8th April 2019
Louis Foster got his British F4 campaign off to a sensational start as the Double R racer secured his first victory of the year in the second race of the weekend to depart Brands Hatch 3rd in the championship standings with 43 points.
Louis Foster’s first race weekend of 2019 took the 15-year old to Brands Hatch to contest the opening three races of the season around the shorter Indy Circuit. Moving into single-seaters for his debut season, Louis’ weekend got underway on Friday as the Double R driver took part in the two practice sessions to get up to speed around the circuit.
Getting off to a solid start at the Kent circuit, Louis finished the first two practises in 4th and 5th place respectively as the competitiveness of the championship became apparent – with just 0.085-seconds covering the top-five places in the second practice.
A cold and cloudy Saturday morning marked Louis’ first British F4 qualifying session and, despite the ominous clouds gathering above the track, the session stayed dry. With the cold weather playing havoc for tyre temperature, Louis struggled to get his tyres to their optimum initially but when he finally did, he was stuck in traffic and not able to deliver his full potential.
Settling for best lap times of 46.516 and 46.518, the Vansdirect-supported youngster secured 6th and 4th place starts for races one and three as the weather at Brands Hatch began to decline as the first race of the season approached.
Saturday’s opening race of the season was a wet affair as the rain fell on Brands Hatch and the wet weather tyres were strapped onto the car. Struggling to find the grip that other cars seemed to have, Louis wasn’t able to match their pace and slipped back to 7th place – from where he took the chequered flag to put his first championship points on the board.
Sunday’s race action, broadcast live on ITV4 with Louis carrying the ITV onboard camera, was delayed due to fog descending on the Brands Hatch circuit but after a couple of hours delay, the action finally got underway in Kent.
With the top-six places reversed for race two, Louis just missed out on reverse grid pole but would start the second race of the weekend from 7th place and once again it was the wet weather tyre that was bolted onto the cars.
Getting a good start from the inside of row four, Louis was instantly battling for P6 through the first four corners of the race before he was pushed onto the grass down the cooper straight and decided to tuck in behind and reset his attack. Louis finished the first lap of the race one position up in P6. The safety car was then deployed to recover a car in the gravel and the field was again bunched up.
Staying out for two laps, the safety car then came in and Louis got a strong restart and was already all over the back of 5th placed Skelton. Getting a fantastic launch out of the final corner, Louis breezed past Skelton as they headed into Paddock Hill Bend and he moved himself into the top-five.
Now with the tyres up to temperature and with a better understanding of the conditions Louis was the fastest man on track and was catching Turney rapidly. Quickly dispatching Turney heading into Druids hairpin, Louis was now in 4th place and had his eyes on the podium places with just six minutes left on the clock.
Lapping almost a second quicker than his teammate, Louis was now on the back of Alvarez as the two engaged in a titanic Double R battle for the final spot on the podium. Running side by side for the duration of lap 17, Louis got down the inside of Alavarez going around the final corner and the pair stayed side by side heading down the pit straight and into Paddock Hill Bend, Louis claimed the inside line to take the position.
Alvarez came back fighting though and attempted a move on Louis into Surtees and the move resulted in the pair making contact. Fortunately, the contact was minimal and Louis escaped any serious damage as he secured the third-place position from his teammate!
The Copart-sponsored driver then looked set to cross the line in 3rd place as he entered the final few corners of the race but up the road, Browning had made a move on Maloney on the final corner which resulted in contact and Maloney in the gravel trap.
Louis crossed the finishing line in second place but as Browning was handed a time penalty Louis inherited the race win to secure his first victory of the season and his first in British F4 and single-seaters!
Buoyed by his first race victory, Louis started the final race of the weekend from 4th place and the track had finally dried enough for slicks to be put on the car. For the first dry race of the weekend, Louis again got a good start and kept out of trouble through the opening lap of the race as he kept hold of his 4th place position.
In a dramaless final race of the weekend, Louis kept his head down and posted consistently quick lap times to reward himself with a 4th place that he held from lights to flag to pick up a further 12 points to add to his tally.
Reflecting on his opening weekend of the season, the Lord Wandsworth College pupil was delighted to secure his first win but is fully aware there is still much for him to learn in British F4.
“Overall, a really positive weekend! Taking my first win in only my second race is a fantastic feeling and is the perfect way to kick the year off. I struggled on Saturday, in qualifying and the first race in the wet conditions, but came back on Sunday looking to put that right and that’s exactly what I did.
I had some great battles out there and maybe got a bit too close with my teammate but managed to get away with it to pick up my first British F4 win! I know there’s a lot for me still to learn if I want to be at the top every race, but I’m still really pleased with the opening weekend. To be leaving the first round with a good haul of points, and sitting 3rd in the standings, is a fantastic way to start the year and I can’t wait to get back out on track at Donington.”
Leaving Brands Hatch, Louis has 43 points to his name after scoring points in each of the weekend’s races and heads to Donington Park (27-28 April) 3rd in the championship standings.