The talented youngsters in the ADAC Formula 4 series have their second race weekend behind them. Oliver Bearman enjoyed a nearly perfect weekend at CM.com Zandvoort, with two lights-to-flag victories. The Van Amersfoort Racing team landed three drivers in the top three at its home event on Sunday. Rookie Michael Sauter also made it onto the podium on his debut in the series. The drivers were mightily impressed by the remodelled layout of the iconic circuit in the Dutch dunes. Former Formula 4 driver Jannes Fittje captured children’s imagination. The Euro 2020 final between Italy and England was also a prominent topic among the international field. Ideal conditions helped generate a great holiday atmosphere on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands. Here are the stories from the Zandvoort paddock.
From pole to victory - twice: Van Amersfoort driver Oliver Bearman was in excellent form and nicknamed Mr. Zandvoort by the circuit announcer. With fastest times in the free practice sessions, the fastest laps in both qualifyings, and two race wins, he thoroughly deserved his new title. “It was obviously a super weekend for me on the whole. I am delighted for the whole team. It is the reward for the hard work we are all putting in,” said Bearman. Even at this early stage, the young Brit has already emerged as the hot favourite to win the championship. Bearman also won two races at the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. He tops the overall standings with 112 points, a full 40 points clear of second-placed Sebastian Montoya.
Successful home outing
As well as the performances of Oliver Bearman, Van Amersfoort Racing had another great success to celebrate at its home event in Zandvoort. In the first of the Sunday races, VAR drivers Bearman, Joshua Dufek and Nikita Bedrin completed a top-three lock-out. Three Van Amersfoort Racing drivers on the podium – what a display of dominance from the Dutch team in its home race. “It is not every day that you occupy the first three places as a team. We are all so happy,” said Switzerland’s Dufek after the race.
Rookie success on debut: Michael Sauter was the best-placed rookie in race three in Zandvoort. This earned the 16-year-old Swiss driver his first trophy in his first season. The driving force behind the Sauter Engineering + Design team is a father-son pairing. Together, Michael and his dad Stephan Sauter are looking to find their feet and establish themselves in the high-class environment of ADAC Formula 4. The leading rookie remains Nikita Bedrin of Van Amersfoort Racing. The young Russian has been the fastest in the rookie competition in five of the season’s six races so far.
Spectacular new layout
Last year, the coronavirus prevented the ADAC’s high-speed school from visiting the Formula 1 circuit in Zandvoort. During this period, the circuit in the dunes has been remodelled, including the addition of two banked corners. This new layout was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Formula 4 drivers. “The circuit is fantastic, one of the few old-school tracks still in existence. It is great fun driving here,” raved Prema driver Sebastian Montoya. Oliver Bearman also found the circuit “really cool”, adding: “I never drove on the old layout, so this is all I know. But it is really unique. The banked corners mean there is a lot more g-force than I am used to.” Tim Tramnitz from the US Racing team, said: “It is an unbelievably technical circuit, which makes it very demanding.” He then added with a grin: “The track limits here are either gravel or the wall.”
Back to his roots
He himself has passed through the ADAC junior series, driving for Motopark and US Racing in ADAC Formula 4 in 2015 and 2016. Jannes Fittje returned to his roots at the weekend. Now 21 years old and racing in the ADAC GT Masters, the German driver and his partner FaberExposize put a smile on many a child’s face with a special campaign in the run-up to the Zandvoort weekend. They presented each of the kindergartens in Heiligenstadt with four pedal cars resembling Fittje’s current race car. The kids were also able to enter a drawing competition and win a visit to a race in the German GT Championship for themselves and their family.
Football fever in the paddock
The final race day in Zandvoort was the same day as the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England, which provided another topic of conversation in the Formula 4 paddock. However, the timing of the final (21:00) clashed with the journey home for many drivers. Italian Francesco Braschi naturally predicted a win for the Squadra Azzurra, but was unfortunately unable to watch the match live, as he was on a flight back to Bologna at the time. Who knows whether he made it back in time for the penalty shootout. France’s Sami Meguetineuf streamed the match on his laptop whilst travelling by train to Marseille. Mexican Jorge Garciarce Davila watched the match in a van on his way to Switzerland. Britain’s Oliver Bearman and a few of his team-mates followed the action on their journey to Imola in Italy. Tim Tramnitz was still feeling the pain of Germany’s quarter-final defeat, had then tipped Denmark for the final, and was ultimately wrong again with his prediction of a win for England.
Sun, sand and motorsport: the race weekend on the North Sea coast of Holland had plenty going for it. “Zandvoort is my favourite circuit. This is partly because of the environment here – the circuit is located in very beautiful dunes,” said a delighted Tim Tramnitz. The race on the Dutch coast is traditionally one of the most popular dates on the ADAC Formula 4 calendar. After the exciting sessions of racing, the coast is the perfect place to unwind. As at the season-opener in Spielberg, 3000 fans per race day were permitted at the circuit.