Having come tantalisingly close to the FIA British Formula 4 crown for the past two years, Garry Horner’s TRS Arden team have announced another strong squad of international drivers for 2017.
Ayrton Simmons, Oscar Piastri and Yves Baltas will all compete with TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford and the youngest of the four, Olli Caldwell, who doesn’t turn 15 until June, will race in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. All of the team’s drivers are products of the acclaimed Young Racing Driving Academy.
Simmons, who is himself still only 15-years-old, returns to the fold after a strong maiden campaign in which he ended 2016 as British F4’s Rookie class vice-champion having recorded six class wins, despite having missed the first two rounds due to his age. In the season finale at Brands Hatch Simmons held off Championship runner-up Sennan Fielding for second place and almost sneaked past champion and eventual race winner Max Fewtrell. Although still only 15-years-old, Simmons unquestionably has both youth and experience on his side as he embarks on his first full season in single-seater racing.
Ayrton Simmons: “I'm extremely excited to sign for Arden for a second year running in British Formula 4, and I'm very grateful for their confidence in my performance. Having been part of their Young Racing Driver Academy for a few years now, I know I'm in the right team to attempt the championship title and I am working very hard pre-season to achieve it”
Australian karting ace Oscar Piastri lit up the timing screens on countless occasions during the first official pre-season test at Oulton Park last week.
The 15-year-old already has F4 experience having competed in the sister UAE series and has no shortage of accolades to his name. Piastri finished sixth out of a field of over 90 drivers in the 2016 CIK-FIA World OK-Junior Championship, third in the 2015 KF3 Australian Kart Championship, second in the 2014 Australian National Sprint Kart Championship and third in the X30 Junior IAME International Final that same year.
Oscar Piastri: “I am really happy to join TRS Arden for the F4 British Championship. Testing has gone really well and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in one of the most competitive single-seater series in the world. I’ve raced in countries around the globe, but having the chance to race at the UK’s premier circuits, including the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and having it broadcast live on television to millions of people is something very special.”
Like Piastri, American hotshot Yves Baltas has shown pace and maturity during testing. As part of the YRDA programme, Baltas tested with TRS Arden throughout 2016, and underwent plenty of simulator training, which has given him the perfect preparation for the challenge ahead. The New York City teenager started karting aged four and went on to claim numerous podiums across the United States in the Rotax Mini Max and Junior Max classes. Baltas turns 15-years-old later this month and he’s ready to prove he has what it takes to succeed in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.
Yves Baltas: “Arden is a great team, the engineers are fantastic. They are helping me to learn everything and how to set the car up to ensure it’s as fast as it can possibly be. As testing has progressed I have felt increasingly comfortable in the car. It’s so much fun to drive, especially through the high speed corners. I think it should be a good year for us. I’m really proud to be an American driver with an American engine thanks to the 1.6 litre Ford EcoBoost engine that is used in British F4.”
Olli Caldwell completes TRS Arden’s four-car assault and is aiming to win the inaugural Ford F4 Challenge Cup in his rookie season in British F4. Challenge Cup drivers will race in seven meetings during the season for a share of a £10,000 prize fund courtesy of Ford Motor Company and free entry to the overall championship in 2018 worth £15,000.
Following an international karting career, which brought great success both in the UK and Europe, Caldwell competed in the second half of Ginetta Junior Championship last year. The young racer from Stockbridge, Hampshire will be the youngest ever driver to join the F4 grid on 11 June at Croft, as he turns 15 on the very same day as his first British F4 race!
Olli Caldwell: “I’m really excited to be joining Arden for this season’s F4 British Championship. It’s something I have worked hard at over the last few years, having been through the Young Racing Driver Academy since I was 11 years old – I have received the best support throughout my career so far, I’m ready to take on the F4 Challenge Cup to claim the title.”
Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden Team Manager: “I’m delighted to welcome the drivers on board for the 2017 season. It is great working with the YRDA once again, and to have a full four-car line up. The championship focuses on the young talent, and within the team we have four of the most talented young drivers on the scene. We have been working closely with the drivers over the winter period – last week at Oulton Park for the first official test we proved we have incredible pace this year. I’m looking forward to the first race at Brands Hatch.”