F4 UAE Round 1

Some memorable moments of the first round of the first single-seater championship of 2021.

Round 1: Martí crash

The tire tracks explain what happened to the 100-meter mark, but how did the 50-meter mark get destroyed? Here is a link to the moment of incident: unfortunately, for a while the camera was following other cars.

Could motor racing be more interesting when more is left to viewers’ imagination? F4 UAE tested this theory throughout the weekend.

Race 2: four-way fight for P3

Given that 8 out of 14 drivers are in the same team (Xcel) would not it be nice for them to have a few distinct liveries? The minor color accents do not help very much when following the action through hand-held camera from large distance. So, props to Kirill Smal and his SMP Racing sponsors for making at least one of the Xcel cars instantly recognizable with its tricolor livery. Also, black car of Enzo Trulli and red-and-white of Hamda Al Qubaisi helped in watching the four-way battle for third; the fourth car involved was Jamie Day’s in standard Xcel livery.

It got a little too close for comfort between Smal, Day, and Trulli

Smal eventually took P3 on the last lap of the race.

Notice 00:01 on the race clock

Link to the beginning of this battle (unlike other races, this one was not streamed live on Youtube but appeared there later.

Race 3: fight for P3

Once again, Smal fought for, and took P3, where he finished. Maybe with better qualifying position in later rounds he’ll go further…

Race 4: before and after SC

Unlike the others, Race 4 uses a reverse grid, flipping top 8 positions at the end of Race 3. Yet again, Smal came from behind to take P3 shortly before SC appearance. Then he took P2 at the restart. And then…. he won the race but the lead change was never shown. Once again, more is left to our imagination.

Overall

Minor technical issues aside, it’s great to have single-seater racing back and being broadcast live on F4 UAE channel. I think the time display ought to be improved: having yellow/green/purple coding of sectors is nice, but the size of gap to the leader or to the driver directly in front would be more informative.

Red Bull Juniors from 2020 to 2021

As far as I remember, the 2020 Red Bull Junior Team (in single seaters) consisted of Jak Crawford, Jehan Daruvala, Jack Doohan, Jonny Edgar, Dennis Hauger, Liam Lawson, Yuki Tsunoda, and Jüri Vips. (And Ukyo Sasahara? I’m not sure he had the same affiliation as the others.) What’s next for them?

Still Red Bull Juniors

  • Daruvala and Vips stay in F2
  • Lawson moves up from F3 to F2
  • Crawford and Edgar move up from F4 to F3

New Red Bull Junior

  • Ayumu Iwasa moves up from F4 to F3 (with a stop in FR Asia)

No longer Red Bull Juniors

  • Tsunoda graduates from F2 to F1
  • Doohan and Hauger (both F3) are in Tier 2 as “Red Bull supported drivers”
  • Fraga (F3) is no longer listed at all

Prema/FDA 2020 outcomes

This is a follow-up to Prema/FDA Venn diagram which summarizes the outcomes of 2020 season for the drivers listed there. The 2021 FDA status is not known at present.

Formula 2

Prema & FDA

  • Mick Schumacher: P1, moves up to F1
  • Robert Shwartzman: P4, stays in F2 with Prema

FDA only

  • Callum Ilott: P2
  • Marcus Armstrong: P13
  • Giuliano Alesi: P17

Formula 3

Prema

  • Oscar Piastri: P1, moves up to F2 with Prema
  • Logan Sargeant: P3
  • Frederik Vesti: P4

FDA

  • Enzo Fittipaldi: P15

Formula Regional

Prema & FDA

  • Gianluca Petecof: P1
  • Arthur Leclerc: P2, moves up to F3 with Prema

Prema

  • Oliver Rasmussen: P3
  • Jamie Chadwick: P9

Formula 4

Prema & FDA

  • Dino Beganovic: P3, moves up to FR with Prema

Prema

  • Gabriele Minì: P1
  • Gabriel Bortoleto: P5
  • Sebastian Montoya: P11

Italian F4 champions

Gabriele Minì won the 2020 championship by a large margin, but how does it compare to other years? With 7 seasons of the oldest FIA F4 championship behind us, let’s compare the champions by their point margin relative to the runner-up, sorted from largest to smallest.

