After seven rounds from six different circuits, ADAC Formula 4 arrives at Hockenheim with a number of title battles to sort out. In the hunt for the main trophy, Joey Mawson and the highly regarded Mick Schumacher could both claim the crown. While the rookie trophy is also up for grabs.
39 points separate the two, as they enter the final round. Mawson has held his own out front for the majority of the season, currently sitting on 324 points. Meanwhile, Schumacher has kept up as his closest challenger, with 285.
In a three-way battle for the title last year, Marvin Dienst collected the accolade in only the second race of the weekend. He eventually finished the season with 347 points as his closest rival Joel Eriksson fell away from the German. Eriksson himself, would only finish 2 points ahead of third place Mawson.
With 75 points available throughout the weekend a championship is still within Schumacher’s reach. He’s spent the season on Mawson’s tail and has often beaten the van Amersfoort Racing driver on track. Yet, Schumacher only has four wins to his name while Mawson has eight this season.
At 20-years-old Mawson is the most experienced driver in the field. Unable to progress from the series due to lack of finance, he’ll know a title could be vital if he is to move up to the higher series. Alternatively, he could go the route of 2015 champion Dienst and move to sportscars having collected the prize money and established a reputation.
On the other hand, Schumacher’s progression to the higher echelons could be far more straight forward. Last year, he lost out on the rookie title to David Beckmann and Mike David Ortmann, who sits 62 points behind in third. This season he has beaten one of his former rivals and must now overcome his former team-mate.
A move to European Formula 3 seems likely for Schumacher, racing for Prema Powerteam this season could set him up for an early run at the title, though the Formula 4 crown would help the German significantly and may reduce his need for super licence points in 2017, thus relieving the pressure.
Elsewhere the rookie title is also yet to be concluded. Currently leading the line is Danish driver Nicklas Nielsen on 282 points. He was an early full championship contender, but dropped off towards the middle of the year. A slight resurgence at the Red Bull Ring and Nurburgring brought him back to the top, though his form has been inconsistent.
Chasing him down will be the two Prema drivers of Juan Manuel Correa, with 261.5 points, as well as Juri Vips on 243. Vips’ run of strong form has brought him back into the fight and ensures he’s ahead in the overall standings, though both know a spot at Prema’s Formula 3 team may come calling if they can clinch the rookie title.
In the teams championship, it’s a four-way affair. Prema lead the field on 390.5 points, with Mawson’s Van Amersfoort slightly back on 368. Though it will be tough for them to claim the honours, 2015 drivers champions US Racing are third on 330, while Mucke Motorsport are hanging on with 310 points.
There are also a number of drivers making an appearance in the coming weekend. With 38 registered drivers, the Qualifying race has been reintroduced. This will cut down the field ahead of the final three races.
Of the new faces in the paddock, the most famous will be Jordan Love. The Australian lies second in his national championship and like countryman Luis Leeds in 2015, will make a one-off appearance to get experience of European racing. He’ll race for the SMC Motorsport Schwärzler team and will hope to do better than Leeds who failed to score a point in his Hockenheim encounter.
Long-term driver Michael Waldherr will also return to the series for one final round. He has switched teams though, competing for Team Motopark for whom he raced for last season. Elsewhere, Andreas Estner, Diego Ciantini and Swiss drivers; Giacomo Bianchi and Ricardo Feller all return to the series to compete in the prestigious final.
Qualifying will start 13:55 on Friday Central European Time. The resulting Qualifying Race will follow at 09:05 Saturday 1st October. Race one and two will be later that day, at 12:00 and 15:35 respectively. The final race will take place on Sunday, at 15:00 where the champions will be announced.