Ethan Ischer becomes the first champion of the inaugural season of F4 CEZ Certified by FIA

Ethan Ischer becomes the first champion of the inaugural season of F4 CEZ Certified by FIA

The battle for the F4 CEZ title reached its grand finale at the brand-new Balaton Park circuit in Hungary. The season’s final event offered a thrilling spectacle.

Since Saturday’s qualifying session, it was clear who would be among the fastest drivers of the Hungarian weekend: teammates from Jenzer Motorsport, Ethan Ischer and Reno Francot, who were also contending for the title, along with Michael Sauter from Sauter Engineering + Design. Ischer secured pole position for the first race, with Sauter trailing by only 0.063 seconds, and Francot further behind by 0.040 seconds.

Ischer had an excellent start in the first race and led from start to finish. Francot got delayed behind Sauter in the early laps, and when he finally made his way to second place, Ischer was already too far ahead. On the other hand, the Dutch driver had to defend against the consistently fast Sauter towards the end, and their positions were eventually decided by the stewards. Francot went off track in the thirteenth turn, gaining an advantage. As a result, the stewards imposed a two-second penalty on him, pushing Francot down to third place behind the winner, Ischer, and the second-place Sauter.

In the second race, Ischer once again started from pole position, but his engine stalled at the start, allowing Sauter to take the lead. The young Swiss driver finally achieved his well-deserved first victory of the season. Francot finished second, followed by his teammate Thomas Gore in third. Ischer eventually finished in fourth place after a comeback drive.

The title showdown moved to the final race. Francot held an eight-point lead, which meant that if Ischer won, Francot would only need to finish second to secure the championship. If he finished third, Ischer would become the champion.

Ischer had a clear strategy, inspired by Lewis Hamilton’s approach in Formula 1 in 2016. He led the race and maintained a slow pace to force Francot, who was in second place, to defend against Sauter in third. That was Ischer’s only hope of winning the title.

Sauter had already mentioned during the weekend that he didn’t want to interfere in the title battle between Ischer and Francot, but as a racer, he saw an opportunity to overtake. He made several attempts to pass Francot, and in the penultimate lap, he successfully got ahead of the blue formula 4 car. However, Francot managed to retake the position in the same lap. But when Sauter made another move for second place, contact occurred between the two drivers.

A lap later, Ischer crossed the finish line under the checkered flag and won the race. However, it also meant defeat for him. Francot finished second, and Sauter came in third. Reno Francot could celebrate, as he finished second, which meant he secured the title by a single point. There were moments of true celebration, but then came the news that the stewards were investigating his incident with Sauter. It was a moment of uncertainty when no one knew who the champion would be. Would it be Francot or Ischer?

Half an hour after the race, the stewards made their decision. Reno Francot received a five-second penalty for the contact with Sauter. Francot dropped to third place in the final standings, and Ethan Ischer became the champion. The dramatic moments unfolded not only on the track but also off it.

It should be noted that the weekend was not solely about these three drivers, as other competitors achieved impressive results. Jenzer Motorsport fielded five cars in Hungary. In addition to Francot and Ischer, the Swiss team also had Thomas Gore from Jamaica, Shimo Zhang from China, and Max Karhan from the Czech Republic. Gore and Zhang made their F4 CEZ debuts and delivered excellent performances. Gore secured two fourth-place finishes and one bronze. Zhang finished sixth once and fifth twice. Karhan achieved his best result of the season with a fifth-place finish, followed by a sixth-place finish, and then after a comeback drive, he finished seventh in the last race.

The sole local driver in the field, Oliver Michl from the Gender Racing team, finished seventh in the first race. Unfortunately, he didn´t finish the second race, but in the final sprint, he made a fantastic start and climbed up to third place. In the end, he finished sixth.

Miroslav Mikeš from SAPE Motorsport couldn’t find his way to higher positions after successful previous events, and his best result was seventh place. Roman Roubíček from JMT Racing achieved his best result in the second race, finishing in eighth place.

F4 CEZ – Qualifying
F4 CEZ – Race 1
F4 CEZ – Race 2
F4 CEZ – Race 3

F4 CEZ Standings
Junior Standings