FRAC (Formula Regional Asian Championship) is one of the two winter series, the other being F4 UAE, that take place in the Middle East as a precursor to the main season in the feeder series calendar. It starts today (January 21st) and will last for five weeks until the end of February.
By Tyler Foster
This is the fifth season for the championship which has been renamed for this year from F3 Asia as part of the FIA’s restructuring of the F3 format. The series continues to act as a stepping stone between the various national Formula 4 championships and the FIA F3 Championship with FIA Super License points being on offer to drivers that finish in the top nine within the drivers’ standings. This season features a record grid with eight teams and over thirty drivers taking part.
The drivers and teams have already completed their pre-season testing at the Yas Marina Circuit. On the Friday of each race week, there will be a Free Practice session followed by two short qualifying sessions. The first qualifying session will set the grid for the first race which takes place on Saturday. The second qualifying session sets the grid for the final race of the weekend on Sunday. Meanwhile, the second race of the weekend which also is on Sunday will be a reverse grid for the top ten finishers from race one.
There are five rounds in the championship that occur over five consecutive weeks between 21st January and 20th February. All five rounds are taking place in the UAE alongside the F4 UAE series which is its support series. The first and final round will take place at the Yas Marina Circuit on the same GP layout used in F1. The second, third and fourth rounds will all take place at the Dubai Autodrome however will use two different layouts.
How to Watch
The races will be live streamed on the Formula Regional Asian Championship YouTube channel and on Facebook. There is also live timing available.
Teams & Drivers
There are eight teams in this year’s FRAC. These are: Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema, Evans GP, Evans GP Academy, Mumbai Falcons, Pinnacle Motorsport, Hitech GP, BlackArts Racing and 3Y by R-ace GP.
Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema
Paul Aron – #3
This 17-year-old Estonian has been part of the Mercedes Junior Team since July 2019. He managed a strong performance in last year’s FRECA with Prema, finishing third in the championship with two wins from Pole at Mugello. Despite still being young, he is entering his fourth year in single seaters.
Jak Crawford – #52
This 16-year-old American has been part of the Red Bull Junior Team since January 2020. He impressed throughout 2021 after competing in both Euroformula and FIA F3. He finished third in the Euroformula standings with eight wins in sixteen races. Alongside that he managed a podium in his debut season in Formula 3 with Hitech. He will be racing for Prema in Formula 3 this season.
Khaled Al Qubaisi – #66
The 46-year-old Emirati father of the two sister teammates in the same team will be taking part in his third FRAC season but will be looking to add to his two points so far accumulated. He has been racing in sports cars in GTE championships over the last few years.
Hamda Al Qubaisi – #88
The 19-year-old Emirati driver is the younger and more successful of the two sisters. She has finished fourth twice in F4 UAE and took part in the Italian F4 Championship in 2021 managing a podium.
Amna Al Qubaisi – #99
The 21-year-old US-born older sister competed in this championship last year but failed to score any points. This will be her fourth year in single seaters.
Nicola Marinangeli – #14
This 18-year-old Italian took part in this championship last year however failed to score any points with Motorscape. He also struggled in FRECA last year with another pointless campaign with Arden.
Cem Bölükbaşı – #74
This 23-year-old Turk continues his meteoric rise through motorsport after starting in the 2017 Formula One eSports Series. He enjoyed a very successful 2021, competing in FRAC last year and finishing ninth while also managing two victories with Van Amersfoort Racing in Euroformula and finishing fifth despite competing in only just over half of the season. He makes the leap into Formula 2 with Charouz for 2022 and will be one of the most popular drivers on the FRAC grid this year.
Frederick Lubin – #78
The 17-year-old Brit had a very disruptive 2021 as a result of suffering from myocarditis. This cut his GB3 season in half, however following his return he managed two podiums and finished eleventh in the championship.
Evans GP Academy
Levente Révész – #11
This 16-year-old Hungarian made his debut in single seaters last year in both the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships. He managed one points finish in both series. He will be competing in FRECA this year with Van Amersfoort Racing.
David Morales – #77
This 18-year-old American joined the British F4 Championship with Arden halfway through the season last year. He managed two poles and two podiums.
Dino Beganovic – #10
This 18-year-old Swede has been part of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2020. He had his birthday earlier this week and will be looking to start 2022 strongly after somewhat disappointing last year. He competed in three rounds of FRAC last year, finishing seventh with four podiums. He only managed one podium last year in FRECA with Prema and finished thirteenth in the standings. He will once again be racing for Prema in FRECA this year.
Arthur Leclerc – #28
The 21-year-old Monegasque had a strong debut season in Formula 3 last year with Prema. With two race wins and a further podium, he finished tenth in the standings. He will remain with Prema in F3 for 2022 and will be one of the favourites for the championship from the start. He is also part of the FDA.
