As the oldest and most competitive Formula 4 series, Italian F4 once again sets the gold standard when it comes to being the first step of the feeder series, this season. Multiple world-class talents, an impressive set of rookies and the introduction of a new chassis do give plenty of reasons to pay attention to this class. This is your season guide for the 2022 Italian F4 Championship.
By Alexander Studenkov
Founded in 2014 as the first FIA-backed Formula 4 Championship, Italian F4 has been growing year by year ever since. Thanks to large backing from the ACI (Italy’s motorsport federation) and heavy promotion by the WSK close to 40 drivers compete in the series each year, with a majority racing throughout the whole campaign.
This has historically attracted some of the best up-and-coming drivers joining single-seaters each year. Current F1 drivers Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, Zhou Guanyu and Lando Norris have raced in Italian F4, and the championship has also produced the likes of Formula 2 stars Jüri Vips, Dennis Hauger and Marcus Armstrong among others.
Most recently, new Ferrari junior Ollie Bearman became a dominant title winner in 2021, beating his closest rival Tim Tramnitz (who missed two rounds) by 111 points. The Brit’s team Van Amersfoort Racing won the teams’ championship whilst new PHM driver Nikita Bedrin took the “Rookie of the Year” honours.
Like most F4 series in 2022 Italian F4 will use the halo-shod Tatuus F4-T021 chassis from this year onwards, a car that made its successful debut in the UAE earlier this year. Every team is supplied tyres by Pirelli and uses an Abarth 1.4L engine.
Let’s take a look at the format next: Qualifying consists of two 15-minute sessions in which the fastest times respectively set the grids for the first two races of the weekend. The grid for race three is determined by taking the drivers’ best second-fastest laptime from both respective sessions.
The races are 30 minutes long, with the traditional FIA points system awarding points from first down to tenth. These points count towards four separate championships: one for all drivers, one for the teams, another for all rookies and lastly one for women.
Van Amersfoort Racing
After taking Bearman to the title last season the Dutch team will look to retain their crowns in the drivers’, teams’ and rookie championships in 2022. The move of their star race engineer Rik Kasius to the team’s FRECA department however will make this a more difficult challenge.
2. Arias Deukmedjian
American with roots in Armenia and Korea, Deukmedjian will embark on his first full season in Europe, having driven for FA Racing at Mugello in FRECA last year. The 17-year-old has also taken two podiums in a partial campaign of F4 US in 2021.
17. Emerson Fittipaldi Jr.
The 15-year-old Brazilian made his single-seater debut in Denmark last year, getting two victories and third place overall in the nation’s F4 Championship. Fittipaldi is the son of F1 World Champion Emerson Senior and will hence have people expecting him to get the odd win or two this season.
Emmo Fittipaldi’s seat fit earlier this year | Credit: Van Amersfoort Racing
33. Brando Badoer
Having made his F4 debut this winter with AKM Motorsport the son of ex-F1 driver Luca Badoer becomes the latest alumni of the Italian karting scene. His most successful achievement in go-karts was finishing second in the 2020 WSK Euro Series.
34. Martinius Stenshorne
The Norwegian won titles in multiple WSK series before making his F4 debut in the UAE this year. A member of Nicolas Todt’s All Road Management programme, Stenshorne scored a podium and finished tenth with 3Y, making the 15-year-old a contender for regular rookie wins in Italy.
96. Jules Castro
Being a graduate of the Benelux karting series, Castro is making his first steps into car racing. He has gained experience in the car already, driving for Pinnacle Motorsport in two rounds of F4 UAE.
TBC – Arvid Lindblad
One of the top karting talents, Lindblad finished as the highest-placed rookie in last year’s European Championship. The Red Bull Junior will be eligible to race in the series once he turns 15, with his first weekend scheduled to be round 5 in Austria.
The feeder series juggernaut has dominated the championship since its inception, taking five out of seven drivers’ titles. However, being outmached by Van Amersfoort Racing, Prema only managed to take one race win in 2021, a performance which it will look to bounce back from.
