Dubai, UAE, 10 January 2019: Following two successful seasons to date, the FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship powered by Abarth is kicking off its 2019 season as a support to the famed Hankook 24H Dubai event at Dubai Autodrome this weekend (11-12 January).
Ten drivers from eight countries will take part in the opening round in Dubai, the first of the five-round season which runs until early March 2019. Being added to Creventic’s Dubai 24 Hour endurance race for the first time, the program sees a new spotlight being put on the Middle East’s premier open-wheeler development category.
“Being part of the Dubai 24 Hour weekend is a huge positive for F4UAE, with our young stars of the future being able to race in front of so many respected international teams and drivers,” said promoter Carl Rolaston.
“Each year we welcome new and talented young drivers, including one from the GCC region this year, and even though it will be a busy season it will also be a fantastic learning experience as they prepare for very competitive and demanding championships in Europe later this year. I wish everyone the very best of luck.”
The 2019 season sees the return of the reigning drivers and teams champions, Dragon Racing, with Lucas Alecco Roy continuing on from his 2017/18 season campaign, plus newcomers Rashed Ghanem from Lebanon and Rui Andrade from Portugal.
Xcel Motorsport (formerly Energy Dubai Racing Team) welcomes four drivers including Nicola Marinangeli and Matteo Nannini from Italy, Rafa Villanueva from Spain, and 15-year-old Shihab Alhabsi from Oman.
Germany’s Mücke Motorsport returns with Nico Göhler from Germany and Joshua Durksen from Paraguay, while Filip Kaminiarz from Poland will compete for CRAM Motorsport.
Both Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will host rounds of F4UAE, with the final three events running back-to-back, finishing on March 2, 2019.
Governed by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and promoted by AUH Motorsports, F4UAE is an important part of the UAE’s local motorsport calendar and was the first of its kind in the MENA region for developing young driver talent when launched in 2016.
Open to drivers aged 15 years and above, F4 was created by the world’s governing body of motorsport, the FIA, to help young drivers bridge the gap between existing regional racing series and karting, to European competition and potentially Formula 1®.
Utilising the Tatuus chassis from Italy with the Abarth Turbo engine, the open-wheeler category allows new drivers extra seat time to become familiar with the unique purpose-built race cars, while teams are given the opportunity to test and refine their engineering and operations at international-standard circuits.
Report: AUH Motorsports (edited)
Photos: Darren Rycroft and Aaron Meriwether