YearChampionRunner-upMargin
2019Dennis HaugerGianluca Petecof58.4%
2015Ralf AronGuanyu Zhou48.4%
2014Lance StrollMattia Drudi39.7%
2020Gabriele MinìFrancesco Pizzi36.5%
2017Marcus ArmstrongJob van Uitert14.6%
2018Enzo FittipaldiLeonardo Lorandi7.4%
2016Marcos SiebertMick Schumacher6.9%

Quite a few familiar names in this table. Instead of a complete “where are they know”, here is a sample.

  • F1: Mick Schumacher, Lance Stroll
  • F2: Marcus Armstrong, Guanyu Zhou
  • F3: Enzo Fittipaldi, Dennis Hauger

Moving up, 2020-21

Tracking the movement of drivers between the following categories: F1, F2, F3, FR (“regional”), and F4 (but not those coming into F4, of which there are too many).

F2 to F1

  1. Nikita Mazepin
  2. Mick Schumacher
  3. Yuki Tsunoda

F3 to F2

  1. Liam Lawson
  2. Oscar Piastri
  3. Lirim Zendeli

F4 to F3

  1. Jak Crawford
  2. Jonny Edgar

Skipping FR is a risky move, but it worked out spectacularly for some (Pourchaire in 2020).

FR to F3

  1. Ayumu Iwasa
  2. Arthur Leclerc

Iwasa appears here and below because he moves from F4 to F3 while contesting FR Asia in between.

F4 to FR

  1. Eduardo Barrichello
  2. Dino Beganovic
  3. Ayumu Iwasa
  4. Hunter Yeany

F2 with F1 scoring system

There are good reasons to have reverse grid races in Formula 2. There may also be good reasons to award 4 points for pole position, though I am not aware of them. Anyway, Formula 1 does not have either thing, and only awards 1 point for fastest lap (with a slight difference in rules, which I think is immaterial for the following).

Top five in the final standings 2020 Formula 2 season:

DriverPoints
Schumacher215
Ilott201
Tsunoda200
Shwartzman177
Mazepin164
F2 scoring

And here they are with the points awarded according to F1 logic: no reverse grid races, no pole position points, 1 point for fastest lap.

DriverF1 Points
Tsunoda142
Schumacher139
Ilott137
Mazepin117
Shwartzman116
F1 scoring

The drivers moving up to F1 rank 1, 2, 4 in F1 order instead of 1, 3, 5 in F2 order.

Super Licence points from F2/F3 in 2019-20

This is not an attempt to calculate exactly how many Super Licence points each driver has. Instead, the goal is to find how many points they earned in the last two seasons of FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3. The previous iteration (for 2018-19) is at Super Licence points, simplified.

DriverSumF2 ’20F2 ’19F3 ’20F2 ’19
Shwartzman603030
Ghiotto43340
Tsunoda42402
de Vries4040
Ilott4040
Latifi4040
Schumacher4040
Piastri3030
Sette Câmara3030
Armstrong2525
Pourchaire2525
Aitken2020
Daruvala2020
Mazepin2020
Sargeant2020
Zhou18108
Lundgaard1486
Delétraz1266
Matsushita1010
Vesti1010
Vips1010
Hughes844
Lawson88
Piquet88
Beckmann66
Drugovich44
King44
Hubert33
Pulcini33
Zendeli33
Verschoor22
Fewtrell11
Peroni11

Best weekends in Formula 2 and 3

In the 2017-20 format of Formula 2 weekend, a driver could score at most:

  • 4 for pole position
  • 25 for feature race win
  • 2 for fastest lap in feature race
  • 15 for sprint race win
  • 2 for fastest lap in sprint race

for the maximum possible total of 48. Nobody reached the maximum, and nobody will, since the weekend format will be different in 2021. The best total was 45 earned by Leclerc in Baku 2017: he scored all of the above except the sprint race result was P2, with 12 points instead of 15.

