The introduction of the second-generation FIA F4 car, featuring the halo cockpit protection device, for 2022 was the catalyst for British motorsport governing body Motorsport UK to evaluate the future direction of the championship.
As well as switching to the popular Tatuus-Abarth chassis/engine combination, it decided to take organisation of the series in-house and away from previous promoter RacingLine.
Virtuosi – which has run under various names and guises in recent decades, including as the Russian Time operation in GP2 – has decided that, with all the changes to the series, now is the right time to expand into the category, running two cars.
The team fields Guanyu Zhou in F2 this season, who currently sits second in the standings, and Virtuosi is third in the teams’ points, having been runner-up for the past two years.
“The team’s decision to expand into another championship is years in the making, with British F4 pinpointed as the ideal starting point for us to take on and develop the best young drivers around, by bringing them into the Virtuosi family and helping them to climb the FIA motorsport ladder,” read a team statement.
“British F4’s upcoming overhaul provides the ideal time to join, with a number of key changes set to level the playing field, alongside a fleet of high-calibre teams joining that we believe will make it the premier championship of its level in Europe.”
Earlier this month, Hitech GP announced that it would be joining British F4, while GB3 and F3 Cup squad Chris Dittmann Racing will also branch out and field drivers in the series.
“We’ve been looking at British F4 for a while as something that we might expand into,” said team boss Chris Dittmann.
“We’re doing very well in GB3 but you have drivers coming through who are actually with their teams from before [in British F4].
“We knew a new car was coming for next year and we’ve been talking with Motorsport UK about the decision and that we were looking at going with it. It just seemed like the right time.”
Meanwhile, Motorsport UK has also recently launched a tender process for an administering club to help it “co-promote” the category – a major departure from its initial approach of taking over all elements of F4’s organisation.
Key areas where Motorsport UK is seeking input from the ‘local organiser’ include providing officials for the championship – such as a permanent clerk of the course – and the governing body also wants those tendering for the role to outline what organisational infrastructure they can offer as well as safety and safeguarding policies and details of any marketing and promotion they can give.
The British Racing and Sports Car Club has acted as the administering club since British F4 was first launched in 2015 – its partnership with RacingLine extending back to the British Formula Ford days – and the club has welcomed the launch of the tender.
“It’s an interesting and constructive development for British Formula 4,” said BRSCC chairman Peter Daly. “We’re now assessing our response to the invitation to tender.”