SMP F4 announced as support event for Russian Grand Prix

With the season starting in only a few weeks, the SMP F4 Championship has announced that it’ll be one of the support events to the 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

The Black Sea coast will play host to the opening round of the season, in which free practice and qualifying will start Friday April 29. Saturday will see the opening round of the season, with the second race, on the Sunday morning before the Grand Prix.

“We are looking forward to this first round, as being a Grand Prix support event is not very usual when you are in Formula 4.” said Afa Heikkinen, the SMP F4 Promoter.

“But we got that opportunity and we will create a great event for the season opener. It will be hard for the drivers as it will be their first race weekend and on top of that racing with Formula One will add a bit more pressure. But it will be a good exercise for them”

It won’t be the first Formula 4 event to be included in an F1 weekend, with the opening round of the NACAM Formula 4 series supporting the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix. The weekend saw Luis Leeds dominate, taking pole position and the eventual race win, and later became a member of the Red Bull Young driver academy.

16 drivers are confirmed for the new SMP F4 season, with four faces returning to the championship. Niko Kari won two of the three races last year on his way to title success and eventual Red Bull backing. After Sochi will follow the series two flyaway events to the Netherlands.