After 24 races, 391 laps and 1,523 kilometres, the second season of ADAC Formula 4 came to its conclusion at the season finale in Hockenheim on 2nd October 2016.
46 drivers from 17 different countries competed in a total of eight race weekends, as Australia's Joseph „Joey“ Mawson was crowned 2016 champion, having successfully defended his lead against Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam) and Mike David Ortmann (ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV.) Even closer was the fight for the team championship, with Van Amersfoort Racing from the Netherlands up against Prema Powerteam from Italy. The Dutch outfit lost out on the title in the last race of the season by only 1.5 points, whilst Team ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. managed to secure third place.
The Top 3 of the ADAC Formula 4 championship: Mick Schumacher, Joey Mawson, Mike David Ortmann ©ADAC Motorsport
Most people are clearly amused by the fact that the German ADAC Formula 4 series has a Rookie championship. The ADAC „High-Speed Academy“ is an entry-level racing series, being the first option to enter the professional ranks of single-seater racing after karting. Nonetheless, Nicklas Nielsen (Neuhauser Racing) took victory in the rookie rankings from the Prema Powerteam duo of Juri Vips and Juan Manuel Correa.
Rookie Champonship winners Nicklas Nielsen, Juri Vips and Juan Manuel Correa ©ADAC Motorsport
Even though there were 46 entrants over the course of the season, the tracks were limited to a maximum of 35 or 37 drivers. This saw ADAC F4 introduce a qualifying race to give everyone an equal chance to gain experience. Later in the season, the number of drivers competing shrunk, which saw some of the planned qualifying races converted into a third free practice session.
● 1.4 litre Abarth 414 TF turbo engine, producing 160 horsepower with a maximum torque of 250 Newton metres; 3.500 rpm
● Top Speed about 210 km/h
● Identical chassis manufactured by Tatuus. The Tatuus chassis complies with the stringent safety requirements of the FIA.
● Material: Composite Carbon
● Tyres are supplied by Pirelli. According to the rules, every team receives a set of six new slick tyres plus two sets rain tyres per race weekend.
● Rims are coming from Motec
● Additional series partner are suspension and chassis manufacturer Eibach as well as DEKRA
● Minimum weight: 570kg
● Special feature: Paddle-Shift
In contrast to Formula 1, there's only one type of slick and rain tyre. The rear tyres, with a dimension of 250/575-13, are larger than those out on the front, which are 200/540-13. To get these tyres in the best operating window is just the same challenge as in every other racing series, too. Formula 4 doesn't use tyre warmers, which means the drivers have to warm them up out on track. Another important factor is the strategically optimum use of the number of tyres permitted by the regulations for qualifying and the race.
The minimum age required to race in F4 should be 16, but there were some exceptions made over the course of the season. Netherland's Richard Verschoor (Motopark) was the youngest driver in the field at the age of 15, whilst Switzerland's Maylin Niederhauser (Rennsport Rössler & Lechner Racing) was the oldest at 21. At the last race on 2nd October, the average age of all drivers that had lined up in 2016 was 17.41 years.
Sebastian Vettel as ADAC F4 patron
Current Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel is the official patron of the series. „Whenever possible, I watch the ADAC Formula 4 races on television. The youngsters put on a super show and a really exciting display of racing. I’m curious to see if any of the current crop of ADAC Formula 4 drivers will make the step up to Formula 1 in the next few years“, he said. Drivers like Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg, Pascal Wehrlein, Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez started out in the forerunner series of today’s ADAC Formula 4.
Sebastian Vettel: "The youngsters put on a super show and a really exciting display of racing." ©ADAC Motorsport
The latest news about ADAC Formula 4 and its future plans are expected to be announced at the Essen Motor Show, an exhibition for cars and motorsport, which takes place from November 26th to December 4th at Messe Essen in Germany.
But action speaks louder than words, so here's a recommendation from me: Have a watch of the action-packed highlight video of the 2016 season on YouTube ~ youtu.be/oNV85P-bYSM ~