In a nail-biting finish to the campaign Juri Vips (17, Estonia, Prema Powerteam) secured a first ADAC Formula 4 title ahead of team-mate Marcus Armstrong (17, New Zealand, Prema Powerteam) and Felipe Drugovich (17 , Brazil, Van Amersfoort Racing). Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the 2017 season were won by Drugovich, Lirim Zendeli (17, Germany, ADAC Berlin Brandenburg eV) and Artem Petrov (17, Russia, Van Amersfoort Racing) respectively. Having waited all year for a maiden victory, the Russian youngster achieved it in the final encounter of the campaign. Prema Powerteam from Italy successfully defended their team title, and Mick Wishofer (17, Austria, Lechner Racing) lifted the ADAC Formula 4 Best Rookie trophy.
Just like being at Munich: A large marquee had been erected for the ADAC Formula 4 end-of-season get-together. Within a few hours of the final podium ceremony, the Greschbachhalle am Hockenheimring was transformed into a replica of the Oktoberfest in Munich, complete with the customary delicacies of chicken legs, knuckle pork, roast almonds and beer plus oom-pah music in the background. The ceremonial tapping of the barrel was performed by ADAC Sports President Hermann Tomczyk und newly crowned ADAC GT Masters champion Jules Gounon.
Trophies: The winners’ trophies presented this year met with universal admiration. They were reproductions of the vehicles used in the ADAC Formula 4 series on a scale of 1:8. Finished in ADAC yellow livery and adorned with the logos of the series sponsors, the miniature cars were mounted on plastic bases onto which the driver’s name and position in the championship had been engraved. The Top Three in the drivers’ championship – Juri Vips, runner-up Marcus Armstrong and third-placed Felipe Drugovich – also received EUR10,000, EUR7,500 and EUR5,000 respectively in prize money. The reward for Best Rookie champion Mick Wishofer is a complimentary Abarth engine for his car to be used in next year’s ADAC Formula 4. Rookie class runner-up Charles Weerts (16, Belgium, Motopark) is awarded two sets of rims and four sets of tyres, while third-placed Richard Wagner (17, Germany, Lechner Racing) receives a set of rims and four sets of tyres.
Coming along by leaps and bounds: Felipe Drugovich has made immense progress this season. After finishing on the topmost rung of the podium seven times this season, the Brazilian has taken third place in the all-time list of ADAC Formula 4 race winners. In first place is current record holder and 2016 champion Joey Mawson (21, Australia, Van Amersfoort Racing) who notched up 15 victories in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, followed by Marvin Dienst (20, Germany, HTP F4 Junior Team UNGAR) who registered eight wins in the inaugural season of the competition. Drugovich shares the third spot with Joel Eriksson (19, Sweden, Motopark), who also won seven races in the 2015 season.
Pink Panthers rise to the occasion: Lirim Zendeli has matched the record of his predecessor and friend Mike David Ortmann. Like Ortmann in the previous year, the teenager from Bochum won three races, the last of which came on Saturday at the Hockenheimring. Sophia Flörsch from Grünwald near Munich also had cause to feel satisfied with the way she rounded off her second season. “September seems to have been my month,” she said after the second race in which she finished third with a strong performance behind team mate Zendeli and Jonathan Aberdein (19, South Africa, Motopark). This came one week after she made her debut podium appearance. Flörsch also posted the fastest lap in the second and third races at Hockenheim. Ortmann, who has since graduated to the ADAC GT Masters as a member of the BWT Mücke Motorsport squad and now sharing one of their distinctive ‘Pink Panthers’ with Frank Stippler, enjoyed a successful weekend on which he made a debut appearance on the Junior class podium.
Change of perspective: Laurin Heinrich watched Races 2 and 3 at the Hockenheimring from the commentary box where he sat next to Swen Wauer and provided insights from the perspective of a series contestant. The rookie from Kürnach near Würzburg was unable to compete last weekend because his car had not yet been repaired after sustaining damage in a collision at the Sachsenring. He hopes to be back in the starting line-up next year, but preferably next time as a member of a team. “It’s quite hard as an individual,” said Heinrich, who turns 16 on 26th September. “When you’re in a team, you have a means of direct comparison.”
Just like being at home: That was how Fabio Scherer (18, Switzerland, US Racing) described the scene at the Hockenheimring where numerous Swiss fans had turned up to watch the racing action. “When you walk through the paddock, you hear people talking Schwyzerdütsch everywhere. That’s cool and it makes me so happy.” Scherer regards the Hockenheimring as the next best thing to a home race. Finishing third in the first race, the winner from the Sachsenring was able to lay on a good performance for his fans.
Live and in colour: ADAC Formula 4 will continue to receive extensive TV coverage for the next three years. Sport 1 will report on all races staged by the ADAC High-Speed Academy until at least 2020.