Home Formula 4ACCR F4 F4 CEZ attracts world champion karter in 14-car grid for season opener

F4 CEZ attracts world champion karter in 14-car grid for season opener

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Kirill Kutskov

Formula 4 Central European Zone’s 2024 season gets underway this weekend at Balaton Park in Hungary.

There are 14 drivers entered, including three women, and more are expected to join for round two at the Red Bull Ring in May.

Jenzer Motorsport’s five-car line-up this weekend notably includes Ethan Ischer, who became 2023 champion with them in a dramatic finale at Balaton Park, before he then switches focus to Italian F4.

Enea Frey, no relation to sportscar racing star Rahel, and junior karting graduate Matus Ryba will join Jenzer at the Red Bull Ring.

While Sauter Engineering+Design has left F4 CEZ as the team boss’s son steps up to Formula Regional, SAPE Motorsport, JMT Racing and Gender Racing Team are all back and each planning two-car entries.

Only SAPE will have two cars out in round one though, driven by single-seater debutants Marek Micik and Michelle Jandova. They are members of the new F4 CEZ Academy which is a year-long driver development programme that organises private tests with SAPE and provides its “best candidates” the “opportunity to start in F4 CEZ races at half the cost”.

Miroslav Mikes returns for a second season at JMT, and Jonathan Correrella – the 2023 Trophee Tourisme Endurance Formula Renault Cup winner – joins Hungarian team Gender.

F4 CEZ promoter Josef Krenek wants to encourage local teams into single-seaters, and one doing exactly that is Czech touring car team Janik Motorsport. It will field Franciszek Halatnik under the Junior Orlen Team banner.

Slovenian outfit AS Motorsport comes across from Italian F4 and plans to run two cars full-time but has only announced Michalina Sabaj – who is also racing in the Italian Sport Prototype championship this year – for Balaton Park.

Maffi Racing named Nathanael Berreby in its 2024 line-up late last year, but he is now not set to race until round two and for now the Swiss team fields Kirill Kutskov and karter Korenlia Olkucka.

Kutskov is reigning CIK-FIA world champion and WSK Euro Series champion on OK karts, and the 15-year-old Russian came third in Saudi Arabian F4 this year with one win and seven other podiums as a single-seater rookie.

“Special thanks goes to team boss Daniel Maffi, who believed in me even before I became the world karting champion,” he said. “I believe the experience gained in the Saudi F4 championship will prove invaluable.”

Similarly, Renauer Motorsport has altered its line-up. In January it signed Preston Lambert, who was fourth in American series F4 Western in 2023, but he then changed plans and joined Rodin Motorsport in Spanish F4.

Renauer then expected to be absent from Balaton Park, but will be on the grid with the French F4-experienced Luca Savu. It aims to run two cars this season, and after plenty of testing now enters Simon Schranz in an F4 car in the pan-European Carbonia Cup’s single-seater series. He won his class on debut this month.

PHM Racing intends to bring its five-car Italian F4 line-up to the Red Bull Ring round so those drivers can learn the Formula 1 venue.