Two Malaysian junior racers, Muizz Musyaffa and Nazim Azman, brought cheers to home fans when they took home the 3rd Rookie Champion and the Best Drive awards respectively at the MERITUS Awards Gala. The awards night was to celebrate the best drivers in the 2017 FIA Formula 4 Southeast Asia Championship fueled by Petron. The F4 SEA season ended in April 2018.
The FIA-sanctioned F4 SEA regional championship was held over an eight-month period with races taking place at circuits in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
For his promising performance in the 2017 season, Muizz was awarded the SIC Scholarship to compete in the 2018 F4 SEA season which will start in July. The talented Muizz, 16, had a stunning season that included two strong podium finishes in Sepang in the last round. Fired up by his success, the young racer is now looking forward to the new season and aiming to turn in even better results.
“I’m quite surprised with what I achieved last season, it was much better than I had expected. Finishing third in the rookie category and winning the SIC-Scholarship is a big boost to me as it would help me with my plans to continue racing in F4,” said Muizz.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Nazim, who also competes in Europe, claimed the Best Drive Award honours following his blistering victory in the F4 SEA opening round stage as a F1 GP Support Race 2017 in October.
The Overall Champion was presented to Chinese rising star, Daniel Cao. The 16-year-old Daniel, who notched 7 victories throughout the season, brushed aside his closest contenders Kane Shepherd of Thailand and Belgian young ace Ugo de Wilde who came in as 2nd and 3rd overall. The Overall Champion title comes with 12 valuable FIA Super Licence Points.
“I consider myself lucky to win the overall title tonight as there are a lot of good drivers out there last season. I would like to thank Peter Thompson for the great effort in putting up the challenge. I’m setting my eyes on bigger things this coming season including Asia Renault race and Formula 3,” said Daniel. Daniel also picked up the Fastest Lap Award, recorded at the Sepang and Clark circuits, during the championship.
The other major award of the night was Best Rookie, which went to Kane Shepherd who beat Japan’s Hibiki Taira and Muizz for the honour.
Earlier in his speech, F4 SEA Promoter and CEO of Asian Autosport Action (AAA), Peter Thompson expressed optimism over the future of F4 SEA championship. “F4 not only helps grow racing talent but provides an abundance of career paths. We train and employ technicians, mechanics, engineers, cameramen, journalists and even TV producers!”
“The MERITUS Awards Gala is designed to reward, motivate and inspire motorsport careers. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the motorsport industry here in Asia, we must foster careers, starting from F4, the federation’s grassroots development formula,” he added.
F4 SEA also revealed today that four drivers would be given the opportunity to be evaluated by the world’s leading F1 team, McLaren. The drivers will have a money-can’t-buy experience in an F1 atmosphere at the team headquarters in Woking, Surrey in England. UK.
Petron Malaysia Head of Retail Business, Puan Faridah Ali said: “The sponsorship helped us in promoting Asian auto sports in the region and boost the careers of young drivers by giving them a platform to further hone their skills. We are also proud to play a part in the careers of these homegrown talents that are quickly moving on to the top of the F4 SEA Championships. We hope that through our participation in the competition we are able to discover more local and regional talents and help create the next generation of professional racing drivers from Southeast Asia. It gives us pride seeing them graduate from Formula 4 to other Formula races.”
The aim of the awards programme is to profile and reward the region’s young racing talents for their achievement in the FIA-sanctioned event. The drivers are judged on their performances over five rounds of competitive racing in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The F4SEA Championship’s new season, to be staged at circuits in Sepang, Madras and Buriram, will begin in July 2018 and end in December.
1st Overall Champion: Daniel Cao (CHN)
2nd Overall Champion: Kane Shepherd (THA)
3rd Overall Champion: Ugo de Wilde (BEL)
1st Rookie Champion: Kane Shepherd (THA)
2nd Rookie Champion: Hibiki Taira (JPN)
3rd Rookie Champion: Muizz Musyafa (MAS)
Sepang, Malaysia: Daniel Cao (CHN)
Buriram, Thailand: Ugo de Wilde (BEL)
Clark, Philippines: Daniel Cao (CHN)
Best Drive: Nazim Azman (MYS)
Best Recovery: Luke Thompson (IRL)
Up & Coming Talent: Alessandro Ghiretti (FRA)
Best Engineer: Azizul Azfar (MYS)
Best Mechanic: Shah Effendy (MYS)