Single-seater newcomer Charlie Robertson delivered a consistently strong showing throughout the first event of the brand new BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 27th/28th April, to conclude the race meeting fifth in the driver standings.
With a best result of fourth position during round three on Sunday afternoon, the 16-year-old reigning Ginetta Junior Champion was fifth in the season-opening race on Saturday and also added a hard-fought seventh place in round two to bag a very important haul of points.
“The main thing this weekend was to score well in each race, which we’ve done, and have a strong start to the season so I’m happy enough with that”, said Charlie, “It would have been nice to be on the podium but for my first three races in single-seaters, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.”
Charlie’s weekend got off to a trying start during the qualifying session for round one when he had to back off on his quickest lap due to yellow flags being shown. While correctly reducing his pace and heeding the warnings, several rivals did not and so the Whyteleafe driver ended up ninth. This later became eighth though when Brazil’s Pietro Fittipaldi was excluded from the results of the session.
Although bundled back to 11th on the opening lap of race one, the HHC Motorsport youngster mounted a superb drive and pulled off some outstanding overtaking moves to climb into the top five. By the start of lap three, Charlie had already fought his way back into ninth and as the race reached mid-distance he had battled through into sixth.
Eating into the two second advantage held by Struan Moore during the closing laps, Charlie had closed right onto the rear wing of his rival into the final tour and produced an outstanding pass at the final complex to grab fifth and cap a tremendous performance on his single-seater debut. His best lap of the race was just 0.5 seconds shy of the quickest of all.
Giving the Investigo-backed racer a second row start for round two, with grid order decided by the finishing positions of the opening race albeit with the top eight reversed, hopes of a podium battle were largely dashed on the first lap when a robust opening to the race left Charlie down in eighth.
Working his way back into sixth on lap three, the Caterham School pupil had to keep his eyes firmly trained on his mirrors during the closing laps with a lot of pressure being applied from behind and on the penultimate lap he was nudged back to seventh.
Having set the fifth fastest lap of the weekend prior to round three, this gave Charlie fifth on the grid for the final outing. Although slipping to sixth, the Surrey racer ran close in the wheeltracks of round one winner Matt Bell and usurped his older and more experienced rival on the third tour before then taking fourth in his pursuit of a maiden Formula 4 podium – just missing out by 1.5 seconds.
“Race three was definitely our best chance of a podium and if I hadn’t got pushed back at the start then I think we had the pace to do it”, said Charlie, “Overall it’s been a decent start for us, a good foundation to build on during the next rounds at Brands Hatch.”
Charlie will be back in action three weeks from now, over the weekend 18th/19th May, for rounds four, five and six of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Marking the biggest race meeting of the season for the F4 competitors, the category will run as part of the support card for the visiting DTM ‘German touring cars’ and FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings (after Rd3):
5th Charlie Robertson, 48pts
Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.