French F4 2022
Round 7

Honda juniors head to Paul Ricard to conclude their first season racing in Europe Circuit Paul Ricard

fr Paul Ricard

Honda’s Red Bull junior Souta Arao will be contending for the French Formula 4 in the last round of 2022

Honda juniors head to Paul Ricard to conclude their first season racing in Europe Circuit Paul Ricard

The French Formula 4 championship reaches its conclusion this weekend, with the seventh round of the 2022 season taking place at French Grand Prix venue Circuit Paul Ricard.

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, will be on the grid and looking to end their first racing campaign in Europe on a high.

Arao, 16, is in contention to become the second Honda junior driver to win the French F4 title, following Ayumu Iwasa in 2020. After 18 of 21 races, Arao has scored 183 points, won one race on the streets of Pau and claimed a pole position in his rookie year in single-seater racing. 

To become champion, he needs to win all three races this weekend, claim three additional points for pole positions and fastest laps and have the two drivers ahead of him in the championship standings have points-free or low-scoring races.

His HFDP stablemate Nomura, also 16, has won two races this year already and is currently sixth in the points table. He will be looking to end the season in the top five, and along with Arao has been preparing for his final F4 event of the year with testing at Paul Ricard and circuit learning on simulators too.

Free practice and qualifying will be on Friday, with the first of the potentially title-deciding races on the 5.842-kilometre track taking place on Friday at 11:50 and 16:15 local time (CEST). The final race of the season begins at 10:10 on Sunday.

Souta Arao
Souta Arao 33
I think I am well prepared for this weekend. We have tested at Paul Ricard and I have done time in the simulator. During the test I was in relatively good shape. However, the last race was also a good test but not the race, so we won't know until the day of the event.
I was able to drive the simulator the way I wanted to, so I hope it will lead to a good result. The difficult corners are turns 12 and 13. It is easy for the car to lose balance, and if you drive too hard, you will lose time, so you need to control it well. This is the last event of the season, the final races of the year. Looking at the reality, there is almost no chance of winning the series championship. But we will not give up and will race tenaciously to try and win the title.”

Yuto Nomura
Yuto Nomura 15
These will be the last races of the season, so I will do my best to get the best results this year. I am very much looking forward to racing on a course where F1 was held. There are a lot of overtaking points, so I think it will be a good race.
At Paul Ricard we had a test in July. I had a good feeling at that time, so I'll do my best to compete for the top in the race. I also practised in the simulator and I will do my best to show the results of that. Sector three is the most difficult section. Since there are long corners that come back around, careful machine control is required.

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