Palmer victorious in Yokohama-supported F4 Winter Championship
British driver Will Palmer dominated this year’s BRDC Formula 4 Winter Championship, winning half of the eight races to become 2014 Winter Champion. Palmer, who finished the 2014 F4 Championship in sixth place, dominated the Winter Series, aimed at drivers and teams wanting to gain additional experience of the extremely competitive series. The Winter series used the same cars and the same Yokohama Advan A005 dry and A006 wet tyres as the year-long championship.
The quick-fire, eight-race series is run over two race weekends, each consisting of two races on Saturday and two more on Sunday. This year, the first race weekend took place at Snetterton in Norfolk and the second, Brands Hatch in Kent.
Palmer took the early success, finishing the first race second on the road but then, inheriting the win when fellow F4 runner Gaetano di Mauro was penalised for a false start. The second race was a different affair, with Palmer leading from the lights to the flag, with a winning margin of 4.6 seconds.
The second pair of races saw Palmer start from second place, to di Mauro on pole but a better start gave him the advantage into the first corner. This was reduced thanks to a safety car period but as soon as it pulled in, he set about extending it again and, helped by a late race spin for di Mauro, ended with a 15-second advantage.
The last of the first weekend’s races saw the first dry event of the two days and all drivers switched to the Yokohama Advan A005 dry slick for the race. Palmer again got the best start from pole position but an error allowed di Mauro to squeeze past and he held this position to the flag, giving Palmer a slender 12-point lead after the first four races.
Come the second race weekend, at Brands Hatch, the wet weather returned and it was Palmer and di Mauro at the front of the time sheets again. Di Mauro got the best start and went ahead of pole-sitter Connor Jupp to hold the position to the chequered flag. Palmer on the other hand went off the circuit and got back on, going on to finish sixth.
The grid for the second race was determined by fastest laps from the first and Rodrigo Foncesca started from pole with Jordan Albert second. Palmer got the best start though, leap-frogging di Mauro and Jupp from fifth to third. The three enjoyed a race-long battle until Jupp collided with di Mauro, putting them both out of the race and earning Jupp a three-place penalty for the third race of the weekend. The result was Palmer again leading the series with two more races to go despite Foncesca winning the race.
To win the title, Palmer realistically had to finish eighth in the second of Sunday’s two races and he started the first from pole position, after finishing runner-up in the first race to Foncesca. He avoided an incident between Foncesca and di Mauro ahead at the start of the final race of the season fell to fourth place before reclaiming two positions from Albert and di Mauro. He then took the lead as Jupp spun and maintained this to the flag, with a margin of more than six seconds.
The result means Palmer takes the title with di Mauro second and Foncesca third.
Commenting, head of Motorsport at Yokohama HPT, Mark Evans, said: “I would like to congratulate Will, both personally and on behalf of Yokohama, on the Championship win. He drove a consistent and measured series of races in some very difficult conditions but demonstrated exactly the skills and determination required to succeed in this series.
“I am also delighted that, as they did in the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Championship, the Yokohama Advan tyres delivered consistent performance across all conditions for the drivers. Winter series’ are never easy, due to their nature but the Advan A005 and A006 tyres worked well across all conditions and allowed some exceptional racing action to take place.”