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Next-generation Formula 4 car set to hit the track this year

by Elliot Wood

The second generation of FIA Formula 4 machinery from Tatuus is set to go into production in the coming months, with the aim of a competitive debut next January.

Homologation of the halo-shod successors to the current F4 chassis was originally due to begin at the start of 2021, but the FIA Single-Seater Commission delayed the introduction of the new cars to November after a World Motor Sport Council vote.

This cost-cutting measure during the COVID-19 pandemic has afforded more design time to the manufacturers committed to the next set of F4 technical specifications, with Tatuus first to reveal its plans and Japanese F4 supplier Dome understood to also be working on a design.

“In 2022, Tatuus and Autotecnica are preparing a new car, so it will be compliant to the new regulations of Formula 4,” said Giovanni Delfino, who is CEO of both Tatuus and the Autotecnica company that builds F4’s Abarth-branded engines.

“Honestly what you will see is that it will be a completely different car with the halo.

“For safety reasons it will be a different project [rather than an upgrade], we are just making the last drawings these last few days and we will be starting producing the first prototype by end of January, beginning of February so to be able to produce cars already this year.

“Hopefully this [F4 UAE] will be the first championship starting with the new car next season.”

The halo cockpit protection device has already appeared in F4, with KCMG integrating it into the car it designed for the Motorsport Games F4 Cup in 2019 (pictured).

That vehicle was also the first hybrid single-seater raced outside of F1, as it featured a turbo-supporting 12-kilowatt battery.

At present it, and other first-generation cars such as the Tatuus F4-T014 currently used in F4 UAE, will be homologated until the end of 2023 and will not be discriminated in the FIA superlicence points system against series that adopt the new cars.

“[F4 UAE] is getting stronger and stronger each year, and hopefully with the introduction with this new car it will be the first championship with a Gen2 F4 car, so we hope that next year we will see more cars than this year,” added Delifno.

The F4 UAE season opener took place at Dubai Autodrome this week, and featured a record 14 cars. Previous seasons of the world’s most high-profile winter F4 series have featured far smaller grids, and they could shrink again as Formula Scout understands not all of the series’ current teams are committed to buying new chassis for 2022.

Mygale is yet to confirm its involvement in F4’s future, despite currently supplying cars for four championships, but has teased “big projects are coming up” to be announced this year.

British F4’s hybrid evaluation programme was supposed to take place using Mygale’s M14-F4 car in 2020, with a demonstration vehicle running Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine and a 48v mild-hybrid system on track. That was postponed due to the pandemic, and it’s unclear whether it will appear in 2021.