As part of SMP Racing‘s growing power amongst the Formula 4 categories, the new Benelux Formula 4 series will instead be merged to form part of the SMP F4 Championship, for drivers holding a “North European Zone” or NEZ Licence. This means that the separate series made up from races in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany will be scrapped.
The existing SMP F4 series had its cars provided by Finnish outfit Koiranen GP throughout 2015. For the new season, Dutch team MP Motorsport will join them in fielding the vehicles. The announcement has come after both teams withdrew their entry in Formula Renault 2.0.
MP will now provide cars during the two back to back Dutch rounds around the Zandvoort circuit, painting the cars in their national colours. The F4 car itself will continue to be made by Tatuus.
Similar to the existing EuroFormula Open series, the 2016 SMP F4 series will have a sub-championship, to be known as the Dutch Trophy in which points will be collected from the two rounds at Zandvoort as well as the newly introduced Formula 4 Festival.
MP Motorsport boss Sander Dorsman commented, saying that “Cars from the NEZ, Dutch F4 and Spanish F4 – which we are also going to do – will be given priority, but of course participants from Germany, France and Italy are most welcome. We are aiming for 50 cars [for the festival].”
The finale is to be held at either Zandvoort or Assen, with Dorsman saying; “This will be something like the F3 Masters or the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, but for F4 cars,”
The new calendar for the 2016 season also features a trip to Sweden at the Anderstorp circuit in support of an STCC event. Notably though, the two Finnish rounds have been dropped, despite Niko Kari becoming champion and the national motorsport body being a founding member of the series.
“It is a strong championship; look how well the champion of this year, Niko Kari, is doing now. He has been included in Red Bull’s junior programme and takes the next step of his career in European F3.” continued Dorsman
“Dutch talents can compete in a field of around 25 cars. Karters are already accustomed to traveling and don’t want to go to Zandvoort four times and Assen four times. Now Zandvoort is part of an international calendar of great events around leading championships like the WTCC and DTM.”