A record grid and a title-deciding penalty: 3 takeaways from British F4 at Silverstone

Round 9 of 10 of the 2022 British F4 Championship was a highly anticipated one, with a strong possibility of it being a title-deciding weekend. Not only did we get all the thrills of the title battle, plenty of other exciting things to look out for arose throughout the weekend. Here are F1 Feeder Series‘ top three takeaways.

By Tom Evans

A recognisable name

After Fortec Motorsport manager Ollie Dutton confirmed to F1 Feeder Series earlier in the year that they were planning a return, British F4 fans eagerly waited for more news. Sure enough, on the 14th of September they announced a return to the series with a two-car lineup for Silverstone.

Fortec have had huge success in British F4, winning the team championship in 2020 with Luke Browning, Roberto Faria, and Rafael Villagómez, with Browning taking the drivers title along with it. Fortec plan a full 2023 campaign, so fans and journalists alike will be keen to see if they can replicate the same success.

Impressive rookie debuts

There were four new drivers on the grid this weekend, some with previous car racing experience and some without. These drivers had mixed results, but a majority impressed for their first time in the series.

Fortec Motorsport’s two-car lineup consisted of single-seater rookie James Higgins and GB3 driver Marcos Flack. Higgins contested a full season of Ginetta Juniors last year and finished 15th in the standings with a best finish of P4 in the final round of the season. Higgins was well prepared for this weekend as he has spent the majority of this year testing the current British F4 car with Fortec. Higgins’ weekend left more to be desired, though, as he spent two of the three races taking a trip through the pitlane for repairs thanks to incidents on track.

Flack contested a full season of British F4 in 2021 with Phinsys by Argenti, picking up two podiums across the year. This season, he has contested in a number of different series, the most prevalent being GB3 with Douglas Motorsport. Flack had a mixed weekend, however a ninth-place finish in Race 3 picked up his and Fortec’s first points. Overall, Fortec can be happy with the progress and experience gained during Round 9.

Phinsys by Argenti fielded rookie Isaac Barashi who spent this year testing both Gen 1 and 2 Formula 4 cars with various teams, including Argenti and AKM Motorsport. Barashi’s weekend was a positive one making 12 overtakes on his way to an eighth-place finish. 

The best result of this weekend’s rookies came from Chris Dittman Racing’s Jaden Pariat, who claimed a seventh-place finish in Race 2, making up 11 positions from his grid slot. The Indian X30 national vice champion tested a MRF 1600 formula car this year and has gained valuable experience in the current F4 chassis after this weekend.

Title-deciding penalties

Looking at the British F4 standings from an outside perspective it might already look as though Hitech’s Alex Dunne has wrapped up the championship, but this isn’t the case. A dramatic Race 1 saw championship leaders Dunne and Ollie Gray collide, with one spinning on the grass and the other picking up wing damage. Post-race penalties demoted Gray to fourth place behind Dunne after a remarkable fight through the field to finish third.

However, Carlin has since appealed the decision to give Gray a post-race penalty, and if upheld, the Carlin driver would gain 13 points and cause Dunne to lose three points, bringing the gap to the championship lead down to 84 points.

This is fractionally enough to keep Ollie Gray in the championship fight, although he would have to win all three races, something which has not been achieved since Luke Browning in 2020. Although such a difficult task lies ahead, Gray’s efforts are aided by the fact that Dunne will not be participating as he is contesting in the Italian F4 series that weekend. It’s not quite over yet!

Header Photo Credit: 2022 F4 British Championship

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