Ethan Ischer clinches F4 CEZ Championship by two points

Ethan Ischer clinches F4 CEZ Championship by two points

A thrilling battle for the F4 CEZ title unfolded in the final race of the 2023 season. Ethan Ischer strategically raced to secure victory in the slowest manner possible, allowing Michael Sauter to catch up to Reno Francot for second place. If successful, Ischer would become the champion. Although Francot lost his second place on the penultimate lap, he quickly regained it from Sauter. However, this manoeuvre came under investigation by race stewards, and Francot received a 5-second penalty after the race, resulting in him losing second place and the title.

The grid for the third race was determined based on the second-best qualifying times achieved by each driver. Consequently, Ethan Ischer started from pole position alongside Reno Francot. The second row belonged to Thomas Gore and Max Karhan. Oliver Michl and Shimo Zhang started from the third row, while Michael Sauter and Miroslav Mikeš occupied the fourth row. Roman Roubíček started from behind them.

Ischer and Francot had a strong start and maintained their positions. However, hometown driver Oliver Michl had an even better start, swiftly moving from fifth to third place. Sauter also managed to overtake several cars in the opening lap, positioning himself behind Michl and eventually passing him on the second lap.

Max Karhan had a slow start from his position and found himself at the back of the pack after the first lap. However, he soon overtook Roubíček and began closing in on Mikeš in seventh place. Five laps into the race, Gore moved up to fourth place, with Zhang in fifth. Michl, after a strong start, dropped to sixth. Mikeš held seventh position, with Karhan in pursuit.

Ischer chose to drive at a slower pace, hoping that Sauter would catch up to both him and Francot. It was Ischer’s only hope for the title—Sauter overtaking Francot. However, the Dutch driver skillfully defended his position, and the leading trio continued to drive lap after lap with minimal gaps between them.

On the penultimate lap, Sauter successfully passed Francot in the first sector, but Francot swiftly reclaimed the position in the same lap. However, during braking in turn 8, Francot made contact with Sauter, forcing him off the track. The maneuver was investigated by race stewards.

Ischer won the race, Francot crossed the finish line in second, and Sauter in third. The podium ceremony proceeded with Francot being unofficially crowned the F4 CEZ champion. However, after twenty minutes, the race stewards issued a five-second penalty to Francot for forcing Sauter off the track, resulting in Ischer becoming the very first champion of the F4 CEZ series.

Thomas Gore finished the race in fourth place, followed by Shimo Zhang in fifth. Oliver Michl secured sixth place, with Max Karhan in seventh, Miroslav Mikeš in eighth, and Roman Roubíček in ninth.

Race 3 results
F4 CEZ Final standings