Having once been considered the most prestigious entry-level racing series, ADAC F4 has seen its grid being picked apart over the years. In spite of the low number of entries there is still plenty of quality in this year’s line-ups. Here is our guide to the 2022 ADAC Formula 4 Championship.
By Alexander Studenkov
Before the pandemic, ADAC F4 shared the pedestal with Italian F4 as the go-to Formula 4 championship, with teams competing in both series simultaneously and showcasing their drivers in two countries.
However, the pandemic drastically changed things in terms of ADAC F4’s reputation: whilst its Italian counterpart flourished, regularly fielding grids of more than thirty drivers, the German-based championship has entered a period of decline.
In the last two years, only four teams have completed a full season with at least one of their drivers: US Racing, R-ace GP, privateer team Sauter Engineering + Design and Van Amersfoort Racing.
It is the last of these four that has taken both the drivers’ and teams’ titles in 2020 and 2021 respectively, with Ollie Bearman currently holding the crown after a hard battle with US Racing’s Tim Tramnitz.
ADAC F4 has a certain knack for fielding the best talents at this level of competition. Currently there are three alumni who have graduated to Formula One, those being Lando Norris, Mick Schumacher and 2022 rookie Guanyu Zhou, while other notable names such as F2 race winner Théo Pourchaire and the aforementioned Bearman have been able to call themselves champions.
This season sees the introduction of a new chassis, the Tatuus F4-T021 which bears the halo head protection device, albeit that is the only large change for 2022. Pirelli remains the sole tyre supplier, meanwhile all teams use 1.4 Litre Abarth engines.
The weekend format consists of two 15-minute qualifying sessions used to determine the grids for races 1 and 2, whilst race 3 will utilize the finishing order of the second race as its grid, with the top eight finishers being reversed.
As well as that, the scoring system remains, with 25 points going to the winner, 18 for second, 15 for third and points being awarded down to tenth place. Contrary to the Formula One points format, there is no bonus point for setting the fastest lap during a race.
These points are scored for three different championships within ADAC F4, namely the drivers’, teams’ and rookie championships.
To easily recognise rookie drivers the numbers on their cars are red, whilst everyone else’s number is black.
The schedule remains as reputable as ever, holding six rounds at five venues in three different countries. Starting off, the teams will race at Spa-Francorchamps before going to the Hockenheimring for round two.
Following a trip to Zandvoort the championship will hold three races at the so-called Sprint Circuit at the Nürburgring, and after an event at the Lausitzring the drivers will return to the Eifel to drive on the Grand Prix variant of the track for the final round of the season.
One of the strongest feeder series teams, Prema, will only be contesting a part-time campaign in ADAC F4, as they are planning to focus on the championship in their native Italy. The two-time ADAC F4 champions took one victory last year courtesy of Kirill Smal.
#7 – Charlie Wurz
The son of ex-Williams driver Alex Wurz has already tasted success in junior formulae, winning the F4 UAE title in convincing fashion.
Wurz made his single-seater debut last year, taking part in two rounds of Italian F4 with Prema.
#13 – James Wharton
A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2020, having won the first iteration of the team’s scouting world final, the Australian spent his final year in karting extensively preparing for his Formula 4 debut in 2022.
Wharton competed in all but one round of this year’s F4 UAE Championship and won four races, which will give him a solid platform to challenge for regular podiums and the odd win in Germany.
#88 – Rafael Câmara
The 2021 European Karting vice-champion is coming into this year in impressive form. After missing the first round of F4 UAE due to illness, the 16-year-old rookie won six races and finished second in the standings, whilst also beating teammate Wharton to the rookie title.
As a new recruit to the Ferrari academy, Câmara goes into this season as a credible threat for wins at every round.
#12 – Andrea Kimi Antonelli
The most well-known name in Formula 4 right now, Antonelli has been part of the Mercedes Junior Team since the age of 12. Between then and now the Italian has won a myriad of karting titles, which includes the European Karting Championship in 2020 and 2021.
Midway through last year he made his F4 debut and fought for wins in no time, and with two victories in F4 UAE now under his belt Antonelli is bound to race at the front, albeit he will only take part in the first half of the ADAC F4 season.
#20 – Conrad Laursen
The Dane comes into his third year in the category with a point to prove. Last year the 2020 Danish F4 champion only managed to finish ninth in Italian F4.
The non-profit racing organisation founded by Paul Müller has marked 2022 as their first step in motorsports. Having taken key personnel from the departing Mücke Motorsport team, PHM scored three victories in F4 UAE earlier this year.
#15 – Nikita Bedrin
One of the stars of international karting, Bedrin made his F4 debut with Van Amersfoort last year in ADAC and Italian F4. He managed to clinch the rookie title in both categories and scored three overall wins in 2021.
This year Bedrin is going in with positive momentum after taking two wins in F4 UAE with his new team, which should serve as a launchpad for a title assault.
#41 – Jonas Ried
Son of WEC driver Christian Ried, the 17-year-old German has so far achieved two rookie wins in Italian F4 with Mücke Motorsport. He finished 25th in the main standings and twelfth in the rookie class.
