Head to our Facebook Gallery for a collection of some of our favourite action shots from the season.
It’s sometimes good to be wrong . ..
When Ford GB announced in 2014 that it would switch away from its traditional Formula Ford platform in order to adopt Gerhard Berger’s new FIA junior single seater rules, there were many (me included) who worried that the move would reduce the intensity of the racing: I’m pleased to report that just as with Seasons 1-5 before it, Season Six of British F4 proved it to be a worthy and well-calculated move.
In one of the most fiercely-fought contests we’ve ever seen, the 2020 championship delivered standout performances from well over half the grid: There were wins for Luke Browning, Zak O’Sullivan, Casper Stevenson, Alex Connor, James Hedley and Christian Mansell. And then podiums for Abbi Pulling, Roman Bilinski, Roberto Faria and Rafael Villagomez; not forgetting strong showings and improvements from Frederick Lubin and Reema Juffali: There was simply no second-guessing outcomes from one race to the next.
Arriving at Brands Hatch for the finale, Browning and O’Sullivan were tied on points, with Stevenson still mathematically in contention. A win and P2 for Browning saw the pole-sitter start Race 3 as title favourite (O’Sullivan being demoted from P2 in Race 2 for overtaking under the Safety Car), which might have just added to the Carlin man’s determination as he left the line. Conjuring traction from nowhere, he held his nerve and swept around the outside through Paddock Hill to take the lead, and with Hedley soon following behind, Browning was already down to third; . . then came the mayhem. Fluid had been dropped at the final turn, pitching O’Sullivan and Hedley into the gravel whilst Browning span across the track and onto the grass by the pit entry. O’Sullivan would rejoin in fourth, but Browning was now down in twelfth, well out of the points and seemingly in a hopeless position.
With O’Sullivan fighting hard to regain the lead (which he took from teammate Mansell as they exited Clark some laps later), all Browning could hope for was rain and / or a short safety car period. What nobody had expected was a downpour and a red flag. Crucially the decision came just before half distance, and with the timetable (and light) needing to give precedence to the touring cars, that was it, the race was called, and O’Sullivan, who thought he’d snatched the crown, saw it swiftly taken away when half points were awarded due to the shortened race (meaning that the 25 points he thought he’d secured were reduced to 12.5, which weren’t sufficient to overturn the deficit).
So Browning becomes British F4’s newest champion, and he’s joined by O’Sullivan, Stevenson, Headley, Pulling and Mansell as the latest group of young drivers, leading the way in showing that the future of motor sport is in capable and exciting hands.
Head over to our Facebook Gallery, British F4 – Best of 2020 for a collection of some of our highlight images from the season.