Louis Sharp emulates Lando Norris to win F4 title

Monday 09 October 2023

By any standards, the ultra-competitive 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship Certified by FIA has been one of the closest and most exciting on record – the perfect proving ground for the stars of tomorrow.

The fiercely-fought 30-round series produced no fewer than 12 different race winners, 21 different podium finishers and attracted a total of 27 teenage racing protégés representing nine different global nationalities.

Moreover, just a single point separated Louis Sharp, the latest young talent from New Zealand, and Britain’s Will Macintyre as the teams arrived at Brands Hatch for a trio of season-ending showdowns on the legendary Grand Prix track.

The Kiwi was fastest out of the blocks, winning round 28 from pole position. But the plucky Macintyre was also on the podium and then outscored Sharp in the reverse grid follow-up to set-up a nail-biting finale in front of a packed and enthralled BTCC crowd.

Sharp again lined-up at the front with his title rival right behind in third place on the grid. It was front-row starter Deagen Fairclough, though, who grabbed the lead as the lights went out with the two title rivals slotting in behind.

Macintyre knew he had to finish ahead of his adversary to have any chance of lifting the title but, displaying maturity well above his age, the calm New Zealander maintained his cool to finish second and win the championship.

“I’m over the moon,” exclaimed an understandably relieved Sharp. “That final race, with Will right behind me, was the most stressful 20 minutes of my life and it was so, so nice to see the chequered flag! This has been a tough season with lots of highs and lows along the way, and we worked hard to make sure that we got the job done when it mattered.”

With enthusiastic support from Rodin Cars, the New Zealand-based hypercar company which also supports Formula 1 new-boy Liam Lawson, Louis knows the significance of winning a prestigious title won by Lando Norris in 2015. Recent Qatar Grand Prix Sprint Race winner Oscar Piastri was runner-up in 2017.

“Winning this championship is going to benefit me going forwards in my career and, seeing what has happened to others in the past following their success in British F4, I hope that this will help open some doors.”

By winning the ‘FIA Certified’ title, Sharp has earned 12 Super Licence points to aid his progression through the single-seater ranks, plus a trio of prizes with F1 teams provided by series organiser Motorsport UK to help the newly-crowned champion to continue their development and prepare them for future steps in their racing career.

Sharp’s spoils include a rare opportunity to experience a Formula One simulator experience at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s state-of-the-art campus in Brackley; to spend a 2024 Grand Prix weekend embedded with McLaren Racing and a year-long coaching programme and expert guidance from BWT Alpine F1 Team at the Alpine Racing Human Performance Centre.

As well as securing the Drivers’ Championship, Louis played a critical role in his Rodin Carlin team seeing off the challenge of Hitech Pulse-Eight to retain the prized Team’s Cup. Rookie Cup honours went to young Swedish speedster Gustav Jonsson.

With the dust now settled at Brand Hatch, the next crop of ambitious young drivers are already gearing up for next year’s ROKiT F4 British Championship which blasts off at Donington Park in late April 2024 after a 202 day hiatus.