Remembering the names of Prema drivers isn’t so hard: a driver usually has the same name in 2020 as in 2019. But their affiliation with Ferrari Driver Academy is less stable. A Venn diagram of who is in Prema, who is in FDA, and who is in both, is called for.
But since the drivers are also divided by level, I will use a table instead.
Prema and FDA
Mick Schumacher Robert Shwartzman
Giuliano Alesi Marcus Armstrong Callum Ilott
Oscar Piastri Frederik Vesti Logan Sargeant
Oliver Rasmussen Jamie Chadwick
Arthur Leclerc Gianluca Petecof
Sebastian Montoya Gabriele Mini Gabriele Bortoleto
FDA is currently top-heavy, with 5 of 9 drivers competing in F2. This necessitates placing three of them outside of Prema’s F2 team. There is only one instance of Prema running non-FDA drivers while an FDA driver is left outside… this does not inspire confidence in Enzo Fittipaldi’s future in FDA.
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.
I try to track the movement of drivers between the following categories: F1, F2, F3, F3R, and F4. Here F3R (“regional F3”) category also includes Formula Renault and Euroformula Open.
F2 to F1
F3 to F2
F3R to F2
This is an oversimplification of events, but most of Sato’s and Ticktum’s races in 2019 were on F3R level.
F3R to F3
Unusually, Jüri Vips moved in the opposite direction: from F3 to FREC. This highlights the absurdity of equating FREC with Super Formula in terms of Super Licence points. Whether Vips stepped up to SF or stepped down to FREC, the potential reward in terms of points is the same. It is pretty clear that FREC competition is much weaker. This is not to suggest that Vips is looking for a weaker series: the travel issues and the Lost in Translation effects are obvious obstacles in SF.
F4 to F3
Skipping F3R is a bold move, and originally, only two drivers were set to attempt it in 2020: the winners of two most competitive F4 championships, Italy and Germany. The last-minute addition of Roman Staněk to this list is a very bold move.
F4 to F3R
Reshad de Gerus
Glenn van Berlo
This list is inevitably incomplete due to the fuzziness of F3R category.
Karting to F3R
I am not going to track the drivers coming to F4 from karts due to sheer numbers, but going directly to F3R is sufficiently rare to be mentioned.