The Italian Formula 4 Championship came to its conclusion this weekend with the running of round 7 at the Roman track of Vallelunga. After winning the driver title with Gabriele Minì in the penultimate round of 2020 at Imola, PREMA Powerteam was able to also seal the team title at the end of Race 1.
The whole weekend was affected by rain which even forced the stewards to cancel race 2. In race 1, with Gabriele Minì starting from pole, the Italian and teammate Kirill Smal fell back due to tyre strategy, as safety car situations prevented them from taking advantage of their slicks. On the other hand, Brazilian Gabriel Bortoleto delivered a rookie podium in P4 overall, a result that he repeated in race 3 on Sunday.
Smal was the best finisher for PREMA in race 3, the Russian taking second place overall and a win among rookies. Right behind him came Minì and Bortoleto, while after having started in arrears, Swede Dino Beganovic finished the two races in P5 and P10 respectively. The Ferrari Driver Academy-backed racer secured third place in the driver championship to cap a positive season.
It was a tough final race of the year for Sebastian Montoya. The Colombian-American showed great speed potential but found himself battling at the middle of the pack in really complicated conditions.
#3 - Kirill Smal
“Overall it was a good weekend although sadly we didn’t have the chance to do two races on Sunday. We knew that the pace was there. In race 1, we were a bit unlucky with the tyre strategy we choose, but then we were able to claim second place overall and the rookie win race 3. Since I came to Prema in the middle of the season, we had the speed in every track and every test. I’m really happy about the job that we have done.”
#6 - Sebastian Montoya
“At the beginning of the season, it was quite difficult as I didn’t get many days of testing, but then it was just catching up with the others and improving every weekend in and out. Not the luck we wanted, as we did not score podiums, but a lot of experience came for next year which is important. I learned a lot, and the speed at the end was really good. I thank the team for the work we did from the beginning to the end. On to next year!”
#7 - Dino Beganovic
“The whole weekend was very difficult starting from practice and making the right decision with the tyres in qualifying which I feel I managed but not perfectly. Overall I think it’s not too bad finishing P5 in the first race and taking more good points. In race 3 I think we made a great recovery, we crossed the finish line in P7 although we got dropped to P10 after the red flag. It was an okay weekend, not the best, but I’m very happy to take third in the championship.”
#46 - Gabriele Minì
“The season went really well so having won the title at Imola enabled me to line-up at Vallelunga a little more relaxed. I tried to drive as safe as possible. Qualifying went pretty well but unfortunately in race 1 we missed the tyre strategy and the safety-car did not help. In race 3, I managed to climb up to the second place, then lost out a bit due to contact, but I was eventually reinstated due to the red flag which gave me a podium to complete the season.”
#85 - Gabriel Bortoleto
“The weekend, in general, went OK, although not perfectly. We had great pace in qualifying, especially qualifying 2 when we scored pole position for race 2 and 3. In Race 1 I was fast, and that allowed me to move from P13 at the start to P4 at the end in a good recovery. The final race was not perfect again, but overall we did a good job finishing P4 to end the year.”