Home Featured Who to look out for in the 2024 Italian Formula 4 season

Who to look out for in the 2024 Italian Formula 4 season

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

There are 37 drivers signed up to race in Italian F4 this year, including four F1 juniors, as the championship heads to Spain for the first time in its 11-year history. Could that help teams beat Prema in the title race?

Italy was the very first country to launch a championship using the FIA’s new Formula 4 category in 2014, and it immediately become immensely popular. It is therefore no surprise that 10 years on it is the longest running F4 competition.

While this season the number of Formula 1 juniors on the grid is down to four (Kabir Anurag, Matheus Ferreira and Kean Nakamura Berta from the Alpine Academy and Alex Powell from the Mercedes Junior Team), there is still plenty of talent racing who could make it to F1 in the future. So far 11 series graduates have made it to the top level of single-seaters, and of the five who reached F1 only one of them has not been on the grid this year.

Prema has been the team to beat during the Gen2 era with the Tatuus T-421 car, winning 16 out of 21 races in 2022 and 13 out of 22 in 2023. Van Amersfoort Racing took the most wins in each of the last three seasons of the Gen1 era, and in the five seasons preceding that the only time Prema won less than nine races was in 2017 when it took five and Bhaitech was victorious eight times. Six of Italian F4’s 10 champions have been Prema drivers, and a record-equalling third successive teams’ title is the ambition for the Italian outfit in 2024 as well as reaching the 100-win mark. So far it has 93 from 208 starts.

To maximise its chances of victory, Prema is entering six cars this season and so is its German rival US Racing. Both line-ups contain an F4 champion, and the least experienced driver in that group of 12 still has 11 F4 races to his name.

The highest placed returnee from last season is US’s Akshay Bohra, who came eighth in the 2023 standings with two podiums. The 17-year-old did 65 F4 races last year, winning two of them and coming second in seven others. One of those wins was at Barcelona, where Italian F4 will be racing at for the first time this September. After coming third in two championships in 2023, Bohra began 2024 by coming 11th in the Formula Winter Series (which included races at Barcelona).

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema’s Rashid Al Dhaheri is the next best Italian F4 returnee, but was a podium-free 10th in the standings. He did get a win in F4 South East Asia, and made the podium in a non-championship race in Macau. Over the winter he picked up two wins and four other podiums on home soil in F4 United Arab Emirates. Is he on the rise or was that just utilising local knowledge?

The F4 champions headed to Italy are probably the more likely title contenders, and Freddie Slater is the favourite for many. He switched from karts to cars via entry-level sportscar series Ginetta Junior, and promptly won the 2023 title, then when he moved over to F4 he also looked impressive. The points from his six Italian F4 races was enough to put him 16th in the standings, making him the fourth-best returnee, and he took three fourth places from his six British F4 races. There was also a pole on his Euro 4 debut, and a Macau podium in his F4 SEA outing. As for 2024, his numbers already read out as two wins, six podiums, four fastest laps and a title from the 15-race F4 UAE season. Now he already knows most of his rivals’ tricks.

Jack Beeton is the champion in US Racing’s line-up. He claimed the F4 SEA title with two wins and three other podiums, but was not as potent elsewhere. Combined he scored eight points in Euro 4 and Italian F4, and was 12th in 2024 F4 UAE.

Jenzer Motorsport has used F4 Central European Zone to warm up its drivers for Italy, and last weekend Ethan Ischer won the first two races at Balaton Park. He was ineligible to score however as he is the reigning champion, and his eight wins in F4 CEZ last year contrasted strongly with his points-free Italian F4 season.

And so we return to Prema to identify the most likely rivals to Slater. Nakamura was runner-up to him in F4 UAE, just four points behind with two wins and two poles, and while Slater spent much of last year starring in Ginettas he was busy karting. He was Champions of the Future runner-up, third in the CIK-FIA world championship and fifth in the European championship for OK karts, then sixth in the World Cup and European championship for KZ2 shifter karts.

His 2024 team-mate Alex Powell beat him to the CotF title and was third in the European championship, then on KZ2s was World Cup runner-up and fifth in Europe. The upper hand has so far gone to Nakamura in F4, as Powell came sixth in F4 UAE with a win and a pole.

Photo: ACI Sport

An outside contender at US Racing is Gianmarco Pradel, who in 2023 was FWinter Series runner-up and an Italian F4 podium-finisher. However he slipped to fourth in the FWinter Series standings on his 2024 return.

Looking elsewhere on the grid there is French F4 podium-finisher Hiyu Yamakoshi at VAR, Saudi Arabian F4 runner Andrej Petrovic at PHM Racing and the Cram Motorsport duo of Kai Daryanani and Filippo Fiorentino.

