Here is what you need to know about the Formula Regional Asian Championship ahead of its record 28-car grid.
What is Formula Regional Asian Championship?
Drivers from all over the world come to the United Arab Emirates for five consecutive weekends of racing at two race tracks. The first and last round will take place at the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit, with the middle three rounds taking place at the Dubai Autodrome.
The series stands between F4 and F3 in the ladder of motorsport. It uses the Tatuus T-318 chassis, in conjunction with other series such as FREC, W Series, and Toyota Racing Series.
Why should I watch Formula Regional Asian Championship?
This championship has a unique and undisputed calendar due to its geographical location. Most racing series around the world are subjected to the winter break, but Formula Regional Asian isn’t. Therefore, drivers can rack up vital mileage before their big campaign in Europe and USA. Secondly, New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series has only been open for domestic drivers since the pandemic started, making FRAC even more appealing to racing drivers. More cars mean more action for us viewers.
This year we will see drivers from a multitude of racing series competing for glory and the precious Super License points. The FIA generously grants 18 SL points to the champion, which is almost half of the 40 points required to obtain an “F1 license.” Another reason for drivers to get their elbows out on this short, but rewarding campaign.
Who competes in the Formula Regional Asian Championship?
Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema
The Italian powerhouse will provide service for no less than five drivers for the Emirati squad, with the native Al Qubaisi family piloting three cars. Sportcar racer and father Khaled Al Qubaisi contested two rounds in 2021, with the highest finish of 15th. Older sister Amna had a better 14th, with a mechanical failure taking away her solid 8th at the dying laps of the final race last year. Younger sister Hamda will join the series for the first time. She won in F4 UAE and finished on the podium in Italian F4.
Mercedes junior Paul Aron endured a tricky and learning year with Prema in the Formula Regional Europe Championship, but made a strong comeback in the second half of the season to finish 3rd overall. Having also raced in the Formula Renault Eurocup, Paul is easily one of the most experienced competitors this time round. 16-year-old Red Bull Junior Jak Crawford will be racing with Prema in FIA F3 and will be in contention for the title. He showed great speed throughout his F4 years, finishing runner-up in the 2020 ADAC F4 championship and finishing third in Euroformula Open.
The Indian outfit will be supported by Prema as well. They will run four FDA and Prema drivers. FREC driver Dino Beganovic had a tough 2021 but he will look to bounce back. The same goes with Arthur Leclerc who was hampered by poor reliability and qualified 30th in the first two rounds in 2021 F3. A compromised first half meant he finished 10th. Juan Pablo Montoya’s son, Sebastian, will drive the car for the first three rounds and will vacate the seat to prepare for the 12 Hours of Sebring. Double F4 champion Oliver Bearman will have his first taste of Prema machinery in the final two rounds.
The Constructor’s runner-up and relatively young team will field three cars for Nicola Marinangeli, Frederick Lubin, and Cem Bolukbasi. Marinageli endured a pointless campaign with both FRAC and FREC in 2021. Lubin came from British F4 and GB3 and was diagnosed with a heart condition that compromised his 2021. He is back fighting fit again this year. Turkish racing hero Cem Bolukbasi will return for a second season after he finished ninth in the standings last year and an impressive fifth for his partial campaign in Euroformula Open. We expect to see a lot of Turkish fans in the comment section as Cem progresses from FRAC to F2 with Charouz.
Evans GP Academy will field two young drivers in their car with 18-year-old David Morales. He finished on the podium twice in NACAM F4 and earned two more in British F4. He will join Hungary’s Levente Revesz, who raced in ADAC F4 and Italian F4 in 2021. Revesz is heading to FREC with Van Amersfoort Racing this year.
The Irish team has a lineup of three rookie drivers and one master driver. It sounds underwhelming, but 2021 Spanish F4 champion and 2021 F4 UAE runner-up Dilano Van’t Hoff is there to bring home the glory for them. Spanish teammate Jose Maria Marti competed on the same track with Van’t Hoff and also had a strong year. Bolukbasi’s compatriot Salih Yoluc is a sportscar racer who won the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is a big risk to switch from GT racing to F3 with just one test, but again, teammate Ayato Iwasaki is fresh out of karting.
The English team has a lineup of five drivers with a strong racing record. 2021 Italian F4 champion Gabriele Mini will race for the first two rounds and will vacate the seat for French F4 podium sitter Owen Tangavelou. Two winners and podium finishers from Italian F4 and ADAC F4 are Joshua Dufek and Leonardo Fornaroli. They will do only three rounds to maintain their rookie title coming to FREC this year. Hitech’s 2022 F3 driver and the only full-time entry is Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar. He finished 5th in FREC last year.
Ido Cohen will be their only driver to be eligible for points this year and he is expected to do well with a year of F3 experience under his belt. Thomas Luedi is one of the team founders, who will compete for the Master title. Teammate Brice Morabito also has F3 racing experience, moving from Australian F3.
3Y-Technology by R-ace GP
The Dubai-based company used to partner with Evans GP in 2021, but now switch to R-ace GP. They will field six drivers. Four of them already had experience with the T-318 machinery. Lorenzo Fluxa, along with Oliver Goethe and Gabriel Bortoleto all raced in FREC 2021, with minor success. However, FREC runner-up Hadrien David will compete for race wins with R-ace GP, albeit for the first two rounds only. Then Italian F4 graduate Francesco Braschi will replace him for the remaining three rounds. Lena Buhler will contest the final two rounds of the season and wrap up the entry list. She arrived from the W Series post-season test.
Where to watch?
Viewers can watch all practice sessions, qualifying and races live on the official “FR Asian Championship certified by FIA” Youtube channel. The championship will kick off on Friday, Jan 21, and wraps up a month later, Sun, Feb 20.
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