Home Featured Will Spanish F4’s formbook be a repeat of FWinter Series’ in 2024?

Will Spanish F4’s formbook be a repeat of FWinter Series’ in 2024?

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gedlich Racing/Daniel Burgin

Spain now has a summer and a winter F4 championship, but are the results in the latter likely to paint an accurate picture of who will be at the front in the former this year?

When Formula Winter Series was launched last year in Spain, it had just three full-time drivers, 21 drivers in total and an average grid size of 10 cars. Spanish F4 meanwhile averaged a grid of 32, with 23 full-timers and 50 drivers in total.

But it was a very different picture three months ago when FWinter Series’ second season begun. This time there were 28 drivers who committed to the full four-round schedule, with 47 entrants in total and grid that averaged a massive 37 cars.

So as Spanish F4 returns to action this weekend, is it going to benefit from the increasing popularity of its winter counterpart?

There are 36 drivers signed up for this season, but Global Racing Service’s Alexander Jacoby will miss the season opener due to being underage and Gustaw Wisniewski is racing at Jarama this week for Tecnicar Motorsport in place of fellow single-seater rookie Adam Al Azhari who doesn’t reach the minimum age of 15 until round three. A round two replacement is yet to be named.

When he was a Sauber junior, Wisniewski came ninth in WSK’s Champions Cup and 17th in its Super Master Series for OK Junior karts, and on OK karts finished eighth in the South Garda Winter Cup and WSK Final Cup. After leaving Sauber’s ranks he came fifth in WSK’s Final Cup, eighth in its Euro Series and 11th in the Super Master Series, and on ROK Senior karts was third in the Polish championship.

Al Azhari, younger brother of Keanu (who was ninth in Spanish F4 last year), finished eighth in the Italian championship for OK-J karts in 2021 and graduates to F4 from senior karting. Last month he won the IAME Middle East Cup for X30 Senior karts.

The Tecnicar pair are not the only recent signings in Spanish F4, with several teams expanding their line-ups.

Photo: F4 Spain

TC Racing has been founded by Belgium and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with the assistance of ex-Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi, and the new team has signed Cristian Cantu and Gabriel Gomez. Cantu comes from Mexico, where he has spent two years in his home NACAM F4 championship. He came sixth as a rookie, and was championship runner-up last year with seven wins, nine other podiums and three poles.

Gomez was Brazilian champion on OK-J karts in 2020, then on OK karts was Italian champion, CIK-FIA European championship runner-up, third in the WSK Open Cup and 10th in the CIK-FIA World championship. He finished 16th on his car racing debut in the 2023 Spanish F4 finale at Barcelona.

Cantu’s compatriot Ernesto Rivera completes Campos Racing’s six-car line-up. He was the X30 Junior winner at the 2022 USA SuperNationals, and last year won the USA Pro Tour and Winter Series in that category, the Florida Winter Tour on a ROK Junior kart as well as stepping up to KA100 Senior to win at the SuperNationals again. He made his single-seater debut in FWinter Series with Campos, and came 15th in the standings with one podium.

Drivex School has retained Juan Cota and Francisco Macedo after signing them for FWinter Series, where they came sixth and 35th. Cota took a win and a second place but missed a round, while Macedo finished no higher than 13th. Last year Cota came eighth in FWinter Series and 15th in Spanish F4 with the team, and Macedo was racing OK karts.

Two weeks ago Adam Hideg dropped an Italian F4 campaign with Jenzer Motorsport to join Cram Motorsport in Spanish F4, after taking a best finish of sixth and coming 20th in the FWinter Series standings with the former. He was world championship runner-up on OK-J karts in 2022 and when he stepped up to OK karts last year came 16th in WSK’s Final Cup.

Monlau Motorsport will field Tim Gerhards, Rehan Hakim and Lenny Ried. Gerhards did two FWinter Series rounds with Monlau and had a best finish of 16th. He was runner-up in the Rotax Max Euro Trophy for Rotax Junior karts back in 2020, and was 17th in the European championship for KZ2 shifter karts last year.

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Ried was 2022 ADAC Kart Masters champion on OK karts, and came 38th in his full FWinter Series campaign with Monlau.

Today GRS announced Jaden Pariat and Kirill Kutskov will complete its four-car line-up, although Kutskov is only confirmed for round one.

Pariat has plentiful single-seater experience, starting off in FLGB 1300 in his home country where he won, then doing two British F4 rounds in 2022. Last year he made a FWinter Series cameo and claimed one podium from his six British F4 outings.

Kutskov was the WSK Euro Series and world champion on OK karts in 2023, and in 2024 the Russian has come third in the inaugural Saudi Arabian F4 season with one win and seven other podiums and also taken a win in F4 Central European Zone.

Are any of the above signings likely to be contending for wins in Spanish F4 this season? The series has eight returnees from 2023, but two of those competed as guest drivers last year and never threatened the top 15 let alone the top 10 (Castillo and Cram’s Filippo Fiorentino), while Sainteloc Racing’s Maxi Restrepo finished no higher than 21st in his full season, Rodin Motorsport’s Thomas Strauven finished 13th in his cameo with MP Motorsport and Griffin Peebles scored just a single point with Tecnicar and has now moved to MP.

