Home Formula 4Italian F4 Ferrari’s Wharton fastest in three-day Italian F4 pre-season test at Imola

Ferrari’s Wharton fastest in three-day Italian F4 pre-season test at Imola

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Ferrari junior James Wharton was fastest in a three-day pre-season test for Italian Formula 4 teams at Imola this week.

Each day had eight sessions split between two groups, and US Racing’s Kacper Sztuka started off the action on Tuesday by setting a 1m45.821s to top Group A by 0.061 seconds over Van Amersfoort Racing’s Brando Badoer.

He was fastest again in Group B’s red-flagged first session, setting a 1m45.613s to lead team-mate Gianmarco Pradel by 0.477s.

Badoer lowered the pace to 1m45.532s in Group A session two, with team-mate Ivan Domingues 0.126s behind. Sztuka was fourth fastest behind VAR’s Matheus Ferreira, but then set a new personal best to top Group B’s second session. A 1m45.686s put him over half a second clear of R-ace GP’s Matteo de Palo.

Sztuka topped another session, with team-mate Akshay Bohra his closest rival. Bohra then set the pace in Group B’s third session, heading team-mate Zachary David by 0.069s.

Badoer and Sztuka returned to the top in Tuesday’s final two sessions, with Sztuka 0.172s behind his rival in the penultimate session (and 0.081s behind in the day’s combined timesheet) while Bohra was second in the faster last hour of track action.

More teams joined on Wednesday, and David was fastest in Group B’s first session. He pipped Sztuka to top spot by 0.023s with a 1m45.503s. Badoer topped Group A, a 1m45.538s putting him 0.267s ahead of Prema’s Tuukka Taponen.

Sztuka returned to the fore when Group B headed back out, leading David by 0.168s with a 1m45.431s set early on (which put him third overall in the test), and Taponen laid down a new test benchmark of 1m45.342s in Group A to end the morning 0.12s ahead of team-mate Wharton.

The field closed up in the afternoon, with under a second covering the top 10 in Group B’s seventh session topped by Sztuka. Wharton closed his gap to Taponen in Group A, lapping 0.074s slower than the Funn, but in both instances the pace was slower than earlier in the day.

BVM Racing’s Alfio Spina pipped Sztuka by 0.035s top Group B’s last session, then Taponen ended Wednesday with a 1m45.479s that put him 0.071s ahead of Domingues in Group A. Badoer and Bohra were the only driver not to better their Tuesday pace.

Wharton started Thursday by topping Group C’s first session with a 1m45.414s, with Taponen, Badoer and Prema’s Niko Lacorte behind. Both Badoer and Lacorte had crashes.

Spina was fastest in Group D’s two morning sessions, in which Jenzer Motorsport hit trouble. Ethan Ischer encountered technical issues, while Reno Francot crashed out.

Wharton lowered the pace to 1m45.320s in Group C’s second session, with Taponen 0.056s behind and fellow team-mate Arvid Lindblad crashing out.

A 1m45.785s put Wharton on top again in session three, 0.181s up on Badoer, with 0.89s covering the top 10. Taponen struck back in their last session, edging Wharton by 0.035s with a 1m45.347s as the fastest laps were set early on for all but Ferreira and Domingues in third and fourth.

Spina led AKM Motorsport’s Griffin Peebles in Group D’s action-packed penultimate session, then was on top again in the very last session which was broken up by red flags. Badoer again failed to better his Tuesday pace.

Test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 James Wharton Prema 1m45.320s 139
2 Tuukka Taponen Prema 1m45.342s +0.022s 140
3 Kacper Sztuka US Racing 1m45.431s +0.111s 195
4 Matheus Ferreira Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.476s +0.156s 216
5 Ivan Domingues Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.495s +0.175s 231
6 Zachary David US Racing 1m45.503s +0.183s 160
7 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing 1m45.532s +0.212s 210
8 Arvid Lindblad Prema 1m45.663s +0.343s 124
9 Niko Lacorte Prema 1m45.665s +0.345s 131
10 Gianmarco Pradel US Racing 1m45.724s +0.404s 194
11 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m45.724s +0.404s 138
12 Alfio Spina BVM Racing 1m45.909s +0.589s 148
13 Rashid Al Dhaheri Prema 1m45.916s +0.596s 138
14 Akshay Bohra US Racing 1m45.969s +0.649s 186
15 Matteo De Palo R-ace GP 1m45.975s +0.655s 159
16 Griffin Peebles AKM Motorsport 1m46.002s +0.682s 145
17 Jack Beeton Van Amersfoort Racing 1m46.030s +0.710s 160
18 Ruiqi Liu US Racing 1m46.336s +1.016s 168
19 #38 AKM Motorsport 1m46.453s +1.133s 74
20 Kim Hwarang Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.467s +1.147s 68
21 Andrea Frassineti BVM Racing 1m46.499s +1.179s 74
22 Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.541s +1.221s 65
23 Ariel Elkin Jenzer Motorsport 1m46.544s +1.224s 61
24 Alvise Rodella BVM Racing 1m46.580s +1.260s 125
25 Matteo Quintarelli R-ace GP 1m46.669s +1.349s 149
26 Raphael Narac R-ace GP 1m46.711s +1.391s 129
27 Aurelia Nobels Prema 1m46.820s +1.500s 136
28 Ismail Akhmed Van Amersfoort Racing 1m46.873s +1.553s 238
29 Davide Larini AKM Motorsport 1m47.018s +1.698s 69
30 Michael Sauter Jenzer Motorsport 1m47.218s +1.898s 69
31 Kabir Anurag R-ace GP 1m47.481s +2.161s 147
32 #19 Tina Hausmann AKM Motorsport 1m47.558s +2.238s 50
33 Reno Francot Jenzer Motorsport 1m47.819s +2.499s 22
34 Ian Aguilera Cram Motorsport 1m48.056s +2.736s 144
35 Emir Tanju Jenzer Motorsport 1m49.889s +4.569s 31