

2021 was another crazy year in racing with COVID still having an effect on most series. A huge thank you to all the organisers that helped keep all these series on track. Let’s go through the champions of 2021 and what’s next for them.

By Charlie Parker

Formula 2: Oscar Piastri

Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this Australian. After winning F3 as a rookie, he came to F2 and did it again. Once he took the lead of the championship from Guanyu Zhou at Silverstone, Piastri never looked back. Even though it was mathematically possible for someone else to win coming into the final weekend, we all knew the title was Piastri’s to lose. 

Piastri will be the reserve driver for the Alpine F1 team in 2022.  

Formula 3: Dennis Hauger

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Like the F2 championship, it was mathematically possible for Jack Doohan to win the F3 title in the final weekend, but it would have taken a catastrophe for Dennis Hauger to lose it. That never materialised and the Red Bull-affiliated driver was consistently fast, claiming nine podiums, four wins and three pole positions. F1 Feeder Series spoke to him after his championship win.

Helmut Marko has stated that Hauger will drive in F2 next year.

F3 Asia: Guanyu Zhou

Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Going back to the start of 2021, Guanyu Zhou edged out Pierre-Louis Chovet to the F3 Asia title. Zhou finished 11 of the 15 races on the podium in a season that only raced in the UAE due to COVID. Wins for Zhou on the opening and final weekend of the season were enough to fend off Chovet.

Zhou is off to Formula 1 in 2022, as he will race for Alfa Romeo. F1 Feeder Series talked to him a short while before he got his F1 contract.

FRECA: Gregoire Saucy

Credit: FRECA

Despite a disqualification in the fourth round, Saucy managed to wrap up the title in the second to last round at Mugello. The Swiss driver racked up 11 podiums and nine victories on his road to beating out Hadrien David to the championship. 

Saucy will continue with the ART team by moving up to F3 in the 2022 season. F1 Feeder Series had a chat with him about his season and his ambitions.

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Formula Regional Japan: Yuga Furutani

Credit: Twitter/Yuga Furutani

In a series that saw only two drivers compete in every single race, Yuga Furutani claimed the championship with relative ease. Furutani finished second in six of the 13 races and racked up three wins as well.

It is for now unknown what Furutani will do next.

Formula Regional Americas: Kyffin Simpson 

Credit: Gavin Baker

After making the step up from US F4, Simpson dominated the series, winning the title by 96 points. Simpson, who is from the Cayman Islands, racked up 13 podiums and seven victories on his way to the title.

Simpson will graduate to Indy Lights in 2022, continuing with TJ Speed. F1 Feeder Series reported on the 2022 plans of TJ Speed.

Super Formula: Tomoki Nojiri

Credit: Super Formula

Another championship confirmed before the final weekend, Nojiri’s three victories saw him win the championship by 31 points. Nirei Fukuzumi was the leading in the second race of the season, but a puncture forced him to retire and stopped any championship battle before it truly began. But that doesn’t take away anything from Nojiri, whose consistent pace found him in the top six every race.

Nojiri recently tested for the Mugen team in Super Formula so it seems like the Japanese driver might look to retain his crown.

Super Formula Lights: Teppei Natori

Credit: Super Formula Lights

In the closest championship battle in the list to this point, Teppei Natori edged out a reinvented Giuliano Alesi to the title. Despite two victories in the final weekend at Motegi for Alesi, it wasn’t enough. Natori ended up six points ahead.

Natori participated in the F2 test in Abu Dhabi with Trident. 

Euroformula Open: Cameron Das

Credit: Euroformula Open

Cameron Das racked up 15 podiums and seven race wins on the way to becoming the first EFO Champion from the United States. In fact, Das ran the final two races of the season with the number one on his car after he claimed the title in the first race at Catalunya.

There is no official word on where he will be heading next year. Das did spend 2020 in F3, so there is a possibility he goes back there or heads to F2.

