Taking the next logical step in a young racer’s international career can be a daunting prospect. That’s why the FIA created a ladder via Formula 4, F3 and F2, to Formula 1.
A most attractive international single-seater transition series, FIA Formula 4 championships prepare drivers across the globe for professional careers in the sport, be that in F1, LMP1, GT4, touring car racing or beyond.
Each Formula 4 series around the world pays twelve Super Licence points of the 40 required to race in F1 to their champions, including in Southeast Asia, where Meritus.GP runs a FIA F4 championship as a single organiser, at less than half the cost to competitors of equivalent European F4 championships.
More than 40 years in the business, Meritus.GP has won 36 FIA Asian championship titles over the years and the team’s list of successful graduates have gone on to win at Le Mans, the Indy 500, GT World Series and many other championships.
FIA Formula 4 Southeast Asia by Meritus.GP is now planning a post-lockdown 2020-2021 super-season racing on the best Asian racetracks including the Sepang and Buriram F1 super circuits in an ideal opportunity for young racers to take that vital nest step up the motorsport ladder.
Raced on a level playing field to the F4 SEA ‘One’ concept, where one team prepares one make of car at one cost in pursuit of one dream: all drivers share their on-track data in an ideal learning scenario and 12 Super Licence points are on offer to the champion.
Featuring FIA crash safety-homologated full-carbon monocoque chassis with front and rear impact crashboxes and anti-intrusion side panels, F4 SEA racecars are powered by identical 2-litre 4-cylinder engines driving 6-speed sequential gearboxes. Engines are dyno-tested to be within FIA power parameters and the cars have Brembo brakes, 13-inch racing wheels, control compound slick tyres and front and rear wings.
Each car has speed, wheel, brake, steering and accelerometer GPS data gathering, and all data is open to every driver to study and learn from the fastest, a nuance that all drivers confirm to be a massive F4 SEA plus point as they are guided to scrutinise all race data to flatten that learning curve.
Performance engineers and driver coaches maximise driver potential and Meritus.GP’s Peter Thompson works closely with International driver managers the likes of Renault’s Eric Boullier to identify candidates for F1 junior driver development programmes. The team’s 2018 and 2019 champions have for instance since signed with Sauber and Renault’s Racing Academies.
Meritus.GP runs a full social media campaign with all races live streamed to Facebook, plus all 40 of the 30-minute races are broadcast by Fox Sports networks to over 7-million households, with repeats.
FIA Formula 4 SEA by Meritus.GP is open to drivers of 15 years or older who hold the minimum of a National C racing license, while International C and B licences are welcome, subject to Organiser approval.
The champion earns 12 points toward the 40 required for a driver to qualify for a Formula 1 Super Licence, down to one point for the seventh-placed driver. The champion is officially crowned at the annual black-tie event, the Meritus Awards Gala which is broadcast live from Studio 1 in Malaysia.
GP2 Asia champion team Meritus.GP raced successfully in Europe in the 1980s before expanding to Asia in the mid-‘90s. Meritus.GP helped propel Narain Kathikeyan to his F1 career while fellow graduates Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi both went on to win the Indianapolis 500 and the team’s Formula BMW champion Earl Bamber has won the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Meritus.GP was awarded the Formula 4 licence for South East Asia by the FIA in 2016 and the team remains fully focussed on developing young motorsport talent into tomorrow’s racing heroes.