India 1 November 2016: As track temperatures refused to recede in Abu Dhabi’s Yes Marina F1 circuit, the new FIA accredited Formula 4 championship has attracted some serious talent. The organizers can only be more than pleased with the kind of action that was witnessed on the track. The inaugural non-championship round of 3 races were held between October 28th and 29th. The championship has seen entries from a bunch of national karting and regional racing series champions from around the world, to make their foray into single seater international F4 racing.
Indian racing rising star Ricky Donison, made what many race experts would call “a dream debut”, as he scored a hatrick of podiums in the 3 races held. The grid included World KFJ karting champion Logan Sargeant from the United States and experienced South African Jonathan Aberdein, who is the winner of ROK world finals last year.
There is a lot riding on Ricky, as he has his sights, to make it to the IndyCar series in the next few years. The lad was up to speed in getting grips with insanely hot conditions. It got worse due to technical difficulties, as he only had very limited time to understand the car and the conditions around the track. During practice he was only able to use half the time allotted. The challenge to race a Fiat Abarth 414, F4 turbocharged 1.4cc, 160 hp engine requires very high physical endurance.
During race 1, he was involved in a lengthy battle for the third. Despite braking problems he still hung on as if his life depended on it. There were a few instances where rivals got their nose ahead, only for Ricky to foil their attempts. He brought the car home in third place. In race 2 he helped himself with another podium finish as he placed third once again.
In the third and the last race of the day, the problems from race 1, resurfaced again. His car underwent braking problems. It looked unlikely if he would bring the car home for a podium finish. The three time Indian JK Tyre Rotax National champion and Rotax Asia max vice champion was able to bring his A game when it mattered the most. Anticipating moves of his rival before they could execute them, kept him in the hunt as he got his car, the third trophy with his third place finish on the podium. He still rues the fact that he didn’t have much pace to challenge for a race win in all the 3 races.
“I thank Team Energy for the work they did on my F4 car. They have been excellent. Driving on the track where Sebastian Vettel won a world championship in 2010 is a dream come true. I still need to do a big number of laps and get the best usage of my car. Still a long way to go.”
The F4 UAE championship has been created by FIA, the world’s governing body of motorsports to help young drivers to move up the motorsport ladder, eventually making it to F1.
The Road Ahead
October 2016 – Feb 2017
Ricky is currently participating in the first edition of UAE F4 championship, which has a huge Indian audience and it will be a good practice before pursuing the route to Indycar in early 2017
March 2017: Ricky has been invited by Cape Motorsports (No.1 team with 6 championships behind them and current leader in the 2016 standings) to compete in US Formula 2000 series 2017. Ricky will be the first ever Indian to pursue the route to Indycar.
2018: To test and participate in Pro Mazda series USA
2019: To test and participate in Indylights series USA
2020: To test and participate in IndyCar series USA which is the ultimate goal