Sebastián Montoya – #46
The 16-year-old Colombian son of F1 cult hero Juan Pablo Montoya competed in both the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships in 2021. He managed nine podiums in Italian F4 finishing fourth in the standings with a further three podiums in ADAC F4 from just six races. The young driver looks likely to remain with Prema for 2022. He will only take part in the first three rounds in FRAC.
Oliver Bearman – #TBA
The 16-year-old Brit may be the hottest property on this year’s FRAC grid after signing for the Ferrari Driver Academy at the backend of last year. He certainly had the best 2021, winning both the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships with Van Amersfoort Racing. The young prospect has already been confirmed to be competing in the FIA F3 Championship this year with Prema. He will only compete in the final two rounds in FRAC, taking over from Montoya.
Pepe Martí – #23
This Spaniard took part in the F4 UAE and Spanish F4 Championships in 2021. He finished seventh in F4 UAE last year with one race win. He impressed in Spain finishing third in the championship behind fellow FRAC teammate Dilano van’t Hoff.
Dilano van’t Hoff – #27
The 17-year-old Dutchman certainly dominated 2021. He lost out on the F4 UAE Championship by a single point before going on to win ten of the twenty-one races in Spanish F4 and winning the series. He made a brief appearance in FRECA but struggled.
Salih Yoluç – #34
The 36-year-old Turk raced in the European Le Mans Series last year in the LMP2 class with Racing Team Turkey. This will be his first venture in single seaters.
Ayato Iwasaki – #55
This Japanese driver is making his single seater debut after coming out of karting.
Gabriele Minì – #4
This 16-year-old Italian won the Italian F4 Championship in 2020. He graduated to FRECA with ART last year and finished seventh with four podiums. He will remain with ART in FRECA and be one of the favourites for the title. He will only compete in the first two rounds in FRAC.
Leonardo Fornaroli – #5
This young Italian competed in the Italian F4 Championship while also making a brief appearance in the ADAC F4 Championship last year. In Italy he managed a strong season, finishing fifth with a victory and seven podiums. He will only do three rounds in FRAC in order to remain a rookie for FRECA this year.
Isack Hadjar – #6
This 17-year-old Frenchman became a member of the Red Bull Junior Team for 2022. He performed well in FRAC last year with five podiums. He finished fifth in FRECA for R-ace GP with two victories and has subsequently graduated to FIA Formula 3 for 2022 with Hitech. He is the only full-time entry for Hitech in this year’s FRAC.
Joshua Dufek – #7
This Swiss youngster took part in both the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships in 2021. He managed a victory and five podiums in Italian F4, finishing seventh. In ADAC F4, he managed five podiums and finished seventh. He will race in the first three rounds in FRAC.
Owen Tangavelou – #TBA
This French teenager competed in French F4 for 2021. He managed two podiums and finished fifth in the standings. He will take over the FRAC seat from Gabriele Minì and race in the final three rounds.
Thomas Luedi – #9
This Swiss driver will be competing in his fourth FRAC series with BlackArts. He will be looking to add to his four cumulative points so far. He will be one of three competing for the Masters Title alongside fellow experienced racers Khaled Al Qubaisi and Salih Yoluç.
Brice Morabito – #21
This driver from Luxembourg has raced in the Austrian F3 scene in 2020.
Ido Cohen – #26
The 20-year-old Israeli driver will be looking to have a strong series after disappointing in 2021. He competed in FIA F3 with Carlin but failed to score a point and similarly struggled in a few rounds in FRECA. The Israeli contracted COVID prior to the start of the series and was subsequently replaced by Malaysian driver Alister Yoong for the testing sessions.
3Y by R-ace GP
Oliver Goethe – #15
This 17-year-old Danish driver competed in FRECA with MP Motorsport in 2021. He struggled in his debut season in the series with just two points finishes.
Lorenzo Fluxá – #16
This 17-year-old Spaniard competed in FRAC last year with BlackArts and several solid points finishes. However, like his teammate Oliver Goethe he struggled in FRECA in 2021. Racing with Van Amersfoort Racing, Fluxá failed to score any points.
Hadrien David – #17
The 17-year-old French teen became the youngest FIA Formula 4 Champion in history, winning the 2019 French F4 series aged just 15. He had an extremely successful campaign in 2021. Racing for R-ace GP, he finished as runner-up in FRECA with two victories. He will only be competing in FRAC for the first two rounds.
Gabriel Bortoleto – #18
The 17-year-old Brazilian made his debut in FRECA last year with Fernando Alonso Racing, finishing with one podium. He will return to FRECA this with R-ace GP.
Francesco Braschi – #TBA
This Italian driver took part in four separate series in 2021. He managed relatively little success but scored a podium in F4 UAE. He will replace Hadrien David for the final three rounds of FRAC.
Léna Bühler – #TBA
This 24-year-old Swiss driver competed for R-ace GP last year in FRECA but struggled, not scoring any points. She took part in the post-season W Series test. She will only compete in the final two rounds of FRAC.
Header photo credit: FRAC