Seb Morris achieved his long-held aim of winning a round of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Snetterton 300 Circuit on Sunday, 8th September, with an outstanding performance during round 20 of the season…but the victory was short lived when officials later excluded his car on a technicality.
Delivering an exceptional showing in the second of the weekend’s three races at the Norfolk track, the Marford driver was in great form and battled back from a slip to third place midway through the encounter to secure his first win of 2013.
Post-race, however, series scrutineers declared the gurney flap on the rear wing of the 17-year-old’s car to be non-compliant with the technical manual in respect of its dimensions. Vehemently opposed to the ruling, Seb, his management and the Hillspeed team lodged an official protest with the sport’s national governing body, the MSA [Motor Sports Association], which will be heard at a later date.
“We’re certain the gurney flap is fully compliant with the regulations which is why we have appealed the decision, there would have been no point doing that otherwise”, commented the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star, “Taking the first win was fantastic, especially after having to work so hard for it, so to have it taken away is beyond disappointing.”
Beginning the second of the weekend’s three races from the front row of the ‘reverse grid’ as a result of finishing round 19 in seventh position, Seb piled on the pressure to pole-starter Jack Barlow from the outset but was elbowed back to third place on lap two by Gustavo Lima.
Determined to get back ahead of the Brazilian in double-quick time, the Ginetta Ambassador re-took second spot on the fourth tour and set about challenging Barlow for the lead again. Running tight to the rear of Barlow’s car, Seb threw everything he had at finding a way past and pulled off a terrific move at Montreal Hairpin on lap eight to edge ahead before winning by 0.5 seconds.
Perplexed to say the least with regard to the subsequent judicial decision, the Welsh teenager was resolutely set on rounding off the weekend with another trip to the podium in Sunday afternoon’s race – round 21 – and he managed just that after delivering another excellent drive.
Moving into third place at the start, from fourth on the grid, the Abbey Gate College student ran close behind team-mate Struan Moore and forced the Jersey driver into a small mistake before shooting by for second position. With his Yokohama tyres not as fresh as those on race leader James Fletcher’s car, though, Seb had to be satisfied with the runner-up spot.
“This has been by far our best weekend of the season in terms of our race pace and the overall race performance”, he reflected, “I drove the best I could, did all I could do to win the second race, and whatever happens with the hearing no-one can take away the fact I won that race on the road. I’m hopeful we can continue the same level of performance at Donington and be on the podium there.”
Due to the loss of his 30 points from round 20, which still hang in the balance pending the outcome of the upcoming MSA hearing, Seb has slipped to third in the F4 championship standings ahead of the final three rounds of the season at Donington Park in Leicestershire on 28th/29th September.
Highlights of this weekend’s action from Snetterton will be screened next Sunday, 15th September, at 18.00 on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings (after Rd21):
3rd Seb Morris, 344pts
Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.