7. Charlie Wurz
Son of former F1 driver Alexander Wurz, the young Austrian is not short of accolades himself. Having made his racing debut in two Italian F4 rounds last year, Wurz won F4 UAE against the most competitive grid in the series history. His consistency could help him on the way to a good championship position, as Wurz finished all UAE races in the top ten.
12. Andrea Kimi Antonelli
As the European Karting Champion of 2020 and 2021 Antonelli came into Italian F4 at the fifth round of 2021 with high hopes. The 15-year-old immediately proved that the hype was justified, taking three podiums at Monza and nearly outscoring Prema’s full-time driver Laursen in the standings. The Mercedes junior achieved pairs of wins in the UAE and Germany respectively, making him the title favourite going into this season.
13. James Wharton
Having spent 2021 testing F4 cars in preparation for his debut in the UAE this year, Wharton comes into this season as one of the best-prepared rookies on the grid. The Ferrari junior scored four victories in his Formula 4 debut this winter with Prema, making him an outside contender for the title.
20. Conrad Laursen
The 2020 Danish F4 Champion went through a rough season in Italian F4, missing out on the rookie title and finishing a long way behind his Prema teammates. Laursen will hope that a solid partial campaign in the UAE with a pair of podiums can set him on the right path.
88. Rafael Câmara
After a European karting vice-championship last year, the Brazilian was picked up by the Ferrari academy and vindicated their choice in F4 UAE, finishing second in the standings despite missing the first round. Having beaten academy stablemate Wharton in his car racing debut, Câmara can aim for the overall title.
The evolution of the HTP Junior Team from 2015, US Racing has been a perennial frontrunner since Gerhard Unger and Ralf Schumacher created the outfit, taking ADAC F4 titles with Lirim Zendeli and Théo Pourchaire. Going into their first full campaign with multiple cars in Italy the Germans will hope to take the challenge to Van Amersfoort and Prema once again, having taken Tim Tramnitz to second despite missing two rounds last year.
11. Pedro Perino
Mozambique-Portuguese driver Perino started his F4 career in 2020 in a one-off with DR Formula. After half a season with the team in 2021 he moved to US Racing, scoring a singular point at the Red Bull Ring.
22. Alex Dunne
Irishman Dunne remains with US Racing after a fruitful three rounds with the team last year. A podium in Spanish F4 driving for Pinnacle was followed up by two respective podiums and pole positions in Germany. Following two wins in F4 UAE Dunne is in good form to battle the frontrunners this season.
37. Kacper Sztuka
Racing in his second Formula 4 season, Sztuka managed two rookie podiums in an Italian F4 campaign with underdogs AS Motorsport. Despite scoring no points overall last year, the Pole has already shown his talent by taking the only non-Prema podium at the opening ADAC F4 round in April.
44. Nikhil Bohra
After a part-time season in Germany’s karting series Bohra made his F4 debut at the Nürburgring in late-2021. The American-Singaporean with Indian roots raced in F4 UAE this year, finishing 20th in the standings with five rookie podiums.
52. Markus Amand
Being the 2019 European Karting Championship, Amand came into his debut season last year with high expectations. He would not get his wish, finishing a lowly twelfth with R-ace GP in ADAC F4. The Finnish-born Frenchman has impressed in testing with US, which could mean that Amand will get a better chance to take podiums and the occasional win.
Set up by Paul Müller this year, PHM have set the goal of giving underfunded talents a chance in junior formulae. The German squad has already proven their competitiveness, winning three races in the UAE.
15. Nikita Bedrin
The 16-year-old is considered a title challenger, having become the rookie champion by just a single point in 2021, with a win at Imola to his name. Bedrin joined PHM from Van Amersfoort Racing in January, winning two races with the team in F4 UAE and ending up fourth in the standings.
41. Jonas Ried
Ried is coming into his second season, having taken two rookie wins last year at Misano. The son of WEC driver Christian Ried ended up 25th in the Italian F4 standings. He has gained experience with PHM in the UAE where he scored four points.
78. Victoria Blokhina
A graduate of the European karting scene, Blokhina reached the final of last year’s “Girls on Track –Rising Stars” shootout for a spot in the Ferrari Driver Academy. Blokhina made her F4 debut in the Middle East this year, driving four rounds of 3Y by R-ace.