Daryanani can play the experience card, having done 64 F4 races last year.  The highlights ended up being an F4 SEA podium and eight points in British F4, and this year he has five points from 17 F4 races.

Fiorentino first raced halo-shod single-seaters in Formula Delta Brasil, and his 2024 switch to F4 has so far resulted in no points in Europe but a win in Brazilian F4.

Misano timetable

Pre-event testing [two sessions]: 09:00-11:00 & 14:15-16:15
Free practice [two sessions]: 08:40-09:20 & 11:55-12:35
Qualifying [two sessions]: 16:50-17:05 & 17:15-17:30
Race 1: 11:30-12:00, Race 2: 17:45-18:15
Race 3: 11:00-11:30

2024 Italian F4 entries

Team Driver Country 2023 (’24)
Prema Rashid Al Dhaheri UAE 10th in Italian F4, 12th in Euro 4, 15th in F4 SEA (4th in F4 UAE)
Freddie Slater England 10th in Euro 4, 16th in Italian F4, 17th in British F4, NC in F4 SEA, Ginetta Junior champion (F4 UAE champion)
Alex Powell Jamaica 24th in Italian F4 (6th in F4 UAE)
Dion Gowda India 4th in British F4, 11th in Indian F4, 25th in F4 UAE (11th in F4 UAE)
Kean Nakamura Berta Japan/Slovakia 6th in F4 SEA (2nd in F4 UAE)
Tomass Stolcermanis Latvia 12th in F4 SEA (18th in F4 UAE)
US Racing Akshay Bohra India 3rd in Euro 4 & Indian F4, 8th in Italian F4, 9th in FWinter Series, 21st in F4 UAE (11th in FWinter Series)
Gianmarco Pradel Australia 2nd in FWinter Series, 13th in Euro 4 & Italian F4 (4th in FWinter Series)
Matheus Ferreira Brazil 11th in Brazilian F4, 18th in Italian F4 (5th in FWinter Series)
Jack Beeton Australia F4 SEA champion, 15th in Euro 4, 23rd in F4 UAE & Italian F4 (10th in FWinter Series, 12th in F4 UAE)
Kabir Anurag Singapore 41st in Italian F4 (14th in FWinter Series)
Maxim Rehm Germany Shifter karting (21st in FWinter Series)
Van Amersfoort Racing Alvise Rodella Italy 12th in FWinter Series, 20th in Spanish F4, 27th in British F4, 46th in Italian F4 (21st in F4 UAE)
Lin Hodenius Netherlands 24th in Euro 4, 27th in Spanish F4 (24th in FWinter Series)
Gustav Jonsson Sweden 11th in British F4
Andrija Kostic Serbia Senior karting (currently 7th in F4 CEZ)
Hiyu Yamakoshi Japan 5th in French F4, 14th in Spanish F4, 22nd in F4 UAE (32nd in F4 UAE)
PHM Racing Davide Larini Italy 29th in Euro 4, 32nd in Italian F4 (30th in F4 UAE)
Kamal Mrad Australia 32nd in Euro 4, 47th in Italian F4 (28th in F4 UAE)
Andrej Petrovic Serbia Senior karting (2nd in Saudi Arabian F4)
Maximilian Popov Russia Senior karting (27th in F4 UAE)
Everett Stack USA 33rd in US F4 (34th in F4 UAE)
R-ace GP Luka Sammalisto Finland Shifter karting (20th in F4 UAE)
Jenzer Motorsport Ethan Ischer Switzerland F4 CEZ champion, 11th in FWinter Series, 29th in Italian F4
Shimo Zhang China 12th in F4 CEZ, 22nd in F4 SEA, 43rd in Italian F4 (currently 4th in F4 CEZ)
Reno Francot Netherlands 2nd in F4 CEZ, NC in Spanish F4 (27th in FWinter Series)
Enea Frey Switzerland Senior karting (25th in FWinter Series)
AKM Motorsport Emanuele Olivieri Italy Senior karting (28th in FWinter Series)
Alexander Savinkov Ukraine Senior karting (37th in FWinter Series)
AS Motorsport Edu Robinson Spain 11th in Ginetta Junior
Maffi Racing Gabriel Holguin Venezuela 50th in Italian F4
Nathanael Berreby Switzerland No racing (47th in FWinter Series)
Cram Motorsport Kai Daryanani India 10th in F4 SEA, 24th in British F4, 27th in Euro 4, 35th in Spanish F4, 36th in F4 UAE (currently 14th in British F4, 25th in F4 UAE)
Filippo Fiorentino Brazil 11th in FDelta Brasil (currently 9th in Brazilian F4, 34th in FWinter Series)
Real Racing Team Andrei Duna Romania 17th in French F4
Luca Viisorreanu Romania No racing