W Series: Jamie Chadwick

Credit: W Series PR

With the 2020 season being cancelled, Jamie Chadwick was the reigning champion after winning the inaugural W Series title in 2019. It took two phenomenal victories in the final weekend at COTA for Chadwick to retain her crown after a great championship battle with Alice Powell. 

Chadwick is currently competing in the Extreme E championship.

GB3: Zak O’Sullivan

Credit: Kokoro Media

British driver Zak O’Sullivan claimed seven wins, seven additional podiums, the most poles, the most fastest laps and most laps led on his way to the GB3 championship. The reverse grids could not stop the 16-year-old as he pierced his way through the field in his Carlin.

In an interview he told F1 Feeder Series that Formula 3 is the logical next step for him. 

Indy Lights: Kyle Kirkwood

Credit: Gavin Baker

In an epic season that saw Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas trade wins, it was Kirkwood who came out on top, winning four of the last five races. The two finished first and second in seven of the 20 races, with Kirkwood winning the championship by 13 points.

Kirkwood will be driving for AJ Foyt Racing in IndyCar in the 2022 season. Kirkwood spoke to F1 Feeder Series shortly before winning the title.

Indy Pro 2000: Christian Rasmussen 

Credit: JHDD

After winning the USF2000 series in 2020, Rasmussen won the series with a race victory on the final weekend at Mid-Ohio, even though all he had to do was take the green flag on Sunday to mathematically secure the championship. Rasmussen picked up seven victories and an additional four podiums.

The Dane will join Andretti Autosport’s line-up for the 2022 Indy Lights championship.

USF2000: Kiko Porto

Credit: Gavin Baker

Brazilian Kiko Porto claimed the USF 2000 title in his first full year in the series. Porto beat out American Michael d’Orlando to the title, claiming four wins and an additional six podiums, winning the title by 48 points.

By winning USF 2000, Porto was awarded a scholarship to ensure graduation into Indy Pro 2000 in 2022.

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Japanese F4: Seita Nonaka

Credit: Japanese F4

Despite a retirement and a 28th place finish, while their closest rival didn’t finish lower than sixth, Nonaka won the Japanese F4 championship by four points. It came down to the final weekend at Fuji Speedway with Rin Arakawa leading the championship. Nonaka won both race one and two, while Arakawa finished race one in third and race two in second.

Nonaka has been participating in the Super Formula Lights tests.

British F4: Matthew Rees

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photograhpy

Matthew Rees from Cardiff arrived at the final weekend with a 12-point advantage over his closest rivals. But in the first of three races, Matias Zagazeta ran wide and ended up in the gravel, effectively ending the championship battle. Rees finished the season with four victories and the overall Rookie Cup, in a great year for the Welsh driver.

Rees is part of the BRDC Rising Stars and although nothing has been confirmed, it is expected he will take a step up in 2022. F1 Feeder Series took a look at the first half of his championship winning season, as he rose through the ranks.

ADAC F4: Oliver Bearman

Credit: Gruppe C Photography

Try to find a better duo than Ollie Bearman and Van Amersfoort Racing – you’ll struggle. Bearman won six races and secured five additional podiums on his way to beating Tim Tramnitz to the ADAC F4 title.

Bearman signed with the Ferrari Driver Academy and participated in F3’s post season test. F1 Feeder Series spoke to him about his future.

Italian F4: Oliver Bearman

Credit: ACI

If it wasn’t for a disqualification, Bearman would have won NINE races in a row in the 2021 season of Italian F4. Tramnitz was also his closest rival in this series, but missed two weekends. This allowed Bearman to win the title by 111 points. It was a good year for Bearman.

Spanish F4: Dilano Van ’t Hoff

Credit: MP Motorsport

In an F4 series that thankfully didn’t include Bearman, Dilano Van ’t Hoff took home the Spanish F4 championship by 130 points. The Dutchman picked up a win at every single weekend, on his way to ten victories overall and an additional six podiums.

