2020 F4UAE calendar confirms maiden Formula 1 support

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The FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship powered by Abarth has released its official five-round calendar for the 2019/2020 season, including a maiden non-championship support event at the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this year.


In what will be its fourth season, the F4UAE championship will support Formula 1® for the first time with a non-point scoring Trophy Round scheduled at Yas Marina Circuit in November, before the championship begins in earnest in January 2020.

“The F4UAE Championship is the only F4 FIA Championship in the region and after three seasons so far the Championship is growing to be one of the best platforms for new talented drivers to expand their careers,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization, and FIA Vice President for Sport. 

“We are very proud that F4UAE will be a support race to the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix later this year. It will give the F4UAE drivers a chance to race in the same arena as the Formula 1 which will be a great opportunity and very exciting.”

While Round 1 of the championship officially begins as a support to the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai from January 8-10 at the Dubai Autodrome, F4UAE technical director Craig Thompson said there is no doubt that the Trophy Round would be a drawcard for the season.

“We are extremely excited that after a lot of hard work by many parties, and long discussions over the last few seasons in fact, that F4UAE will be a support category to the Formula 1® finale at Yas Marina Circuit,” said Thompson of AUH Motorsports.

“F1 is the category that the majority of our young open-wheeler racers aspire to reach, and so to now give them a platform to race in front of the best teams in the world and their racing heroes, it’s a huge bonus for the F4UAE Championship.”

The 2020 season will again be a five-round championship with 20 point-scoring races in total, with events run at both the Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit until the finale during the first weekend of March 2020.

“Last season we intentionally compressed the calendar between January and March in order to fit nicely between the European racing seasons, and it worked well in helping our overseas teams and drivers keep travel costs as low as possible," added Thompson. "By the time the F1 event runs in Abu Dhabi, all of the European championships will have been completed and we will be working closely with as many of them as possible to ensure we have a solid grid for the Trophy Round in November.”

Over the last three seasons, F4UAE has continued to build a strong developmental platform, by providing various benefits including up to 40 hours of track time each season, practice start sessions at test days to help new drivers learn to start races safely, media coaching workshops, plus opportunities to work with officials in better understanding the regulatory side of the sport; all aspects which hold young racers in good stead for future development up the racing ladder.

Governed by the Emirates Motorsport Orgainzation (EMSO) – formerly known as the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE – and promoted by AUH Motorsports, F4UAE was considered one of the most important additions to the UAE’s local motorsport calendar when it launched in 2016. It has since welcomed a total of 51 drivers through the championship in three seasons, most of whom have gone on to successful results in Europe since.

Italian Matteo Nannini claimed his maiden open-wheeler and circuit racing title when he won the 2018/2019 F4UAE Championship for Xcel Motorsport. The 16-year-old also won the Rookie Championship and, along with teammate Shihab Al Habsi from Oman (who finished third outright), helped his team take the Teams Championship title last season as well.

Other successful graduates from last year who have gone on to win races in Europe include Paraguay racer Joshua Dürksen (2018/2019 F4UAE runner-up) who has won in Italian F4, Lebanese racer Rashed Ghanem (F4UAE Sportsmanship Award winner) and Al Habsi who have won in Spanish F4, while Al Habsi has also won three races in Formula 4 South East Asia.

Previous drivers to have graduated through F4UAE include inaugural 2016/2017 champion Jonathan Aberdein from South Africa who is currently competing in DTM for WRT, season two champion Charles Weerts from Belgium won the 2019 Gulf Sportscar Championship and is racing in Blancpain also for WRT, and Australian Oscar Piastri who sits third outright in Formula Renault Eurocup.

F4UAE is open to drivers aged 15 years and above and 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.

2019/2020 F4UAE Championship Calendar:

NC - November 28-December 1, 2019 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 1 – January 8-10, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome
Round 2 – January 17-18, 2020 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 3 – February 14-15, 2020 at Yas Marina Circuit
Round 4 – February 21-22, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome
Round 5 – March 6-7, 2020 at Dubai Autodrome

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