FIA Formula 4 revealed for North America

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AUSTIN – FIA Formula 4 has been something in the works from an international level for several years. It now is about to have its place in North America, thanks to SCCA Pro Racing, Crawford chassis, a Honda engine and Pirelli tires.

The full release regarding the series’ launch – held today at Circuit of the Americas – is below:

The Sports Car Club of America, in conjunction with the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States, today announced the arrival of FIA Formula 4 competition in the U. S., with SCCA Pro Racing to organize and sanction a five-venue, 15-race professional series starting in 2016.

SCCA Pro Racing will partner with chassis manufacturer Crawford Composites, engine supplier Honda Performance Development and Pirelli Tire North America to develop the spec chassis/engine/tire package to be utilized in the new series, which will be homologated in accordance with Federation International de l’Automobile Formula 4 specification.

“Along with the FIA, SCCA Pro Racing sees the cost of racing equipment and operations as significant limiting factors in open-wheel racing participation,” said Robert Clarke, President of SCCA Pro Racing. “The model for F4, based on a simple, yet contemporary vehicle, with strict price controls, is designed to entice new young drivers from karting into cars. We are excited about bringing this opportunity to the United States and the aspiring young racer.”

The F4 United States Championship will join FIA Formula 4 championships already established in Australia, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Northern Europe and the United Kingdom; with other new championships soon to be launched in Mexico, Southeast Asia and Spain.

“Given the global reach of Formula 4, it is both natural and essential that the category arrives in the United States,” said Stefano Domenicali, president of the FIA Single Seater Commission. “By introducing Formula 4, the hope is that more Americans get experience that proves valuable as they look to develop their careers. On behalf of the FIA, I must thank everybody at ACCUS, SCCA Pro Racing, and their partners for bringing FIA Formula 4 to the United States.”

The series will utilize the new, American-built Crawford carbon-composite chassis and Honda K20 C1 2.0-liter engine, producing the FIA-mandated 160 PS (158 bhp). Pirelli PZero racing radial tires complete the package, now undergoing FIA homologation, which will meet the FIA price cap of US$45,000 for the chassis, including paddle shifters, data acquisition and camera. The Honda engine will carry a one-year lease price of US$6,600. Tires will be priced at approximately US$250 apiece, with a maximum allotment of six tires (three front, three rear) per race weekend.

“We are extremely honored to be selected as the United States F4 chassis manufacturer” said Max Crawford, President, Crawford Composites. “We have been designing and manufacturing carbon chassis components and complete carbon chassis for over 25 years for the highest level of motorsports. To be involved in this program, with partners like Honda and Pirelli, that focuses on attracting youthful energy and talent to open-wheel racing, is very exciting. We look forward to building a strong program together with SCCA Pro Racing and our partners.”

“We are pleased to partner with the FIA and SCCA on the launch of the United States F4 Championship series, which further reinforces Honda’s long standing commitment to open wheel racing in America,” said Steve Eriksen, vice president and COO of HPD. “The new Honda K20 engine will provide a fun, reliable, and cost-effective solution to power the dreams of racers honing their skills for a future in racing.”

“I would like to thank the SCCA and partners for their support in selecting us to supply the tires for this championship,” said Rafael Navarro, vice president, communications and motorsports, Pirelli Tire North America. “This series is a logical next step for Pirelli, and is consistent with the company’s philosophy of promoting young talent. We look forward to working with the partners to build a successful and visible program that helps develop and propel future generations of competitors.”

Intended as the “first step out of karting” for young racers, additional FIA requirements for Formula 4 include consistent organizational standards, technical fairness, stability and cost containment, with a full season of F4 United States Championship competition anticipated to cost approximately US$115,000 in 2016.

“Formula 4 and our continued FIA relationship represent our vision of the future for SCCA Pro Racing, one that will enable young drivers to become the top echelon of racers for tomorrow,” said Lisa Noble, SCCA president. “Embracing F4 and our dedicated Series partners gives SCCA Pro Racing the next step toward building that vision with a very exciting and modern race car package and the F4 United States Championship.”

Helio Castroneves will replace ailing Oliver Askew for IndyCar at IMS

Helio Castroneves replacing Askew
James Black/IndyCar
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Helio Castroneves will return to the NTT IndyCar Series next weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, replacing Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew in the No. 7 Dallara- Chevrolet.

The team announced in a Thursday release that Askew wasn’t cleared by the IndyCar medical team after reporting “a balance and coordination issue” after the Sept. 12-13 race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer reported that Askew has been experiencing the concussion-like symptoms since his Aug. 23 wreck in the Indy 500.

Askew was placed in IndyCar’s Return to Racing Protocol. The rookie has endured an up-and-down season, suffering another hard crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the July 4 race on the road course. He also finished third and sixth on back-to-back races at Iowa Speedway in July.

“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the INDYCAR Medical Team and my doctors,” Askew said in the release. “My priority right now is focusing on my health. Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”

Castroneves will be driving this weekend at Mid-Ohio for Team Penske in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner has said he actively is seeking a ride for the 2021 season in IndyCar or IMSA with the demise of Penske’s DPi program as Acura switches to new teams next year.

Here’s the release from Arrow McLaren SP:

Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew will withdraw from the INDYCAR Harvest Grand Prix, after being declared not fit to drive by the INDYCAR Medical Team.

Following the INDYCAR race at Mid-Ohio, Oliver reported a balance and coordination issue, which triggered an examination from the INDYCAR Medical Team. As a result, Oliver is not medically cleared to race and is subject to INDYCAR’s Return to Racing Protocol.

“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the INDYCAR Medical Team and my doctors. My priority right now is focusing on my health,” Askew said. “Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”

Askew will be replaced in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet by Helio Castroneves for the upcoming doubleheader Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“The welfare of Oliver, our team members and fellow competitors is paramount,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt.

“We therefore support Oliver and the decision of INDYCAR. Withdrawing to focus on his health and recovery is the right thing to do.”

Helio will join Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, to complete the team’s driver lineup in Indianapolis.

“First and foremost, we wish Oliver the best and that he is able to take time to recover,” said Helio. “I look forward to getting back on track and helping to build on the great progress that Arrow McLaren SP has made this year.”