He may continue into FRECA after spending the last three weekends of the 2021 season in the competition with MP Motorsport.

French F4: Esteban Masson

Credit: KSP Reportages

Esteban Masson was very much on course to claim the title as he was in the lead in the final race of the season, but his championship rival, Maceo Capietto, collided with him. As a result neither scored points and Capietto won the title. However, the stewards decided to disqualify Capietto from the whole weekend, meaning Masson was the champion. Masson ended the season with six wins. 

Masson stated that he plans to be in FRECA next year. F1 Feeder Series talked to the French F4 champion right before he conquered the title.

Danish F4: Mads Hoe

Credit: Danish F4

Mads Hoe, driving for Mads Hoe Motorsport, won the overall Danish F4 championship in F5 machinery after picking up four wins and an additional ten podiums. His closest championship competitor was Noah Stromsted, who was in F4 machinery. Stromsted won the final six races but missed the first two weekends. 

Hoe told F1 Feeder Series that 2021 might be his last year in motorsport due to budget restraints and the fact he wants to focus on his education. His team will continue, however.

F4 US: Noel Leon

Credit: Gavin Baker

Despite only having the joint third most amount of wins, Leon’s consistent pace was enough to claim the title. In the first weekend at Road Atlanta, Leon finished second twice and won the final race of the weekend. In the final weekend at COTA, Leon finished second twice, highlighting the consistent pace. 

It’s been a very successful two years for Leon, winning the NACAM F4 title in 2020 and then winning the NASCAR Challenge Series this year along with the F4 title. That means he has multiple options going into 2022.

F4 Argentina: Federico Hermida

Credit: F4 Argentina

In the first ever season of the series only two drivers completed an entire season in this series, but that does not take away from the fact that Hermida won nine of the 14 races, with a streak of seven wins in the middle part of the season.

F4 China: Andy Chang

Credit: F4 China

Macanese driver Andy Chang, who competed in the F3 European Championship in 2016, dominated the Chinese F4 season, winning the title by 99 points. Charles Leong claimed the first seven victories, but as a guest driver he was ineligible for points. Chang who won a race, finished second five times, which led him to the championship.

It was an up and down season, with the pandemic forcing postponements and reschedules throughout the season.

F4 UAE: Enzo Trulli

Credit: F4 UAE

Going back to the very start of the year, Enzo Trulli beat out Dilano Van ’t Hoff to the F4 UAE title by just one point. The son of former F1 race winner Jarno Trulli, the young Italian overtook his Dutch rival in the final race to finish third and claim the championship. Trulli racked up four wins and an additional nine podiums in the five-weekend season.

For the rest of 2021, he joined the Euroformula grid, claiming seventh in the championship.

Formula Nordic: William Karlsson

Credit: Formula Nordic

Karlsson secured the championship with a weekend to spare, beating out Philip Victorsson and Elias Adestam to the title. Karlsson’s strong start to the season is what won him the title with six wins in the first seven races. 

With this being the premiere Swedish single seater racing series, we may see Karlsson take his talents around Europe in 2022. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet though.

Formula Academy Finland: Jussi Kuivakangas

Credit: Facebook/Jussi Kuivakangas

Kuivakangas managed to go one better in 2021 after finishing second in 2020. He claimed the Formula Academy Finland championship with three race wins and a total of 183 points, 13 ahead of his title contender Leevi Vappula. 

Toyota Racing Series: Matthew Payne

Credit: Shots By TayB

Due to the pandemic, the season was shortened but race distances increased. Shane van Gisbergen won the first three races but did not compete in the rest of the series due to Supercars duty. Matthew Payne took the advantage and won five of the six remaining races to claim the title. Some New Zealand outfits have labelled Payne as the next Supercars “hotshot” and was signed by Grove Racing.

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Disclaimer: these are all the feeder series champions of the series that we cover.

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