French F4 2022
Round 7

Honda junior Souta Arao ends French F4 season with win on F1 circuit Circuit Paul Ricard

fr Paul Ricard

To end their first year racing in Europe, Honda juniors Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura visited Paul Ricard

Honda junior Souta Arao ends French F4 season with win on F1 circuit Circuit Paul Ricard

It was a thrilling end to the French Formula 4 championship last weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, and two of Honda’s young drivers starred in the races.

Honda Racing School (HRS) scholars Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura, representing Honda's young driver development programme Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) and the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, went into the event with strong expectations after gaining confidence in simulator and test running of the circuit.

Unfortunately Friday’s free practice session did not mark a strong start to the weekend for either driver, but qualifying later that day was a big improvement and Arao qualified an impressive second for races one and three. Nomura was 10th fastest, putting him on pole position for the reversed-grid race two.

There was a strong start to Saturday too as Arao converted his front row start into race one victory. He took the lead on the opening lap and then resisted a title rival all race long to earn his second win of the season. Nomura also moved up a spot from his starting position, finishing ninth.

Race two was a thriller, with lots of wheel-to-wheel battles for the two Honda juniors to get involved in. Even until the final corner it was unclear what the race order might finish as, and Nomura and Arao met the chequered flag in seventh and ninth place respectively.

With the championship crown now out of mathematical reach, Arao looked to claim another win in race three. He challenged for the lead in the race’s first half but his pace ultimately delivered second place, his ninth podium of the season, and put him third in the points standings. Nomura finished the race in 12th, which meant he came seventh overall in his first European racing campaign.

Souta Arao
Souta Arao 33
Paul Ricard started with the car stopping after 12 minutes of official practice. I have no regrets because I did my best in qualifying and the races. P2 in Qualifying, P1 in race one and P2 in race two. I scored good points but not enough to take second in the championship.

Throughout the entire season, I had hoped to gain experience in the first half of the season and achieve good results from the mid-season based on the things I learnt. But I had my worst results in Ledenon and Valencia.
I think we had good races this weekend so that we can set a good trend for next season. The best moment of 2022 I think was Race 2 in Pau. It was special to win on a city circuit. There are many disappointing moments in 2022. I can't pick one, but I would have to say the races in Ledenon and Valencia.

Yuto Nomura
Yuto Nomura 15
At Paul Ricard I was feeling good in the test, so I was confident. However, we were not able to leave a good result this weekend because there was no speed from qualifying and there was machine trouble. I still did my best, so I have no regrets.
Considering the 2022 season overall, I was able to win in the first half of the year. But in the second half, I wasn’t able to get the results I wanted. I'm lacking in some areas, so I'd like to make use of the experience I've gained in the past year from next year onwards.
My best moment of the year was my first win in F4. I was very happy when I won the second race in my first formula racing year. The worst was the second round of the year. I was in good shape all weekend, so it was very disappointing that I didn't score any points in any of the three races.

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