After 36 races and six events, the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – certified by FIA inaugural season drew to a close on Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with the MERITUS Awards Gala
|1)||05 - 07||August||Sepang International Circuit||Asian Le Mans|
|2)||14 - 16||October||Clark International Speedway||Philippines GT|
|3)||11 - 13||November||Sentul International Circuit||Indonesia GT|
|4)||08 - 10||December||Sepang International Circuit||Motul 12 Hours of Sepang|
|5)||06 - 08||January||Buriram International Circuit||Asian Le Mans|
|6)||21 - 22||January||Sepang International Circuit||Asian Le Mans|
After 36 races and six events, the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – certified by FIA inaugural season drew to a close on Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with the MERITUS Awards Gala, presented by Petron. The first in what is planned as an annual affair, the event saw the crowning of the F4 SEA Championship’s first ever title winner.
After closing out what proved to be a closely-fought season that saw the championship race going down to the wire, the Overall Champion Trophy was awarded to Indonesia’s Presley Martono (565 points, INA, Car #32) who pipped New Zealand’s Faine Kahia (563 points, NZL, Car #55) by just two points. Rounding off the top three was India’s Akash Gowda (457 points, IND, Car #33). The trio will each get a GP2 test drive, with Kahia also getting a works Lamborghini GT3 test, while the champion will get something special for next year.
The young Indonesian rookie Martono also claimed the Overall Rookie title after a stellar season that saw the teenager rack up a total of 717 points. In the runners’ up position was Malaysian youngster and formula-racing debutant Isyraf Danish M Ghazali (MAS, Car #19) who finished the season with 486 points. His results came on the back of a stellar result of six podium finishes from the six races contested at the weekend, including a maiden race victory. In third place in the F4/SEA rookie standings was Oman’s Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) who came away from the season with 434 points.
The inaugural MERITUS Awards Gala also saw awards handed out in the National Rising Star categories for the nations represented in the first F4/SEA season. These included awards to Singapore’s Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66), Oman’s Al-Wahaibi, Kiwi Kahia, Martono for Indonesia, Gowda for India and Isyraf Danish as Malaysia’s rising star.
In celebrating the future of motorsports, the event champions from each of the six events were also given a mention. These included Frost who became the first ever F4/SEA Star Driver at the opening event in August; Gowda following his impressive performance at Event 2 at the Clark International Speedway in the Philippines; Martono for dominating Event 3 on home soil at the Sentul International Circuit; Jordan Love (AUS, Car #79) at Event 4 in Sepang; Kahia after a superb run at the Buriram International Circuit for Event 5 and Isyraf Danish as the season finale Event 6 Star Driver.
In recognising the spirit of young motor racing talents, awards were also handed out to Malaysia’s Jazeman Jaafar for his outstanding achievement in motorsports by an ASEAN driver; and Rio Haryanto of Indonesia as the ASEAN Driver of the Year following his extraordinary achievements that included being Indonesia’s first ever Formula 1 driver.
In recognising the extraordinary, exceptional and continuous contribution to Malaysian and regional motorsports, the MERITUS Awards Gala also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Yang Mulia Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha, chairman of the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) and the only Malaysian to sit on the world senate at the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile).
The event also saw the introduction of the MERITUS AAA Futuro Spirit Award, which will be awarded from the forthcoming F4/SEA season, giving the next batch of young drivers to compete for the Overall Champion title and a significant prize purse of RM1million to assist their career progression.
Peter Thompson, Chairman, Asian Autosport Action Group: “It has been an amazing first season of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship. In the time that we took to build this from the ground up together with the AAM as the lead FIA-affiliate for the region, to close out the season with the MERITUS Awards Gala tonight has truly surpassed our wildest imaginations. After a truly intense 36-race, 6-event first season, I am very proud of what these young drivers have all achieved. They have grown and developed into an exceptional group of young talents, one that I hope others can also see and recognise. Congratulations to Presley Martono for taking the overall and Rookie titles, Faine Kahia and Akash Gowda as our overall top-3, also to Isyraf and Khalid Al-Wahaibi as the second and third placed overall rookies!”
Firhat Mokhzani, Managing Director, Asian Autosport Action Group: “The 36th and final race of the inaugural season was the most intense of the lot, especially with the pressure of the drivers’ championship and the drivers drove an extremely great race. Looking back, there were a lot of tough racing all round and the drivers have all grown and developed throughout the competition. It has been really satisfying to see their progress throughout the season and congratulations to Presley for becoming the first ever F4/SEA overall and rookie champion. Congratulations to all the drivers in the first F4/SEA season as they have all done exceptionally well.”
|5)||Danial Nielsen Frost||66||SGP||MERITUS.GP||317|
|13)||Chia Wing Hoong||68||MYS||MERITUS.GP||0|
|14)||Daniel Lu Hibbit||25||CHN||MERITUS.GP||0|
|7)||Chia Wing Hoong||68||MYS||MERITUS.GP||0|
|8)||Daniel Lu Hibbit||25||CHN||MERITUS.GP||0|