Charlie Wurz made history by winning the first ever race to be held using a second-generation Formula 4 car.
The 10-car grid that assembled for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix support race were all driving the new, halo-shod Tatuus T-421 that will be introduced to series across Asia and Europe as a successor to the Tatuus T-014 that has been in use since 2014.
Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli topped both free practice sessions and qualifying in the new car on the revised Yas Marina Circuit, but come Sunday morning for the race it was team-mate Wurz who claimed his maiden win.
The first ever racing lap with the T-421 was full of drama, with one incident taking MP Motorsport’s Rik Koen out of the action and another leading to his team-mate Miron Pingasov dropping to the back of the order as he had to go to the pits to change his front wing.
The safety car was summoned fairly swiftly, and so the early running took place with Prema’s famous sons-of up front – Wurz’s father being former Formula 1 driver Alex and Antonelli’s father being sportscar boss Marco – and MP’s Spanish F4 champion Dilano van’t Hoff sitting in third.
Danish F4 champion Conrad Laursen made it three Prema drivers contending for the win once the safety car eventually returned to the pits, with van’t Hoff also involved but his hopes ending not long after as he then crashed and ended his race in the pits.
Wurz had taken the lead at the beginning by passing Antonelli at the first corner, with the latter ending up under investigation during a messy race in which drivers running off wide on a very dirty track.
Coming into the last lap there was a comfortable gap for Wurz over Laursen, who had battled hard with Wurz after the safety car restart, with Antonelli even further back. Despite having several seconds in hand, Wurz pushed even harder (with plenty of grip still in the tyres due to the early action running behind the safety car) and stretched out his lead to 2.661s by the chequered flag.
Laursen and Antonelli rounded out an all-Prema podium pending the results of several steward investigations, while Global Racing Service’s Vladislav Ryabov finished fourth in one of MP Motorsport’s cars.
“I’m very happy to have won the race here,” said Wurz, who claimed his maiden podium with his win. “First time on the track; the new layout, I enjoyed it a lot.”
Race results (12 laps)
|1||Charlie Wurz||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||26m21.978s|
|2||Conrad Laursen||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+2.661s|
|3||Andrea Kimi Antonelli||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+4.223s|
|5||Jamie Day||Xcel Motorsport||+9.060s|
|6||Hamda Al Qubaisi||Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema||+13.410s|
|7||Aiden Neate||Xcel Motorsport||+13.975s|
|8||Miron Pingasov||MP Motorsport||+16.009s|
|Ret||Dilano van’t Hoff||MP Motorsport|
|Ret||Rik Koen||MP Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Wurz, 1m56.232s|