That teams him up with Keanu Al Azhari [pictured above], who took a podium and a pole in 2023, while Campos has Andres Cardenas who came eighth last year with a win, a second place and two poles despite missing a round.

But could Peebles actually be the title favourite ahead of those two? He has started 2024 in style, with four wins, three other podiums and four poles propelling him to the FWinter Series title by 21 points over Cardenas who took two wins and four other podiums. Cota and Al Azhari used their experience to each take a win, but came sixth and seventh in the standings after missing races.

Photo: Gedlich Racing/Daniel Burgin

MP’s car racing debutant Maciej Gladysz missed out on the podium’s top step but was immediately quick and came a distant third in the title race. He now knows four of Spanish F4’s seven tracks, so will be well set to impress in the second half of the season. The other highly rated karters who transitioned to cars in February didn’t quite have the same impact, with Nathan Tye, Rene Lammers – son of ex-F1 racer Jan – and Jan Przyrowski coming 17th, 19th and 22nd in the standings respectively. Tye and Przyrowski did miss two rounds, and Tye did get a pole, but their race results were not strong.

Red Bull junior and junior karting world champion Enzo Tarnvanichkul is Tye and Przyrowski’s team-mate at Campos, and his FWinter Series appearances didn’t even include a points finish. So it may well be that experience on the most part is what counts over karting pedigree this year, and that could put drivers like Cantu, Danish F4 champion Mikkel Pedersen, Brazilian F4 race-winner Fiorentino and Rodin’s F4 Western race-winner Preston Lambert in good stead.

One thing that is for sure that Campos and MP, the teams with the biggest line-ups and the ones who have already tasted plenty of on-track success in F4, will be the benchmark even if neither has a standout driver.

2024 Spanish F4 entries

Team Driver Country 2023 (’24)
MP Motorsport Keanu Al Azhari UAE 7th in F4 UAE, 9th in Spanish F4 (3rd in F4 UAE, 7th in FWinter Series)
Griffin Peebles Australia 22nd in British F4, 25th in Euro 4 & Spanish F4, 33rd in Italian F4 (FWinter Series champion)
Mattia Colnaghi Italy Senior karting (18th in FWinter Series)
Lucas Fluxa Spain Senior karting (13th in FWinter Series)
Maciej Gladysz Poland Senior karting (3rd in FWinter Series)
Rene Lammers Netherlands Senior karting (19th in FWinter Series)
Campos Racing Andres Cardenas Peru 8th in Spanish F4 (2nd in FWinter Series)
James Egozi USA 8th in F4 CEZ, 14th in Italian F4 (9th in FWinter Series)
Jan Przyrowski Poland Senior karting (22nd in FWinter Series)
Ernesto Rivera Mexico Senior & junior karting (15th in FWinter Series)
Enzo Tarnvanichkul Thailand Senior karting (32nd in FWinter Series)
Nathan Tye England Senior karting (17th in FWinter Series)
Sainteloc Racing Maxi Restrepo Colombia 17th in FWinter Series, 37th in Spanish F4 (36th in F4 UAE)
Yevan David Sri Lanka Shifter karting (26th in F4 UAE)
Matteo Quintarelli UAE 30th in Euro 4, 31st in Italian F4, 34th in F4 UAE (13th in F4 UAE)
Monlau Motorsport Tim Gerhards Netherlands Shifter karting (33rd in FWinter Series)
Rehan Hakim India
Lenny Ried Germany Shifter karting (38th in FWinter Series)
Drivex School Juan Cota Spain 8th in FWinter Series, 15th in Spanish F4 (6th in FWinter Series)
Francisco Macedo Portugal Senior karting (35th in FWinter Series)
Mikkel Pedersen Denmark Danish F4 champion (8th in FWinter Series)
Matus Ryba Slovakia Junior karting
Tecnicar Motorsport Lorenzo Castillo Mexico NC in Spanish F4 (46th in FWinter Series)
Adam Al Azhari UAE Senior karting
Wiktor Dobrzanski Poland (44th in FWinter Series)
Gustaw Wisniewski Poland Senior karting
Cram Motorsport Filippo Fiorentino Brazil NC in Spanish F4 (currently 9th in Brazilian F4, 34th in FWinter Series)
Adam Hideg Hungary Senior karting (20th in FWinter Series)
Flavio Olivieri Italy 34th in Euro 4, 38th in F4 UAE (23rd in FWinter Series)
Global Racing Service Douwe Dedecker Belgium 21st in British F4 (16th in FWinter Series)
Alexander Jacoby USA Junior karting
Jaden Pariat India 16th in FWinter Series, 23rd in British F4
Rodin Motorsport Thomas Strauven Belgium 32nd in Spanish F4 (12th in FWinter Series)
Preston Lambert USA 4th in F4 Western (36th in FWinter Series)
TC Racing Cristian Cantu Mexico 2nd in NACAM F4, 29th in US F4
Gabriel Gomez Brazil NC in Spanish F4, Senior karting
Palou Motorsport TBC