The light goes green for the first race weekend of 2023 for the two FDA youngsters, with Tuukka making his single-seater debut.
Right at the start of this month, the Ferrari Driver Academy pair of James Wharton and Tuukka Taponen were on track in Dubai, preparing for the Formula 4 UAE championship. The series starts this weekend and it looks like being interesting and challenging with no fewer than 40 drivers lining up. A year ago in this championship, Wharton made a brilliant debut, taking four race wins.
Different goals. James now has a valuable year’s experience to count on and will aiming for the top prize this time round. It will be a particularly exciting time for Taponen as the 16 year old Finn will be making his single-seater race debut, following the path taken by Wharton last year. “In the preparatory tests, Tuukka adapted well to the car, but now it’s time to see how he approaches a real race weekend,” confirmed the head of the FDA, Marco Matassa. “The idea of his taking part in the F4 UAE is of course to break the ice and come up against his opponents, so we will also be looking at how he performs right from the start. There are fewer unknowns for James,” added Matassa. “Because he knows the series and the car too of course. I am confident they can perform well right from the start which would augur well for an interesting year ahead.”
Programme. Dubai hosts the first of five rounds with the action getting underway with two qualifying sessions on Friday, followed by the first race at 16.25 local (13.25 CET). A busy Saturday features the second and third races, starting at 9.40 (6.40 CET) and 12.25 (9.25 CET) respectively.