BRDC Formula 4 2015 - Oulton Park
Buoyed by his championship-winning exploits in the 2014 Winter series, Comma-sponsored Will Palmer made a very successful opening foray in his challenge for the main season 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 championship title at Oulton Park, Cheshire over the Easter weekend. Driving for the HHC Motorsport team, 18 year old Palmer convincingly won the opening Race 1 of the season on Saturday, and then followed up with a further podium finish in third place in Race 2 and fifth place in Race 3 on Bank Holiday Monday to head for home in Southwater, West Sussex with a championship leading 74 points in his kit bag.
After finishing seventh in the opening encounter, 21 year old Chris Mealin delivered victory for two-time championship winners Lanan Racing in Monday's reverse grid Race 2, and followed up with another impressive podium in second place in Race 3. Graduating from a successful run in Formula Ford, Manxman Mealin has clearly been quick to find his feet in Formula 4, despite being new to the series. His weekend's work netted him second place in the championship standing just five points behind Palmer.
Returning to make a second bid for the title, Sean Walkinshaw Racing's Jordan Albert was the final winner of the weekend in Race 3. Recovering from low scoring results in the first two races, Jordan's victory boosted his points tally to 43, but it was still only good enough to secure eighth place in the championship ahead of the next Formula 4 meeting at Rockingham, Northants on 2/3 May.
Driving for the Chris Dittmann Racing team, Tom Jackson is another Formula 4 returnee, and made a rewardingly solid start to his 2015 title bid. Just falling shy of the podium with fourth place finishes in Races 1 and 3, his fifth place in Race 2 topped up his points for the weekend to 58, which installed the Maidstone-based 18 year old in a satisfying third place in the championship table.
Considerable attention this season is focused on Harrison 'Harri' Newey, the 16 year old son of legendary Red Bull Racing designer, Adrian. Newey junior made an immediate impact in the opening race, following his HHC team-mate Palmer to claim second place in his first ever Formula 4 appearance. Sixth place in the reverse grid Race 2 and a further top ten – ninth - place finish in Race 3 earned the youngster 56 points for the weekend and fourth place slot in the title race.
By the end of the weekend, fifth and sixth places in the championship – both newcomers and both on 54 points - were occupied by Lanan Racing's Jack Bartholemew and Ciaran Haggerty driving the solus entry from Écurie Écosse GB. Bartholemew, a 16 year old former Karter caught the eye with a string of top ten finishes - fifth in Race 1, fourth in Race 2 and sixth in Race 3 – while 18 year old Haggerty, mentored by three-time Indianapolis '500' winner Dario Franchitti, took a second place podium in Race 2 after finishing sixth in Race 1 and rounded off his weekend with seventh in the finale.
The two other drivers out of the seven who made podium appearances over the weekend were Lanan Racing's Rodrigo Fonseca from Mexico who returns to the series after several promising performances in 2014, and Hillspeed's South African Formula 4 rookie, Sebastian Lanzetti. Fonseca claimed third place in Race 3 and seventh in the championship after finishing ninth and eighth respectively in the first two encounters, while Lanzetti made an immediate mark with a third place podium in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2. Failing to score in Race 3 cost him dear, but he still hung on to ninth place on the title table ahead of Douglas Motorsport's newcomer, Fernando Urrutia from Mexico who scored solidly throughout the weekend with tenth place finishes in Races 1 and 3 and twelfth in Race 2.
Comma is Technical Partner to BRDC Formula 4, and in addition to sponsoring Will Palmer in the 24 race series, supplies Comma brand lubricants, coolants and maintenance chemicals to all teams competing in the championship.
Visit the excellent BRDC Formula 4 website at www.formula4.com to keep up with full results, race reports, information and features about the championship.