Louis Sharp crowned British F4 champion at Brands Hatch
On a weekend when Max Verstappen clinched the World Championship for the third time, one of the sport’s fastest rising talents – teenage sensation Louis Sharp – took another huge step towards his own Formula One dreams by winning the coveted 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship Certified by FIA title.
The 16-year-old Kiwi protégé not only furthered his reputation as a star of the future by winning the title won by Lando Norris in 2015 (Oscar Piastri was runner-up in 2017) but also has fast-tracked his progression towards the hallowed F1 grid, where he will hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Rodin Cars-backed racer Liam Lawson in making it to the top of the sport.
By winning the ‘FIA Certified’ title, Sharp has earned 12 Super Licence points to aid his progression through the single-seater ranks, as well as a trio of prizes with F1 teams aimed at helping the newly-crowned champion to continue their development and prepare them for future steps in their racing career.
Sharp’s spoils include a rare opportunity to experience a Formula One simulator experience at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s state-of-the-art campus in Brackley; to spend a Grand Prix weekend embedded with McLaren Racing in 2024 and a year-long coaching programme and expert guidance from BWT Alpine Formula 1 Team at the Alpine Racing Human Performance Centre.
Showing maturity well beyond his age, Sharp won the coveted title in impressive style at a sun-drenched season-finale staged on the epic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in front of a huge crowd.
With a slender advantage in the championship standings to defend over rival William MacIntyre, Louis headed into Saturday’s qualifying aware of the importance of the session but rose to the challenge as he secured his place at the head of the field for the final race of the weekend.
Not only that, his second-quickest time was good enough to ensure that he would also lead the pack away for the opening race, which took place later on Saturday afternoon.
Getting the car away well off the line when the lights went out, Louis wasted little time in building an advantage at the front before the deployment of the safety car saw the field close up behind.
Undeterred, Louis nailed the restart to retain his position when the action got back underway and a crucial sixth victory of the campaign allowed him to move further clear of MacIntyre who finished third in the standings.
The reverse grid second race was all about making up as much ground as possible given points were awarded for places gained, with Louis staying out of trouble on the opening lap to quickly vault up from the very back into 14th place.
Moving up into 12th before another caution period, Louis would gain a further spot on the restart to finish in 11th and leave him as the man to beat going into the 30th and final race of the year.
Aware that he only needed to finish ahead of MacIntyre to be guaranteed the title, Louis was happy to let fellow front row starter Deagan Fairclough move ahead at the start and then shadowed his rival throughout with MacIntyre behind unable to make up the ground he required to deny the talented teenager.
“I’m over the moon and almost lost for words,” he said. “I have to say a huge thank you to the whole team for everything they have done over the last two years, but particularly this year as they have been so good, and done so much for me.
“I’ve also had so much support from my family and from David [Dicker] and everyone at Rodin Cars because I wouldn’t be here without them. This has been a tough season with highs and lows along the way and we worked hard to make sure that we got the job done when it mattered.
“That final race of the season with Will behind me was the most stressful 20 minutes of my life and it was so nice to see the chequered flag!”
Underlining what Sharp achieved, the 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship starred 27 of the world’s finest young drivers representing no fewer than nine different global nations.
“Winning this championship is going to benefit me going forwards in my career and seeing what has happened to others in the past following their success in British F4, I hope that this will help open some doors,” concluded the new champion.
As well as securing the Drivers’ Championship, Louis played a critical role in his Rodin Carlin team seeing off the challenge of Hitech Pulse-Eight to retain the prized Team’s Cup.
“Motorsport is a team effort and I’m lucky to have a fabulous team to support Louis, who is a great driver,” team boss Trevor Carlin said. “The whole team has pulled together this season and this weekend, the car was brilliant and I’m super proud of everyone for what we have achieved.
“Motorsport is all about circumstance but Louis has all the right pieces to go all the way to the top, and there every reason why in a few years’ time we might be talking about Louis in the same way people talk about Lando Norris; as a former British F4 champion competing in Formula One.”