BRDC Formula 4 2014 - Oulton Park
17-year-old Will Palmer seems ever-more intent on emulating the feats of his elder brother Jolyon, who stretched his unbroken lead of the international GP2 championship in Germany over the weekend of July 19/20th. The Comma-sponsored Palmer siblings - separated in age by six years – are both hitting rich veins of form in championships that place the emphasis squarely on driver ability rather than technical advantage.....shall we say Formula 1?
Palmer Jnr's battle ground is the burgeoning BRDC Formula 4 UK national championship, and while Jolyon was strutting his stuff in the sweat-box of Hockenheim, Will was at Oulton Park, Cheshire, racking up another brace of third place podiums and a further sixth place finish to narrow the gap at the head of points table and join his HHC team-mate Raoul Hyman in second place. The HHC boys are now just 20 points shy of the leader, Lanan Racing's George Russell (246 to 266) and there is still a shed-load of points from twelve more races to be won as the Formula 4 season heads into its second half when the teams return to the Silverstone GP circuit on the 16th/17th August. HHC's third driver, Sennan Fielding, is bracketed in fifth place by Russell's two team-mates, Arjun Maini and Struan Moore, fourth and sixth respectively. Chris Middlehurst for Mark Goodwin Racing did his championship standings no harm at all, advancing to seventh place after Oulton Park – including two podiums - with a 69 points haul from the weekend.
The race-winning honours in Cheshire were shared by Russell in Race 1, Maini in Race 2 and Moore in Race 3. Russell's victory by over 9 seconds against the battling trio of Hyman, Middlehurst and Moore was the most emphatic of the weekend, while Maini made the most of his front row starting position to claim the Race 2 honours in a very wet contest nearly five seconds up on Hyman who, in turn pipped Palmer by a further second with Moore again fourth. The closest encounter was reserved for Race 3, with Moore beating Middlehurst by a fraction over 1 second with Palmer third and Fielding fourth.
It would be logical to believe that the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 champion will emerge from one of the currently dominant top two or three teams – HHC, Lanan and maybe Mark Godwin – but there's a long, long road still to travel, and it would be a brave bookie who offered very much separation of odds between any of seven drivers disputing the top of the table. Fielding is the only driver in the top six still without a win, but he is more than capable of rectifying that situation before too long. Meanwhile, Comma's man Palmer is right in the hunt and eating away at the leader. Could Silverstone see him close the gap still further?
Comma – a brand of Cosan Lubricants International - is Technical Partner to BRDC Formula 4, and in addition to sponsoring Will Palmer in the 24 race series, supplies lubricants, coolants and maintenance chemicals to all teams competing in the championship. All rounds of the BRDC F4 Championship are broadcast free-to-air on ITV 4 in an hour-long standalone show screened one week after each of the eight events in a prime-time Sunday evening slot. Coverage on ITV4 will also include a further weekday evening repeat.
For live race reports, championship details, driver interviews, news and inside information on the championship, teams and drivers, visit the excellent BRDC Formula 4 website at www.formula4.com