Home Formula 4Chinese F4 Chinese F4 attracts 27 cars for F1-supporting season opener

Chinese F4 attracts 27 cars for F1-supporting season opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: Chinese F4

Chinese Formula 4 attracted 27 cars for its season opener at Shanghai on the support bill of Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Friday featured two practice sessions. Alex Sawer set a 2m11.164s to top FP1 by 0.139 seconds, and Ruiqi Liu set a 2m36.958s to lead FP2 by a huge 2.738s. There was rain from the off, and red flags waved as it worsened. Liu got his lap in during the brief sunny period of green flag action.

The track was dry for qualifying on Saturday morning, and Sawer pipped Fukang Jiang to pole by 0.066s with a 2m10.610s. Kaishun Liu was third, 0.374s behind, and Ruiqi Liu was 0.927s off pole in fourth. Oscar Pedersen was the only other driver within a second of the pace, with the experienced Sicheng Li 1.565s slower than Sawer in sixth.

Sawer converted pole into victory in the afternoon, building a 3.97s gap up front in the 13-lap race. Pedersen made his way up to second, with a gap of 1.487s to Kaishun Liu in third.

Jiang was 6.756s behind the winner in fourth, and Formula Regional European Championship-bound Ruiqi Liu was a distant fifth.

The top 10 were reversed for race two’s grid, putting Yi Wang on pole. He had Ferrari logos on his helmet and a car livery featuring the sponsors of the F1 team.

Peng Yang stalled on the formation lap and was passed by everyone behind, but he then overtook them back to take his grid spot for the actual start.

Wang had some wheelspin off the line and dropped behind Zhanbin Jia and Jing Zefeng, and was fifth by turn three. He ended lap one in eighth.

Zefeng tried passing Jia for the lead around the outside of turn two on lap two and got it done at turn three as four drivers bunched up behind them. Jiang climbed to third, then took second at turn 11. Next to approach Jia was Ruiqi Liu, who was simultaneously defending against Kaishun Liu.

Jia lost third to Ruiqi Liu at turn one on lap three, and Sawer spun exiting turn two which dropped him to 13th. The lap ended with Jiang taking the lead after eradicating a 1.1s gap.

Ruiqi Liu demoted Zefeng to third on the back straight on lap four, then had 1.88s to make up on Jiang. Kaishun Liu passed Zefeng into turn one on lap five, while Pedersen cleared Jia. At the final hairpin Kaishun Liu dived past Ruiqi Liu but ran too deep and fell back behind.

Jiang pulled 2.484s clear, and on lap six Kaishun Liu became his closest opponent by passing Ruiqi Liu at turn one. Pedersen joined the top four after battling his way past Zefeng.

Wei Shi spun Yuhao Fu at the last corner on lap seven, and Jun Fei then crashed into Fu’s backwards-facing car. The safety car was required for four laps, with two to go when racing resumed. Jiang held on to win, Sawer recovered to fifth and Li – from the back of the grid – got up to eighth.

Results round-up
Race 1 (13 laps)
1 Alex Sawer Blackjack Racing 32m42.053s
2 Oscar Pedersen Venom Motorsport +3.970s
3 Kaishun Liu Black Blade Racing +5.457s
4 Fukang Jiang Blackjack Racing +6.756s
5 Ruiqi Liu Black Blade Racing +10.325s
6 Wei Shi Geeke ACM Racing +21.521s
7 Jing Zefeng AamCar Motorsport +21.993s
8 Jun Fei Geeke ACM Racing +22.857s
9 Zhanbin Jia Team KRC +28.095s
10 Yi Wang Champ Motorsport +28.864s
Pole: Sawer, 2m10.610s
Fastest lap: K Liu, 2m09.796s

Race 2 (13 laps)
1 Jiang 33m16.663s
2 K Liu +0.474s
3 R Liu +3.117s
4 Pedersen +3.551s
5 Sawer +7.475s
6 Zefeng +7.685s
7 Wang +10.703s
8 Sicheng Li Blackjack Racing +11.450s
9 Jia +14.330s
10 Qi Mi Pointer Racing +14.512s
FL: K Liu, 2m09.840s

Championship standings
1 Jiang 37   2 Sawer 35   3 Kaishun Liu 33   4 Pedersen 30   5 Ruiqi Liu 25   6 Zefeng 14   7 Shi 8   8 Wang 7   9 Fei 4   10 Li 4