TRS Arden Junior Team British F4 driver Olli Caldwell took a brace of Ford F4 Challenge Cup victories on Saturday 30 September on the final weekend of the 2017 F4 British Championship – Certified by FIA powered by Ford.
Brands Hatch GP hosted the final round of the 2017 F4 British Championship - Certified by FIA, powered by Ford. Olli Caldwell came into the final round with the intention of taking home the Ford F4 Challenge Cup victory in all three races to end his maiden F4 season on a real high.
Qualifying took place in drying conditions early Saturday morning, albeit the track was tricky off the racing line due to wet conditions over night. Caldwell was unable to get a clear lap due to traffic in the session, as he posted the 12th quickest time before the session was red flagged - following Oliver York beaching his Fortec machine in the gravel. The session resumed with 5 minutes to go, however the cool conditions meant all drivers struggled to get enough heat into their tyres to improve their times.
Those that did were penalised for ignoring yellow flags - meaning Caldwell would start 12th for the first race of the weekend and as the second highest Challenge Cup driver. He would start race three from 10th on the grid, where the second-fastest times posted by each driver are taken into account.
The start of the first race saw drama at turn one, as the championship leader Jamie Caroline made contact with Alex Quinn, putting them both off the track at Paddock Hill bend. Caldwell managed to seize the opportunity and move himself up and into 11th position - before the safety car was deployed to move Quinn's stranded TRS Arden car from the gravel trap.
On the restart, Caldwell was challenging his rivals ahead, deposing Johnathon Hoggard and Karl Massaad in quick succession to move himself into 9th position on lap five. A second stoppage bunched the field up, allowing Caroline to recover ground and overtake Caldwell into turn one. Caldwell stuck with the championship leader as the race wore - taking 9th at the flag.
The rest also saw Caldwell take the Challenge Cup victory in the opening race of the weekend, giving him maximum points in those standings.
Race two, starting from 9th on the grid -Caldwell made a good getaway and remained in the points paying positions as the cars negotiated the opening laps of the race. A red flag was deployed on lap two of the race, when a three car crash required extensive track clearing - meaning a full restart was required.
The time around, Caldwell managed to make a brilliant opening lap and jumped himself up into 7th position ahead of multiple race winner Linus Lundqvist. Caldwell managed to keep him at bay the entire race, pulling out a comfortable gap through the technical section off the track so he was unthreatened down the long back straight.
Caldwell crossed the line in 7th position, taking another Challenge Cup victory in one of his most complete races of the season!
Olli Caldwell “Being able to hold Lundqvist back, a driver who has fought at the front all year is a great result for me. It felt like we were slightly quicker too so that makes me really happy.
My restart after the red flag was really good and I got Karl Massaad off the line which is important because it put another driver between myself and the rest of the Challenge Cup runners.
The third and final race of the weekend, as well as the British F4 season as a whole took place on Sunday afternoon. Caldwell was pushed back to 11th position as the cars sorted themselves out after the opening exchanges before the safety car was deployed following a start line accident involving Lucca Allen.
The race was resumed on lap two. Caldwell held 11th position until lap seven, when Ayrton Simmons spun himself out of contention - promoting Caldwell into the top ten and a points paying position. This soon became 9th after Logan Sargeant did a carbon copy of Simmon's incident just two laps later.
Caldwell held this position to the chequered flag, earning another points paying position - as well as 2nd on the Challenge Cup podium, almost claiming a clean sweep of class wins at the final round of the season.
Caldwell just missed out on 3rd place in the Ford
F4 Challenge Cup standings, just two and a half points off his rivals, despite
doing four less races (1 race meeting less) than Hampus Ericsson and Harry Webb who finished 1st and 2nd in the championship.
Despite his shorter season than his rivals, Caldwell chalked up an impressive 5 victories and 6 further podiums in his Challenge Cup campaign in his maiden campaign for F4 racing.
TRS Arden finished the season as Vice-Champions in the Team’s Championship as well as a result of the hard work by all their drivers.
Attention for Caldwell now heads to the Italian F4 Championship, where he will return to action for Mucke Motorsport at Mugello on the 7-8 October.