77. Taylor Barnard
Despite a glittering karting career Barnard is yet to make his mark on the single-seater scene. His Italian F4 debut in 2020 was followed by a patchy season with BWR in Germany, although his first win with PHM in F4 UAE will give the Brit the confidence to taste further success.
Having missed out on the podium all together last season, Jenzer is coming into 2022 with the goal of recovering from their least successful F4 season yet. The Swiss team has also been competing in Formula 3 and its predecessor GP3 since 2010.
19. Valentin Kluss
Coming into F4 as the reigning ADAC Kart Masters champion, the 14-year-old will make his debut after his birthday in late May. Kluss is on loan from his main team PHM Racing, with whom he will compete in Germany.
26. Oleksandr Partyshev
Representing Ukraine in Formula 4, Partyshev spent last year racing in Spanish F4 with Campos, finishing 25th. As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Partyshev’s participation is under threat, given that his main sponsors are located within his home country.
27. Ethan Ischer
Hailing from Switzerland, F4 rookie Ischer has previously raced in the IAME Euro Series. Despite having started racing at the comparatively late age of 13, Ischer finished third in the national karting championship in his second year of competition.
ART Grand Prix’s former B-team, R-ace have been racing in Formula 4 since 2019 and have tasted victory in every year. Last year’s FRECA team champions will make 2022 their first full season in Italian F4 after sporadic appearances in the past few years.
54. Frederik Lund
A graduate of Danish F4, Lund competed in the final two rounds of the series last year, scoring a second place. The Dane with Nicaraguan and Costa Rican roots has also garnered experience in this year’s U.S. F2000 opener as preparation for his first complete racing campaign.
55. Marcos Flack
Despite starting his junior formula career just last year, Flack has already raced in four different championships across Germany, Italy and the UK. He scored three podiums in British F4, finishing eleventh in the standings.
Race winners last season with Leonardo Fornaroli, Iron Lynx won the GT title in the European Le Mans Series in 2021. The Italian squad was founded in 2017 and bears close connections to Prema Racing.
47. Nicola Lacorte
After a season of OK Senior karting with KR Motorsport Lacorte will progress into Formula 4 when he turns 15 in the Summer. He is the son of IMSA driver Roberto Lacorte and is a part of the Cetilar driver development programme.
83. Maya Weug
Part of the team’s Iron Dames offshoot, Ferrari junior Weug comes into her second season in the category. She managed to score a pair of rookie podiums last year, albeit the Dutch racer is still searching for her first points in the overall championship.
89. Ivan Domingues
With two podiums and a pole position in F4 UAE under his belt the Portuguese driver has made a good start to life in single-seater racing. Domingues has won the Portuguese Karting Cup on three occasions and competed in European karting from 2018 to 2021.
The team of Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s father Marco, a former racing driver, has been competing in the series since 2020 after several years as “Antonelli Motorsport”. AKM is registered in San Marino and also competed in the International GT Open last year.
35. Pedro Clerot
Being the runner-up of Fórmula Delta Brasil with three victories, Clerot moves to Europe to progress his racing career. He has set interesting times in testing, albeit the 15-year-old will only compete in the first few rounds of Italian F4.
36. Ismoilkhuja Akhmedkhodjaev
The first Uzbek on the feeder series scene made his first step on the ladder in the Middle East, taking part in all five rounds with Xcel Motorsport. He is colloquially known as “Ismoil Akhmed” and has previously raced in the European Karting Championship.
Founded by Eric Baumgartner, BWR entered in four rounds of ADAC F4 in 2021. Working together with Nico Rosberg’s racing academy, the German team is going into its first full year of competition.
9. Alfio Andrea Spina
2020 WSK Euro Series champion Spina joins the F4 paddock following a solid season in senior European karting. Spina was scheduled to make his debut with BWR at the Nürburgring last year, but withdrew from the weekend.
29. Rishab Jain
A Sergeant in the Singaporean army, Jain will partake in a partial Italian F4 programme. He has previously competed in Radicals around East Asia.