Tsunoda scored the second-best total of 43 in the very last weekend in this format, Sakhir 2020.

Three of these came in a season finale, perhaps with some extra career-related motivation

Formula 3 used a slightly different format in 2020 and 2019, with 10 positions reversed for sprint race in 2020. Placing the feature race winner at P10 instead of P8 naturally reduced the totals.

In 2019, the top F3 results were:

  • 39 points for Armstrong in Sochi (again, a season finale)
  • 37 for Shwartzman in Barcelona
  • 37 for Lundgaard in Budapest

In 2020, the top F3 result was 32, achieved three times: by Zendeli at Spa, and, surprisingly, both Piastri and Pourchaire did it over the same weekend in Budapest.

Championships: from most to least competitive

One way to measure the level of competition in a championship is to divide the points earned by the runner-up by the champion’s points. Expressed as a percentage, this quantity is between 0 and 100. Measured by it, ADAC Formula 4 was the most competitive championship in 2020, while Formula 1 was the least competitive.

SeriesChampionRunner-upPercentage
F4 GermanyEdgarCrawford99.3
F4 BritainBrowningO’Sullivan99.0
F3PiastriPourchaire98.2
FR EuropePetecofLeclerc95.5
F2SchumacherIlott93.5
F4 UAEPizziFluxá91.3
F3 BritainFrederickMaini89.8
Formula RenaultMartinsCollet87.4
FR AsiaAldersDoohan86.1
F4 USAYeanyBlanco80.0
F4 FranceIwasaSato76.0
F4 ItalyMinìPizzi73.2
F4 SpainHaverkortBoya71.0
FR AmericasLundqvistMalukas70.6
EuroformulaYeDunner67.2
F1HamiltonBottas64.3
Omitted: a few series I don’t bother reading about

Consider that FR Americas uses the same scoring system as F1, and its season also had 17 races. Lundqvist won 15 out of 17 (finishing P2 and P6 in the other two), and even that championship was closer than F1.

Revolving doors of FREC and Italian F4

In both of these championships, drivers come and go, due to schedule conflicts, travel restrictions, or the twists and turns of their superlicence quest. Out of nowhere, Ian Rodriguez won in his first race at regional F3 level, having never won a race (beyond carting) before.

In a situation like this, the average points per race (APR) becomes of interest. Here is the table of FREC 2020 after Imola, sorted by APR

RankDriverPointsRacesAPR
1Petecof3372116.05
2Leclerc3352115.95
3Hauger91615.17
4Rodriguez45315.00
5Rasmussen3032114.43
6Pasma2642112.57
7Chovet2292110.90
8Vips8199.00
9Famularo7398.11
10Lappalainen118215.62
Top 10 by APR in FREC after Imola
Graph of 1-2 finishes

Italian F4

The championship table re-sorted by APR, after Imola.

RankDriverPointsRacesAPR
1Minì2761815.33
2Crawford1401211.67
3Edgar1291210.75
4Pizzi1911810.61
5Beganovic168189.33
6Dürksen5669.33
7Bearman5268.67
8Ugran127158.47
9Rosso139187.72
10Bortoleto133187.39
Italian F4 by APR

Not listed: Montoya in 12th place with 81 points after 18 races, with 4.50 APR. Even more disappointingly, his best result so far is P5, while three other full-time Prema team members won at least one race each.

Overall, Minì left the competition far behind, but Jak Crawford’s effort has been remarkable: besides being second by APR , he is 4th in the official standings despite missing two out of six rounds held so far.

1-2 finishes in Italian F4