After a nail-biting, intense and rather congested British F4 campaign, it’s time to take a look back at some of the highs and lows of a spellbinding season of racing that brought to our attention a whole host of fresh talent looking to make names for themselves on the world stage.
In the first of our three part series, we take a deeper look into the campaigns of the top three finishers in this season’s British F4 championship. First up we have Argenti Motorsport’s Casper Stevenson. Driving in his first single seater campaign after a solid year in Ginetta Junior championship, there was a lot of promise surrounding the inaugural scholarship winner, and it’s fair to say that Stevenson delivered on that promise.
Two wins and 14 podiums on the way to a commendable third place in the overall standings was enough to grant him seven FIA Super License points and put his name firmly on the map. We were fortunate enough to have a word with Casper after the season finished to get his thoughts on his debut campaign in British F4 and what the future holds for him.
When asked about how he found his debut year, he wasn’t shy to point out it’s challenges jumping from Ginetta juniors in to single seaters, especially when learning about tyre management and the importance of a good qualifying session on Saturday mornings to help propel you to good points finishes due to the nature of tricky overtaking possibilities in the series.
“I found my debut year in F4 enjoyable and challenging. I had some great weekends and some awful weekends and I learnt a lot about single seater racing. For example, the importance of a good qualifying due to it being hard to overtake as well as importance of managing the tyres for the later laps/races.” explained Casper.
Stevenson went on a mid-season tear that put him firmly in contention for championship honours as we approached the final races in this significantly condensed season. Between the third race at Knockhill and his second win of the season at Croft, he would go on to record nine consecutive podiums including another win at Silverstone. An impressive feat for a driver that continually chipped away from the beginning of the season, seemingly unlocking his and Argenti Motorsport’s potential when it mattered most.
“Yes, those middle races were great when I had nine podiums in a row. The team kept on churning out a good car and I just made sure to have clean races. Those races were also great for points and the championship.” said Stevenson.
As with any driver over the course of a long campaign, there’s highs and lows to assess. Casper is no different here, but he mentioned his fantastic weekend at Croft where he had a difficult Friday searching for performance, only to go and turn it around to score a win and a second place to cap a truly remarkable weekend.
“My personal highlight of the season has to be Croft. We had a really tricky Friday being nowhere in the two practice sessions. But then after lots of discussions and thinking, we went double pole on Saturday morning which was incredible as it was my first pole. It felt just as good as my first win if not better. I then went on to get a second place and a win so it was just a great weekend altogether.
“The low point of the season has to be the final round at Brands Hatch after being super quick in dry testing. When it rained we were nailed at the back due to having a dodgy set of wets and this made the weekend really unenjoyable, and it ended the season on a bad note which is never good.” explained Stevenson.
Casper went on to explain how an engine issue hampered his early races of the season, and he believes if they didn’t occur then himself and Argenti Motorsport would’ve been in a much stronger position when the series came to a close at Brands Hatch.
“The first two rounds were hampered by an unexplainable engine issue that was very frustrating for me and the team, meaning we couldn’t show our potential due to lack of straight line speed. Once that was fixed for Oulton Park we were back on form and getting constant podiums.
“I also made a few mistakes in the first two rounds that didn’t help either. But like you say before Brands I think I had scored the most points out of everyone in the second half of the season, so we were definitely one of the strongest. And if we didn’t have these issues in the beginning of the season I think we definitely could’ve been right in the title battle.” expressed Stevenson.
After technically becoming a new team when taking over the reigns from Double R Racing in 2019, Argenti Motorsport got up to pace very quickly, and Stevenson was quick to acknowledge their hard work and dedication to achieving results straight out of the starting blocks in 2020.
“It is a brand new team. However they were on it quickly and I think lockdown actually helped us as a team as it gave us more time to get prepared and ready for the start of the season. I think due to the fact the team was new, I had more of an involvement in the team and trying to get the most out of everything rather than a driver going into an established team to just ‘arrive and drive’.
“The team are very hard working and I think I learned more being with them than I would if I had been with any other team. I do think they will be a huge team in a few years and hopefully as big as the likes of Prema and ART. I can also call myself their first every driver too, which us nice.” said Casper.
As with all junior formula drivers trying to make their way up the global pathway in single seaters to the top of the pyramid in Formula 1, the question is always about what comes next. Casper Stevenson is no exception here, and he’s already looking ahead to bigger and brighter challenges for 2021 and beyond.
“I don’t think there would be much benefit In doing a second season in British F4 as I think I have learnt a lot from it and coming back wouldn’t be very useful for my development.
“Usually the top three always progress on, so I’m hoping to do some sort of F3 category and theres’s seemingly millions to choose from! British F3, Euroformula, Formula Regional and even FIA F3. So at the moment I’m speaking to a few different teams and testing different machinery. I love the famous European tracks so hopefully racing on those would be my goal.”