Launched in 2013 by FIA, Formula 4's objective is to train drivers from the karting circuit to drive real cars on real tracks. As a preparatory series in every respect, with low costs compared to Formula 3, this circuit offers equal opportunities for all participants: to compete with such a prestigious team for a whole season, including tests, can cost as little as 100 thousand Euros, an acceptable sum considering the management costs of other series.
The Italian and German championships (alongside others in a many countries around the world) share a number of elements, ranging from the Tatuus chassis with an adjustable double rear wing to 160 horse power FTP 1.4 turbo engines, sequential Sadev gear systems, Brembo brakes and Pirelli tyres. These technical similarities and the scheduling of the racing calendar allow pilots (an average number of 30/35 per event) to compete in both championships, challenging each other on a varied selection of tracks that have marked the history of motor racing: in Italy they races at Misano, Adria, Imola, Mugello, Vallelunga and Monza while the German championship is hosted by the circuits of Oschersleben, Sachsenring, Lausitzring, Nurburgring, Hockenheim, Red Bull Ring (Austria) and Zandvoort (Netherlands). This is an excellent training ground for talent of the calibre of Mick Schumacher, who earned 6 pole positions this year and won as many races (as of July 15), which were equally divided between the two leagues with the Prema Powerteam.
The philosophy of Formula 4 allows for only a few adjustments to be made to the cars in order to give priority to the driver's sensibility. This orientation also extends to the management of the cars’ tyres, which are designed to allow pilots to maintain a high, constant level of performance over many laps, with each set of tyres allowing for up to 200 km of road distance during the numerous private test sessions programmed by the teams during the sports season. This is a good distance if one considers that the mileage of a Formula 4 race is usually around 60 km and that Italian regulations set a duration of 28 minutes plus one lap for race 1 and race 2 and 18 minutes plus one lap for race 3, while all races in the German league last 30 minutes.
The relationship between performance and durability is optimal thanks to the easy management of the tyres and problems such as heightened consumption or phenomena such as graining rarely occur. To cite an example of Formula 4 race times, at the circuit in Imola the leaders have clocked 1'45'', which is a second and a half less than the bikes in World Superbike races, which have engines that exceed the 220 horse power mark, while F4 cars can reach maximum speed peaks of more than 210 km / h.
To keep costs down, and taking advantage of the tyres’ extended life span, every race weekend riders use tyres from their previous race for free practice and 2 new sets for qualifying and 2/3 scheduled races scheduled, while for the sake of safety, wet tyres with a wet lug tread are designed to hold their grip even when the track is drying after starting a declared wet race.
The use of tyre warmers is expressly forbidden and all tyres remain under cover at the circuit for the entire weekend, guarded by Pirelli representatives and delivered, already mounted on their rims, only half an hour before the cars enter the track for qualifying rounds and races. This practice, along with the rule that provides for the random allotment of tyres, preserves the sporting fairness of the league. However, it also involves a considerable effort on the part of Pirelli, both when it comes to the organization of the hundreds of tyres that need to be made available directly on circuit complete with a dedicated assembly service, and the highly specialized technical skills of the track assistants, who are always available to support the teams’ needs. In addition, the used tyres are returned to Pirelli, which starts the recycling process through key figures active in the recovery and recycling of used tires, adding a further note of merit to the record of Formula 4: The future of motor racing is born here.
The Pirelli tyres used for Formula 4 measure:
Slick and wet front: 200 / 540-13
Slick and wet rear: 250 / 575-13