Entering this year after a campaign in the UAE, consistent points finishes should be the aim for Ried.
#77 – Taylor Barnard
A modern-day karting star, having finished second in the European and World Championships, Barnard made his F4 debut in the back end of 2020 with AKM Motorsport.
This was followed by a patchy season with BWR in ADAC F4, however the Brit has regained confidence by becoming PHM’s first ever race winner at Abu Dhabi. He will be looking to take more wins in what is supposed to be his first full car racing season.
#19 – Valentin Kluss
The German karting sensation comes into Formula 4 as the reigning ADAC Kart Masters champion, following a national Rotax Max Challenge title the previous year.
Kluss has previously tested F4 cars at Aragón, Hockenheim and Spa, but he will have to wait for his 15th birthday at the end of May to be able to race in championships.
A team formed through the collaboration of Ralf Schumacher and Gerhard Unger, the team has previously driven the title campaigns of Lirim Zendeli and Théo Pourchaire. After helping Tim Tramnitz to become a double F4 vice-champion last year US Racing remains as strong as ever, albeit it hasn’t confirmed whether it will contest ADAC F4 for the whole season.
#22 – Alex Dunne
Hailing from Ireland, Dunne made his name in European karting before debuting in F4 with Pinnacle in the Spanish F4 Championship. After scoring a podium and a pole position in three rounds he switched to US Racing for the second half of the ADAC F4 campaign.
There he finished on the podium in his first two races, and a strong showing in F4 UAE for Hitech GP where he scored two wins has made Dunne one of the in-form drivers going into this season. Dunne is slated to do at least a couple of rounds this year.
#52 – Marcus Amand
Finnish-born Amand made his F4 debut in Germany last year following a glittering karting career, with the 2019 European Junior title being his biggest achievement. His 2021 season ended up being underwhelming, only finishing twelfth with R-ace GP.
In his second year in the category, Amand is expected to make a step towards the front of the races and to take his first wins and podiums.
#11 – Pedro Perino
The first ever F4 driver of Mozambican origin, Perino made his car racing debut at the back end of 2020. Last year the Portuguese driver took one point at the Red Bull Ring, racing for US after half a season with DR Formula.
Remaining with the German outfit for 2022, Perino will be looking to make more regular appearances in the points.
#37 – Kacper Sztuka
Coming in from a rookie season that yielded two rookie podiums but no points in the Italian Championship, Sztuka embarks on a part-time campaign in ADAC F4.
The Polish driver drove for AS Motorsport for all but one round last year, switching to Iron Lynx for the event at Mugello.
#44 – Nikhil Bohra
The first ever driver from Singapore to drive in ADAC F4, Bohra competed in the final round of last year’s championship with R-ace GP under an American licence, having driven in the German Karting series for the majority of his campaign.
This season he has already gathered experience with the new chassis in the UAE, taking 17 points and finishing 20th.
Despite being a powerhouse in Formula Renault and now FRECA, R-ace have historically struggled to compete at the front regularly in F4. The French team is planning to concentrate on the Italian championship this year.
#14 – Frederik Lund
The Dane made his F4 debut late last year, scoring a podium in two rounds of Danish F4. Lund has since made a one-off start in U.S. F2000 with Jay Howard Driver Development.
#71 – Marcos Flack
Another driver with a variety of experiences in different series, Flack moves to R-ace after a full year of British F4 which yielded three podiums. Parallel to his F4 campaign, Flack is also competing in GB3 for Douglas Motorsport.
Van Amersfoort Racing
The title winners from the past two years, Van Amersfoort has opted to focus on Italian F4 for this campaign. The famed Dutch squad took Ollie Bearman to last year’s championship, whilst also helping Nikita Bedrin to win the Rookie Cup. The Dutch squad has chosen to skip the first round of ADAC F4 due to late delivery of car parts and it remains to be seen if they will attend other rounds.
#17 – Emerson “Emmo” Fittipaldi Jr.
Son of two-time Formula One world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, Emmo made his first foray into car racing at the age of 14 in the Danish F4 Championship. Driving for FSP, the Brazilian finished third with two wins to his name.
#33 – Brando Badoer
Another descendant of a former F1 driver, Badoer has been competing in European karting series since 2019 and already gained experience in gearbox karts last year.
The Italian took his first steps into car racing in F4 UAE, finishing without points at AKM Motorsport in a partial campaign.
#34 – Martinius Stenshorne
15-year-old Stenshorne has experienced major successes in karting, with titles in the WSK Super Masters and WSK Open Cup. He is also signed to the All Road Management scheme which has strong links with the Ferrari F1 team.
The Norwegian had a quietly impressive first F4 experience at the start of this year, scoring a podium and finishing tenth in the Middle East with R-ace GP, which will provide him with a solid base to build upon.
#TBC – Arvid Lindblad
Having become the 2020 European OKJ runner-up in karting, the Brit with Swedish roots became affiliated to the Red Bull Junior Team. Last year Lindblad finished third in the senior European karting class with KR Motorsport.
Currently recovering from tissue damage sustained in a recent crash, Lindblad will make his single-seater debut after he turns 15 in August.
