G4 Racing has had an impressive maiden season in Formula Regional European by Alpine (FRECA). The Swiss team, based near Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finished sixth in the FRECA teams’ championship with two race wins and has great ambitions for 2022 and the long-term future. F1 Feeder Series talked to G4 Racing’s Sporting & Technical Manager Adrian Muñoz about this successful year, his objectives for 2022, a promising driver line-up and a potential entry in FIA F3 or endurance racing.
By Perceval Wolff
G4 Racing was created in 2019 and may sound new to motorsport and feeder series. However, Adrian Muñoz has been familiar with this world for a long time now. The Spaniard started his career as a mechanic with Racing Engineering in GP2 more than fifteen years ago and later worked with former GP3 and Formula Renault 2.0 team Koiranen GP. He then became managing director and technical manager of the Spanish F4 championship in 2016. After four years, Muñoz decided to join G4 Racing to launch a FRECA team.
First season and first wins
Less than two years later, G4 Racing’s status has changed. The Swiss-Spanish squad is now capable of challenging big teams that have been established in feeder series for decades. G4 Racing managed to finish sixth in the FRECA team standings in 2021, sandwiched between two historical teams (MP Motorsport and Van Amersfoort Racing). Did the squad expect such good results for a first season?
“To be fair, no. The level of competence in FRECA is massive,” says Muñoz when talking to F1 Feeder Series. “There are four, five teams that are already in F2/F3, they work very methodically and have so much experience. I think I’ll always remember our first win at Spa-Francorchamps in the rain, when I realised: ’Okay we won at Spa. We’ve beaten all the other guys’.”
“And even though we won twice, we also had very strong results with Michael [Belov] even when he wasn’t on the podium. But coming down to the question, no, we were not even thinking of victories or podiums in our first year.”
Belov was the team’s standout driver, scoring all the team’s points, despite only starting in the fifth round of the season. “Michael is a driver I know since he started in single-seaters,” explains Muñoz. “He’s a driver that with the right people around, with the right material, can be unstoppable. He’s the type of driver that’s clear about what he wants, and it makes it very easy to work with him. When you have a top driver like him in your team, it’s much easier to improve.”
Greater ambitions for 2022
After a successful 2021, G4 Racing is raising its expectations for the coming season. “Obviously, we’d like to do even better than the previous season,” says Muñoz. “The second year is always more difficult than the first one, because you need to at least keep the same level. But we know it’s going to be a great challenge. The 2022 season of FRECA will be mega. If you think the level of the field in 2021 was good, then the level in 2022 will be crazy.”
“Lots of very promising rookie drivers, a lot of experienced returning drivers. Fans will have a great season for sure. And it’ll be very, very difficult to even fight for points. You may have 15 or 20 drivers fighting within some tenths of a second.”
“The second year is always more difficult than the first one, because you need to at least keep the same level”Adrian Muñoz
During the 2021 post-season testing, G4 Racing impressed on several occasions, topping several sessions with drivers like Macéo Capietto and Victor Bernier. Muñoz’s squad seems much more prepared for 2022 than last year: “We’re really confident coming into this year. We had the opportunity to test with many different drivers, try different things, evaluate different options about the setup, technical analysis, things that we weren’t able to do last year as we came into the championship quite late.”
“Last year, we took over Bhaitech’s entry because they weren’t going to continue. We received Bhaitech’s material at the end of December, after the post-season testing. We only briefly tested in Barcelona to check all the cars and all the materials were fine, and then we started to work hard to prepare everything to be ready for the first official testing in March of 2021. It was really difficult for us to come to the pace at the beginning because we hadn’t done all the testing days. This year, that won’t be the case anymore.”
French rookie drivers for 2022?
Muñoz highlighted the performance of some of the drivers that tested for his team, possibly giving a clue about G4’s future line-up: “All the drivers that we tested really impressed us, especially those coming from French F4. Even if it is a mono-series, and there are no teams, the level is amazing. We tested with Capietto [3rd in French F4 in 2021], and this guy is a massive talent. We also tested with Owen Tangavelou and Daniël Ligier so I can say the French category is really tight.”
“In single-seaters the logical step is to go to FIA F3, which is a very well-managed and well-established championship”Adrian Muñoz
“We also tested Victor Bernier, who did Italian F4 and ADAC F4, and his level was quite good too. I’m really impressed with French F4. Even if he didn’t test for us, Esteban Masson [French F4 champion, tested for R-ace GP and FA Racing] did really amazing too.”
G4 Racing has tested eight drivers since the end of the season, but it seems Muñoz has a clear idea about his team’s line-up for this season: “We’re already 90 percent sure. We’re just finalising some small details, we have a clear idea of the direction we want to go.”
A future in FIA F3?
If G4 has a clear idea of the direction they want to go for next year, they also have some ideas for the future. Muñoz seems eager to continue the growth of his team towards bigger championships: “We’re continuously evaluating all the options. In single-seaters the logical step is to go to FIA F3, which is a very well-managed and well-established championship. But we also monitor other categories like GT and LMP3, where there’s also very nice competition.”
Formula 4 return not planned
Before its official entry in FRECA in March 2021, G4 Racing was relatively unknown to racing fans. One of the rare snippets of information about the team was that it was run by the family of single-seater driver Axel Gnos. What exactly is the history of G4 Racing before entering FRECA?
“Initially, G4 Racing had a karting team named “Kids To Win” based near Barcelona,” explains Muñoz. “In 2019, the Gnos family took the step to continue into motorsport by creating a Spanish F4 team after purchasing the assets of FA Racing. They got some good results with a couple of podiums, and they wanted to do a double program with Italian F4 and Spanish F4 for 2020. Unfortunately, COVID came and they decided to only focus on Italian F4 and prepare the team for an entry in FRECA the year after.”
“At the moment, we’re not considering a return to F4, because it’s one of the most difficult categories to manage and handle”Adrian Muñoz
However, after competing in Spanish F4 in 2019 and Italian F4 in 2020, it seems there will be no return: “At the moment, we’re not considering a return to F4, because it’s one of the most difficult categories to manage and handle. The main issue is that the market of drivers is not so big. On the one hand, you have drivers that are doing 40 or 50 days of testing, and on the other hand, you have drivers that don’t have enough budget to do other testing than the official ones. It creates an unbalanced competition. […] So we didn’t purchase the new generation of F4 cars,” explains Muñoz.
The first pre-season FRECA testing will take place at the end of March, following the end of the winter championships, while the season will officially start on the 23rd of April at Monza.
Header photo credit: Formula Regional Championship by Alpine
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