Home Formula 4British F4 Mercedes junior Guinchard tops British F4 pre-season Brands Hatch test

Mercedes junior Guinchard tops British F4 pre-season Brands Hatch test

by Ida Wood

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Daniel Guinchard topped British Formula 4’s first official pre-season test at Brands Hatch Indy on Tuesday.

Teams have tested privately, or raced in the United Arab Emirates, with their new Tatuus T-421 chassis over the past three months, but there were no championship-organised test days until this week.

The nine confirmed drivers on the 2022 grid attended Brands Hatch, plus Hitech GP’s F4 UAE race-winner Alex Dunne, JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake, Korean rookie Michael Shin at Virtuosi Racing and Australian teenager Noah Lisle in JHR’s second car.

Carlin’s McLaren F1 junior Ugo Ugochukwu was the pacesetter at the start of the three-and-a-half hour morning session, setting consecutive improvements on the short track layout until a 45.874s benchmark was put down.

Dunne usurped him by 0.003 seconds after 20 minutes of running, then also set consecutive improvements to make 45.586s the laptime to beat.

It took an hour, but Virtuosi’s Edward Pearson did just that by a tenth of a second, and then swiped another two tenths off before he was bettered by Shin. He remained in first place for over an hour until Pearson set a 46.167s, although that only put him ahead for a while as Dunne broke into the 44s. There was little action in the remaining hour, although Ugochukwu went third fastest with just over half an hour to go, and later on Argenti’s Aiden Neate became Dunne’s closest rival.

Ugochukwu and recently signed Williams junior Oliver Gray then came out of the pits to improve again, rising to second and third before returning to the pitlane.

At the bottom of the timesheet was new Carlin signing Louis Sharp, although the New Zealander’s 2.176s gap to Dunne was explained by the fact he was driving a first-generation F4 car to adapt himself to winged single-seaters.

Sharp actually started the three-hour afternoon session on top, for the first seven minutes, before Shin moved the pace down into 46s and then 45s territory, and Neate improved on that to lead with a 45.406s lap set 16 minutes in.

Almost an hour passed before that was bettered, with Loake initially doing so by 0.008s. His team-mate Lisle, another with little winged single-seater experience, went even faster and held top spot until Neate left the pits and set a 45.152s.

Shin then set a 45.080s, but 10s later Guinchard crossed the line to post a 44.907s lap that, with nobody bettering him in the final hour, made him the day’s fastest driver. His team-mate Adam Fitzgerald only completed 12 laps after hitting trouble.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Daniel Guinchard Argenti Motorsport 44.907s 172
2 Alex Dunne Hitech GP 44.998s +0.091s 114
3 Oliver Gray Carlin 44.999s +0.092s 188
4 Ugo Ugochukwu Carlin 45.020s +0.113s 191
5 Aiden Neate Argenti Motorsport 45.024s +0.117s 155
6 Michael Shin Virtuosi 45.056s +0.149s 146
7 Edward Pearson Virtuosi 45.111s +0.204s 160
8 Eduardo Coseteng Hitech GP 45.191s +0.284s 127
9 Noah Lisle JHR Developments 45.296s +0.389s 155
10 Joseph Loake JHR Developments 45.312s +0.405s 147
11 Adam Fitzgerald Argenti Motorsport 45.529s +0.622s 44
12 Oliver Stewart Hitech GP 45.745s +0.838s 168
13 Louis Sharp Carlin 46.831s +1.924s 161