The ADAC Formula 4 season 2017 will kick off in Oschersleben in 10 days. So it's time to get an idea of the 26 drivers of the field. Which is why I talked to Tallinn born Juri Vips who will start his second season with the Italian Prema Powerteam, as previously reported in the AF4 Tribe.
The minimum age for the German F4 series is 15. Even 'normal teenagers' at that age know how it feels to fight the growing hormones. When you are dreaming of becoming a race driver, you are pushed to limits you never imagined before, putting the young talents in an exceptional situation. And being this young is not always an advantage as Vips explained: "Starting too young means you're not as mature as older drivers and tend to make more silly errors."
In addition, a field of 26 drivers mean further difficulties regarding the attention for a single driver. For Vips the only possibility to stand out from the crowd is "always drive on the top spots. I also think that taking a lot of risks and aggressive driving in general makes it easy to stand out."
This also guarantees that special exciting factor, offering spectators a great show. Even if that part also went wrong several times in the past. But at the end of the day the ADAC F4 field is competitive, making it the strongest junior championship which was the decisive factor for Vips to join this series. "It's organized extremely well. I think it's the strongest F4 championship out there", said the 16-year-old.
Estonian Juri Vips (right) belongs to the experienced drivers in the 2017 field. ©ADAC Motorsport
After his first successful season, it was a logical step for the Estonian to stay with Prema. "The season was amazing thanks to whole group of people at Prema", responded Vips and added his favourite moment on track which was "The 1-2 finish in the third race in Monza."
Talking about his race car Vips pointed out that "the cars are all very similar, apart from small setup differences and stickers. But in general I like the car." Which is absolutely understandable, looking at 570kg vehicle with a 1.4l Abarth turbo engine producing 160 horse power and 250 newton-meter torque.
Looking beyond his F4 commitment and his set of impressive results from 2016, Vips revealed that his future plans are going to Formula 3 or GP3 next. The young driver's ultimate aim is a long-term career in Formula 1 in 10 to 15 years. But for now the main focus is on preparing the upcoming ADAC F4 season, starting in the East of Germany on 28th April 2017.