Based in the region of Emilia Romagna, BVM have been competing in various European single-seater series since 1993. They have only taken a single victory in Italian F4 however, coming courtesy of Pietro Delli Guanti two years ago.
25. Hwarang Kim
With a podium in the German Karting Championship to his name, Kim makes his step into F4. The Korean tested Formula Renault machinery in 2020 and has taken part in multiple winter tests with Jenzer during this winter.
After a fruitful 2020 in which the team managed several wins, last season was a snap back to reality for Cram with a measly total of 16 points scored. They have been investing more into their F4 projects recently however, joining the Spanish Championship in 2022.
79. Georgis Markogiannis
The only Greek driver on the feeder ladder, Markogiannis has spent two partial seasons with Cram in Italian F4. He will aim to score points in what is to be his third year in the category.
80. Ricardo Escotto
Following four years of senior karting, the Mexican stepped up to Formula 4. Having tested for multiple Spanish F4 teams, Escotto finished as the highest non-scoring driver in F4 UAE. Parallel to his Italian F4 commitments, the 17-year-old represents Cram Motorsport in Spanish F4 as well.
A team founded in the 1990s that has been involved within Formula 4 since 2015, AS Motorsport have traditionally been a rally team before switching to junior formulae at the start of the last decade. Representing Slovenia on the F4 scene, the squad went point-less in 2021 with Kacper Sztuka as its only competitor.
5. Giovanni Maschio
Maschio enters F4 after two years of karting under his belt in his native Italy. Coming from Veneto, Maschio has so far only tested the old T-014 chassis with the team.
37. Manuel Quondamcarlo
Having tested with the team at Cremona and Imola Quondamcarlo embarks on his first car racing campaign. He is part of the Minardi Management scheme which also lists Prema’s Antonelli as one of its clients.
With the team’s origins harking back to the 1960s Ethiopian rallying scene, Maffi has been moulded into a circuit racing team prior to this year, entering three cars for this season. The Swiss outfit has a triumvirate of Alexandre Thouvenin and brothers Cristian and Daniel Maffi at its helm.
48. Elia Sperandio
Four-time Swiss Karting Champion Sperandio is going into his first junior formula season in 2022 after having tested with Jenzer during the winter. At this moment the Swiss driver is dependent on crowdfunding to be able to finance his full campaign.
A brand-new team entering this season, Cars Racing will enter one car into Italian F4. Former F1 car designer Gabriele Tredozi will act as the leading engineer, whilst ex-racing driver Fabio Babini will assist the team with driver coaching.
21. Andrea Frassineti
As a karter with experience in KZ2 Frassineti has spent five years in and around the WSK championships before making the step into cars this year. The father of the Faenza-born driver was formerly active in rallying.
Who will win?
It is difficult to look past Andrea Kimi Antonelli when discussing the title favourites. The Italian showed immense raw talent throughout his karting career and has carried that over into his first rounds of F4. Prema Powerteam will provide a good package not just to the Mercedes junior however, but to its other four drivers as well. The Ferrari-backed pairing of Câmara and Wharton has already proven the team’s pace in the UAE and the first round of ADAC F4, although Wurz could become a factor through his ability to generally stay out of trouble.
Alex Dunne and Marcus Amand go into this season with the aim to assert themselves as the main driver at US Racing and to challenge for the title respectively, both setting impressive times during testing. PHM’s Nikita Bedrin will play a big role at the front once the team adapts to racing in Europe, with him having amassed five victories over his last year in single-seaters. His teammate Taylor Barnard is another name to look out for as the team’s first ever race winner.
Round 1: Imola Circuit (6–8 May)
Round 2: Misano World Circuit (3–5 June)
Round 3: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (17–19 June)
Round 4: Vallelunga Circuit (1–3 July)
Round 5: Red Bull Ring (9–11 September)
Round 6: Monza Circuit (7–9 October)
Round 7: Mugello Circuit (21–23 October)
Where to watch?
All races will be broadcasted on the Italian F4 Championship’s YouTube channel.
Header photo credit: Prema Powerteam
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