With the ADAC Formula 4 Championship title already wrapped up this season, all eyes have turned to the Rookie Cup as the German series enters its final round at Hockenheim.
Leading the rookie standings on 284 points is David Schumacher. The 16-year-old son of Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher has been a sensation during his first year, picking up seven class wins and lying ninth in the overall standings with 85.
To put it in perspective, David currently has nine more overall points than cousin Mick Schumacher had going into the final round in 2015, and that’s with one less weekend. Mick though, famously did feature on the overall podium, picking up a win during his first outing at Oschersleben.
While David may not have scored an overall podium to date, his key rival Niklas Krütten has featured on three. After becoming the first rookie this year to pick up an overall win last time out at the Nurburgring, Krütten sits above Schumacher on the overall points, but an extra retirement and one less rookie win means he goes into the final round with a 20 point deficit in the rookie standings.
Both drivers will be pushed by the on-form Gianluca Petecof. The Ferrari junior is out of the running for the title, but an overall second place, his best of the year, last time out, means he’ll be on form to upset the title battle.
Joining the grid this weekend will be two more rookie sensations from across Europe.
Petr Ptáček recently wrapped up the Italian F4 Championship rookie cup, beating Petecof. With ten class wins from eighteen races, he’ll be expected to feature at the sharp end of the grid this weekend, as he competes with Schumacher’s US Racing – CHRS team.
“I feel like my main job is done now so I want to enjoy every moment I get on track,” Ptacek explained. “I can now finish the season in a more fun way and not feel like ‘I need to do this’, or ‘I need to do that’.”
He will be expected to help the German outfit fight for the overall teams title, as they go into the final round with a 19 advantage over Van Amersfoort Racing.
“Teams like Van Amersfoort and my team, US Racing-CHRS, don’t compete in Italy so they have drivers I’ve never raced with before. It’s an added challenge for me because I don’t know how they’ll react to certain situations.” explained Ptacek on his approach to the weekend. “If you’re battling them do they get nervous and do they make mistakes? It is a big unknown to deal with.”
Joining them will also be French F4 Championship leader Caio Collet. The Brazilian will take Jack Doohan‘s place at the Prema Powerteam as he looks to gain further experience ahead of a more international campaign next year.
After wrapping up the ADAC F4 title last time out, Lirim Zendeli will be hoping to end the year on a high as his US Racing team hopes to beat Van Amersfoort. The Dutch team are headed by two of his title rivals; Liam Lawson, who will want to fight back after his dire weekend last time out and Frederik Vesti who has picked up two wins from the last two rounds.
Lawson, Vesti and Prema’s Enzo Fittipaldi are also competing for second in the standings, with the Brazilian currently leading the trio who are split by only 17 points.