Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has become the patron of the ADAC Formula 4 series in Germany in a bid to help junior motorsport in his home country.
A range of Formula 4 championships have been set up across Europe in the past year as part of the FIA’s initiative to simplify the route to F1 and create a more cohesive ‘ladder’ for junior racers.
Vettel raced under the ADAC (German Automobile Club) banner in Formula BMW back in 2002 and 2003. In his second season, he won the title with 18 wins from 20 races.
“I remember the early years of my career in single-seater racing well, and have a lot to thank the ADAC for,” Vettel said. “It was a fantastic time for me, but also very important in my development as a racing driver.
“That’s why I’m pleased to make a contribution, along with the ADAC, to increasing the attraction of Formula 4.
“I’ll be following the championship with great interest; these guys are going to be racing at a high level, and I’m sure that I’ll be seeing some of them eventually in Formula 1.”
F4 is intended to be a first rung on the single seater ladder following go karting for drivers, and the German championship boasts a bumper grid heading into its inaugural race weekend at Oschersleben on April 25 and 26.
Two drivers of particular note are Van Amersfoot Racing teammates Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time F1 champion Michael, and Harrison Newey, son of car designer Adrian.
“With Sebastian Vettel, we have gained a successful Formula 1 driver as a patron to the new ADAC Formula 4 series, someone who gained first-hand experience of the ADAC’s youth development programme at the beginning of his career,” ADAC Sports president Hermann Tomczyk said.
“Sebastian has been part of the ADAC family since the start of his career in formula racing. It’s great that he is now returning to his roots as four time Formula 1 champion and is so committed to developing young talent.”