The weekend June 26-28 saw the beginning of three things:
- 2020 season of Formula Regional Americas Championship (FRAC)
- 2020 season of U.S. Formula 4 Championship (USF4)
- Formula Americas Network (FAN) where 1 and 2 are broadcast.
Overall, the events went well, considering the circumstances: the pandemic, stormy weather on the track, technical issues with the broadcast. I appreciated the rare opportunity to understand the work of a broadcast director, given by the glitch that for half of the first race put through director’s voice instead of the commentators. The audience reached 1000 viewers during FRAC Race 2; the audience of USF4 topped at around 250.
FAN uses Vimeo to stream races. A few times I got stuck in a video stream that was not the current one: the solution was to refresh the page and click Live Streaming again, which moved me from an old stream (previous race or “this event has not started yet”) to the live picture.
It would be nice to have an archive of past FAN races. Hopefully this is something FAN is planning to add, along with a YouTube channel.
Both series feature strong grids in 2020, thanks in part to reduced competition (no Indy Lights in 2020, etc). There were 17 drivers in the FRAC event, including some familiar names: Lundqvist, Car, Pedersen,…. With 33 competitors in USF4, many of them new to single-seaters, it is no wonder that the first event had several delays due to accidents.
Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) entered with 6 drivers in USF4 and consistently took a few of the top spots. Previously, two of their F4 drivers were 1-2 in a testing session, which set up a joint interview with Christian Bogle (6’4” / 205 lbs) and Nolan Siegel (5’4” / 100 lbs). Apparently the former has been cutting weight while the latter eats a cupcake before each race, so the contrast in appearance might be getting smaller with time.
So far, JHDD appears to put more emphasis on driver promotion than most USF4/FRAC teams. Not nearly as much as Prema does in European series, but that’s a high bar to meet…
By the way, this video was shot before Roman Stanek was replaced by Jamie Chadwick in Prema’s FREC lineup. Roman appears in group shots while Jamie’s solo shots are obviously late additions.