#2 – Arias Deukmedjian
A familiar face to followers of the American racing scene, Deukmedjian finished ninth in a partial campaign of F4 US last year.
The American of Korean and Armenian descent has also gained experience in Europe, competing in one round of FRECA with FA Racing.
#96 – Jules Castro
Hailing from Belgium, Castro embarks on his first season in single-seaters. He has gained his first F4 experience this winter, racing in the first two rounds of the UAE Championship with Pinnacle Motorsport. Castro will only do selected rounds in ADAC F4 for VAR.
A notable name within both the F4 and sportscar scene, the Italian team operates with strong support from Prema. They will look to build on the success of driver Leonardo Fornaroli from last year, although they will only run a select number of rounds in ADAC.
#83 – Maya Weug
Completing the triplet of Ferrari-backed youngsters, Weug was the first ever woman to be accepted into the Italian team’s academy in 2021.
Following a lukewarm debut season in which she didn’t score points in the Italian F4 series despite getting two rookie podiums, the Spanish-born racer will hope to fight for more in year two.
#89 – Ivan Domingues
A winner of multiple karting cups in his native Portugal, Domingues made his single-seater debut this year in the Middle East. His campaign proved promising as he achieved two podium places and a pole position.
With a fourth-place finish in the rookie standings in F4 UAE the 15-year-old could contend for the top places.
The Swiss outfit experienced their worst season in years, not scoring any wins or podiums in 2021. Jenzer are hoping to change that with a full-time effort in ADAC F4.
#24 – Rasmus Joutsimies
The Finn is a veteran of European karting, having raced in the OK Senior category since 2018. Joutsimies will make his car racing debut in 2022 following a successful series of tests with the Swiss team.
#26 – Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi
Coming from Bankok, Thailand, the 15-year-old has been racing in several top karting series for the past three years. Bhirombhakdi competed in F4 UAE with Xcel Motorsport, taking a best result of 15th.
TBC – Samir Ben
Ben is going into his second season of single-seaters following a full campaign in Italy with Jenzer and one round each in Germany and Spain.
He will miss the first round at Spa due to his chassis not having been delivered in full, and will be replaced by guest starter and F4 rookie Ethan Ischer.
Sauter Engineering + Design
One of the feel-good stories of last season, Sauter Engineering + Design is the only privateer team on the grid. Run by Stephan Sauter with his son Michael Sauter in the driving seat, 2021 proved to be an uphill battle for the small squad, however they were still able to take the fight to the established teams.
#21 – Michael Sauter
Following nearly a decade karting in his native Switzerland, Sauter made his car racing debut last season in ADAC F4. Despite initial struggles, which included a crash at the Sachsenring that put the team’s participation into doubt, the 17-year-old was able to score points in four consecutive races, with a fifth place being his best result.
With a single rookie win under his belt Sauter will be looking to adapt to the new chassis and to produce more upsets this season.
The German squad entered F4 last year, competing in a part-time campaign with Taylor Barnard and Valentino Catalano. Cooperating with the Rosberg Racing Academy (yes, *that* Rosberg) BWR have stated their ambition of joining ADAC F4 on a full-time basis this year.
#79 – Rishab Jain
The 20-year-old Singaporean will make this year his first in single-seaters, although he has prior experience of driving Radicals in East Asia. Rather distinctly, Jain has undergone military training and is a Sergeant of his nation’s Ministry of Defence.
#89 – Chris Rosenkranz
Having raced for the KSM Racing Team in karting, Rosenkranz starts his car racing career this season. The German has previously tested with BWR at Spa.
#3 – Alfio Andrea Spina
After withdrawing from the final round last season Spina will finally make his first F4 appearance in 2022. An Italian karting prodigy, Spina has won the WSK Champions Cup on two occasions.
Who will win?
Asking for favourites before the season proves to be extremely difficult, as some drivers may take a massive step forward in their second year, whilst rookies can take down the predicted order with some surprise results. Aside from that, the question of whether a driver will take part in the entire campaign will play a crucial role in choosing the title contenders.
One of the main faces will be the returning Nikita Bedrin. Having proven his class not only in his rookie F4 season but also with his new team PHM in the winter, Bedrin is a clear frontrunner right from the start.
A challenger to his title bid could be his teammate, Taylor Barnard. The Brit has not had the easiest time of things in Formula 4 thus far, but taking his first win in the UAE may give him the confidence boost to take on Bedrin.
US Racing’s Alex Dunne has the capabilities to become the closest opponent of the PHM pairing, however the Irish driver has not been confirmed to be competing in ADAC F4 on a full-time basis.
In terms of rookies, VAR’s Stenshorne and Prema’s Câmara have a good chance to fight for victories should they partake in the series for the whole season, and the likes of James Wharton and Ivan Domingues can also take some rookie wins.
Where to watch?
The majority of the races will be available to watch on the official ADAC YouTube channel. A select number of rounds will be streamed on Motorsport.tv with English and German commentary.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps will host the opening round of the season on the 23-24 April.
Header photo credit: Gruppe C Photography
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