SINGAPORE, 18 OCTOBER 2023 – Singaporean teen Christian Ho clinched his second win of the 2023 Spanish Formula 4 championship in Valencia on Sunday (Oct 15), rising to second in the drivers’ championship with just one round of racing to go.
At the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, the Campos Racing driver made a great start off the line after championship leader and pole sitter Théophile Naël’s car appeared to stall at the start, resulting in him dropping to 12th.
After taking the lead, Ho made no mistake from then, producing a brilliant drive to claim the chequered flag in 25min 54.987sec and an extra point for the fastest lap. His Campos Racing teammate Matteo de Palo and Carlin’s Alex Ninovic Carlin rounded off the podium.
Ho’s latest victory comes after a series of podium finishes in his second Spanish F4 season and an earlier breakthrough when he clinched his first win in May. In the earlier two races in Valencia, Ho finished third and sixth.
Ho was delighted with the win, especially as it came in Valencia, where Campos Racing hosts its headquarters.
The 16-year-old said: “It feels good to be back in second in the championship after some very solid races, with seven consecutive top three finishes (before penalties) in the last seven races. My chances of clinching the championship in the final round are very slim but anything can happen in racing, so I believe there is still a chance. Of course, I would like to win the championship, but nevertheless, an overall top three in one of the top F4 competitions in the world would still be a good result.”
Naël, who drives for Saintéloc Racing, would eventually climb to ninth before a two-second penalty for exceeding track limits put him in 19th place. The Frenchman could have secured the championship had he maintained at least a 76-point lead in the standings, but he is still in prime position to clinch his first Spanish F4 title. He remains top with 281 points, 65 points ahead of Ho (216), who is closely followed by teammate Enzo Deligny (213) and MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella (211).
In the Spanish F4, Races 1 and 3 of each weekend last 30 minutes + 1 lap, while Race 2 is set for 25 minutes + 1 lap. The winner of Race 1 and 3 earns 25 points with the top 10 finishing in the points, while the winner of the 25-minute race gains 18 points and only the top nine earn points.
The title will now be decided in the season finale at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Nov 11 and 12 with Ho poised to improve on his 13th position last year.
This season is another glittering cap in what has been a stellar career for Ho since he moved to Europe to pursue his dreams of becoming a Formula One driver. In 2018, he moved to Milan to train and 18 months later, he became the first Asian to win a race in the Deutsche Kart Meisterschaft (DKM) German Karting Championship series when he was 12. Following a successful karting journey, during which he came in second in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy and the German Junior championship in OK-Junior karts in 2019, Ho made the step up to F4 racing last year and has been consistently making waves in the industry.
Ho’s manager Morgan Caron, who managed Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc for five years, praised Ho for showing tremendous potential since making the step up to single-seater racing and confirmed Ho’s participation in the Eurocup-3 series next season with Campos Racing. The multi-event Eurocup-3 held its inaugural season this year as an alternative to the Formula Regional European Championship, which serves as a stepping stone for drivers between F4 and Formula Three.
Caron, who also previously held positions at the French Federation of Automobile Sport (FFSA) and F1 governing body International Automobile Federation (FIA), said: “Christian is doing a strong season in the Spanish F4 Championship this year. He’s currently P2 in the championship and mathematically, he can still win the championship. Whatever the result, he has confirmed his huge potential, and he will naturally move to a higher step next season. Eurocup-3 will be an important step to move up to FIA F3 racing from 2025. Most of the current F1 drivers such as 2023 world champion Max Verstappen, Leclerc and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton have raced in F3 and the target is to see Christian there at the end of next year.”
It has not been the easiest journey for Ho this year as he had to balance racing and studying for his GCSE O Levels, which he completed in June 2023. He will continue with preparation for his GCSE A Levels at a boarding school near London in the United Kingdom.
On the season finale in Barcelona, Ho added: “My approach to the final round will be the same approach I take to every other round which is to try and win every race and be the quickest. I feel like we have been building up momentum after every single race since the summer break so I will be preparing the same way I have for every single round. I have learnt a lot of things from the season so far but I think the main thing I have learnt from this season is to never give up and to never let other people revel in your downfall.”
For more information on the F4 Spanish Championship, visit https://f4spain.org/en/f4-espanola.