Crawley teenager dreaming of F1 career after strong debut season as F4 driver

  • F4 driver Deagen Fairclough from Crawley speaks to ITV Meridian reporter Joe Coshan

A motor racing circuit in Kent will host the final round of the Formula 4 Championship this weekend.

The event at Brands Hatch in West Kingsdown is the first step for teenage drivers to make it to Formula 1.

There will be three races and two drivers battling it out - separated by just one point.

For 17-year-old Deagen Fairclough from Crawley, competing in Formula 4 is a dream come true.

He has been racing since he was five years old and previously raced in a Fiesta championship.

He won the £500,000 ROKiT Racing Star programme, which has given him a season as a driver in British F4.

Fairclough told ITV Meridian: "Honestly, it's like winning the lottery for me, my mum and my dad.

"Everyone struggles to get into motorsport because you need that backing from the sponsors and it's very cut-throat if you're not pulling in the results.

"Being a working-class family, we're going to need that backing and help from the teams and sponsors out there."

Former F4 drivers Lando Norris (left) and Oscar Piastri (right) celebrate podium success at F1 Grand Prix in Japan. Credit: PA

Formula 4 is considered the first step for young drivers on the official route to Formula 1 - Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant competed in F4 in 2015 and 2017.

Fairclough has made the most of his opportunity.

He is currently in fourth place with 175 points, just 13 points behind third, ahead of the season finale at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Fairclough added: "Everyone wants to get to that top step of the Championship title in F1, which is a hard challenge and goal.

"It's definitely a challenge and I've always worked towards it since I was 5 years old and I'm always here to do my best."

  • ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan reports from Brands Hatch

Louis Sharp, born in the UK but representing New Zealand, has 12 podiums this season, including five wins, one second place and six third place finishes and has 331 points.

Will Macintyre from Norfolk, also has 12 podiums this season, including two wins, eight second place and two third place finishes and has 330 points.

Neither of them have driving licences yet, but both 16-year-olds will race around the iconic Brands Hatch track in the 1.4litre F4 car, which has a top speed of 150mph.

Speaking to ITV Meridian, Sharp said: "It's really close. Will's been fast but he's also been very consistent.

"I guess all I've got to do is outqualify him and beat him in two of the final three races and that'll be enough I think."

Asked whether they'll still be friends after the race, Louis said: "It depends on the result."

Macintyre added: "I just need to make sure I finish in front of him and maybe let his tyres down a bit."

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