The 2021 British F4 Championship is rife with talented first year drivers waiting to make their mark on single seater racing, and not many of them have a more impressive 2020 campaign to fall back on than Swedish rising star Joel Granfors. The Formula Nordic and Aquila Synergy Cup Sweden champion scored a total of 17 wins across the two championships to score dominant title success in both categories.
And in joining Fortec Motorsport, last season’s driver’s champions with Luke Browning, there’s no doubt that Granfors will be aiming high in his first foray in the UK. We had a chat with him at the pre-season media day test at Silverstone, and he mentioned how he’s been settling in at Fortec and how his testing programme has been so far.
“My testing has been great and pretty positive so far, and I already had a lot of speed from the first day. I’m getting along with the team pretty good, so I think I’m pretty ready for the first race in Thruxton when the season starts. I think it was my third or fourth time in the car at Brands, and it seems that the competition will be a lot tighter now that I’ve driven the car a lot more.” said Granfors.
Granfors showed immense confidence in his ability to come straight into the championship and fight for the title at the first attempt, owing his success from last season in Scandinavia as a perfect springboard to help him achieve that goal.
“I would say I already had my learning year last year in Formula Renault 1.6 in Sweden, so of course I’m here to win just like everyone else. But I have to say I think we have a pretty decent chance to fight for the championship this year.” said Granfors.
And of course, like many foreign drivers coming to the UK for the first time, Granfors has had to stay in the UK without seeing family due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. But ever the optimist, he was quick to say how it could be a positive, as the extra time with the team has helped him integrate much quicker.
“Yeah, it’s been a bit tough for me. COVID-19 has been growing in Sweden so I can’t really go home if I wanted to, because then I may get stuck there and then I couldn’t race back here in the UK. It’s been about two months since I’ve seen my family. It’s a big commitment to the championship in these times, just spending the last two months here with Fortec, doing nothing but spending time in the gym and on the simulator, so I would say I’m quite ready for the season to start now.
“But for sure it’s a positive thing because in a way the virus has been the best thing that’s happened to my career, as I’ve been able to be closer to the team and the learning curve here has been amazing for the past two months.” expressed Granfors.
The Swedish promise also spoke of his successes last season as well as why he chose the UK as his destination for the next step in racing career, saying the close racing and intense competition is what drew him to the British F4 championship for 2021.
“I think I had a 60% win rate last season, so it’s definitely great to have that single seater experience already. A lot of the new drivers coming from karting will have the mentality that you can touch more on track, but in Formula cars that can’t happen otherwise there will be a big shunt for someone.
“Last year I did Formula Nordic and the next step would ideally be Formula 4, and I saw some YouTube videos of the British F4 championship from last year and you can already tell that the series has a lot more racing than other series so it’s the kind of racing I like, it was definitely the choice for me.” said Granfors.
And with joining a team with the prestige of Fortec Motorsport, Granfors piled on the gratification and compared it to the setup he had when racing in his native Sweden, as well as expressing the pressure that comes with racing for such an outfit, especially after Luke Browning’s championship winning campaign with the team in 2020. He also made a small statement on the tracks he’s looking forward to running this year as we rapidly approach the beginning the opening round at Thruxton.
“Fortec have helped me a lot now and they’re a really good team, just looking at last year’s results with Luke Browning. They’re just an overall great team to drive for. Of course their success played a role in me joining the team. For me, they’re the best team on the grid. And there’s a lot of pressure that comes with it, you have to be on your highest level.
“Before in Sweden I had my dad as a mechanic and engineer, so now I’m in the UK I have a whole team of professionals helping me and personal trainers, so we’re having fun in the gym, but overall it’s a lot more professional here no doubt.
“There’s no tracks here that I’m worried about. The tracks are fairly similar here to what we have in Sweden, except maybe there’s a little more runoff here. I would say I’m looking forward to Oulton Park, Donington and Brands Hatch, that’s definitely my kind of circuit. Elevation changes and fast, narrow surfaces suit my driving style.” explained Granfors.
The 2021 season begins at the high-speed Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on 08-09 May.