WhatFormula 4 South East Asia 2020-2021 Announcement
WhereSouth East Asia, Pacific & Africa
WhenCommencing November 2020

Ten Meritus.GP graduates have tested or raced in F1

Taking the next logical step in a young racer’s international career can be a daunting prospect. That’s why the FIA created a ladder to collect points towards your F1 Super License on each step via Formula 4, F3 and F2, to Formula 1.

A most attractive international single-seater transition series, FIA Formula 4 championships prepare drivers across the globe for professional careers in the sport, be that in F1, LMP1, GT4, touring car racing or beyond. 

Each Formula 4 series around the world awards their champions with twelve Super Licence points of the 40 required to race in F1, including in Southeast Asia, where Meritus.GP runs an FIA F4 series as a single organiser, at less than half the cost to competitors of equivalent F4 championships.

More than 40 years in the business, Meritus.GP has won 36 FIA Asian championship titles over the years and the team’s successful graduates have gone on to win at Le Mans, the Indy 500, GT World Series and many other championships. 

FIA Formula 4 Southeast Asia by Meritus.GP is now planning a post-lockdown 2020-2021 super-season, racing on the best Asian racetracks including the Sepang and Buriram F1 super circuits, providing an ideal opportunity for young racers to take that vital next step up the motorsport ladder.

“We're monitoring the situation closely and once borders reopen and our international drivers and engineers can fly in, it seems likely that we will start racing by November,” Meritus.GP F4 SEA series boss Peter Thompson explains. “That makes for a most attractive opportunity for young drivers from around the world to prove themselves in international competition.“ 

“We will kick off with two events supporting the SRO GT Series in Sepang, move on to Buriram in Thailand where we race alongside Asian Le Mans, return to Malaysia for two more Asian Le Mans events, before potentially heading abroad to new international events.” 

Thompson dreams of expanding the Formula 4 format to South Africa and other countries which do not currently have a National F4 series in what will prove a huge opportunity for drivers in those countries: “We must first get permission from both the FIA Single-Seater Commission and the local ASNs before we can race outside the current borders of our FIA F4SEA License, and we will be working on that throughout the remainder of lockdown.

“Obviously, with no airports open in Asia, any plans remain a guessing game, but our government seems to have the pandemic under control, and they remain very careful,” Thompson concluded. 

Whatever happens, Meritus.GP plans a full 2020-2021 Formula 4 Southeast Asia Championship racing the FIA-homologated composite chassis F4 racecars on an arrive-and-drive basis, including all back-up, engineering services and track costs at 100 000 Euro – or ZAR 2-million – for the whole 10-event 40-race Meritus.GP F4 SEA season. 

The team also offers a single-event package for 10 000 Euro (ZAR200K) for drivers unable to contest the entire championship, where each event includes four races, free practice and qualifying, but without Super Licence points. 

The only additional costs would be to repair any damage incurred on track, for which Meritus.GP has a damage guarantee scheme in place to minimise risk, and the price also excludes drivers’ own personal travel, hotel and stay expenses. There are no hidden fees, no additional performance-enhancing extras and all drivers are treated equally. An open data rule also allows drivers to compare their performance to that of their fellow competitors. 

For a driver looking to establish an international career, Formula 4 South East Asia offers a significantly less expensive route to Formula 3, than a season in European Formula 4 championships, where costs can easily exceed ZAR5-million for a 30-race season. The 40-race F4 SEA championship also competes very well on a race-by-race cost versus South African championships the likes of Investchem Formula 1600 or VW Polo Cup, which offer 16-race seasons, but F4 SEA has the bonus of paying F1 Super Licence points.  

Several South African drivers have successfully dipped a toe into Southeast Asian racing waters over the years, including Wesley Orr in Formula BMW, Mandla Mdakane Formula Masters China and Shau Mafuna and Shayur Harpal in AsiaCup, while 2013 AsiaCup champion Matthew Swanepoel went on to race in Formula Masters China. Durbanite Shrien Naidoo and Johannesburg lass Ivana Centinch also both successfully raced single F4 events at the 15 corner Sepang F1 circuit, a favourite of many a F1 driver.

Learn more about Formula 4 SEA at https://Meritus.GP/ or contact Peter Thompson direct via email at

About Meritus.GP and Formula 4 SEA
The first rung on the FIA's ladder to Formula 1, Formula 4 is a vital step in honing young race drivers to compete at the highest level of motorsport. Multi-championship-winning international race team Meritus.GP is the exclusive engineering race services provider to the FIA F4 South East Asia Championship. 

Raced on a level playing field to the F4 SEA ‘One’ concept, where one team prepares one make of car at one cost in pursuit of one dream: all drivers share their on-track data in an ideal learning scenario and 12 Super Licence points are on offer to the champion. 

In other words, all FIA-homologated wings-and-slicks Formula 4 SEA race cars are identical and prepared in-house to deliver equal performance by the Meritus.GP team of European race engineers, backed up by dedicated lead mechanics and technicians. Any advantage on the track is down to driving skill and the ability to work with the team to tune the car’s set up. 

Featuring FIA crash safety-homologated full-carbon monocoque chassis with front and rear impact crashboxes and anti-intrusion side panels, F4 SEA racecars are powered by identical 2-litre 4-cylinder engines driving 6-speed sequential gearboxes. Engines are dyno-tested to be within FIA power parameters and the cars have Brembo brakes, 13-inch racing wheels, control compound slick tyres and front and rear wings.

Each car has speed, wheel, brake, steering and accelerometer GPS data gathering, and all data is open to every driver to study and learn from the fastest, a benefit that all drivers confirm to be a massive F4 SEA plus point as they are guided to scrutinise all race data to flatten that learning curve. 

Performance engineers and driver coaches maximise driver potential and Meritus.GP’s Peter Thompson works closely with International driver managers the like the former Renault F1 Team Principle Eric Boullier to identify candidates for F1 junior driver development programmes. The team’s 2018 and 2019 champions for instance since signed with Sauber and Renault’s F1 Junior Racing Academies.

Meritus.GP runs a full social media campaign with all races live streamed to Facebook, plus all 40 of the 30-minute races are broadcast by Fox Sports networks to over 7-million households, with repeats.

FIA Formula 4 SEA by Meritus.GP is open to drivers of 15 years or older who hold the minimum of a National C racing license, while International C and B licences are welcome, subject to organiser approval. 

The champion earns 12 points toward the 40 required for a driver to qualify for a Formula 1 Super Licence, down to one point for the seventh-placed driver. The champion is officially crowned at the annual black-tie event, the Meritus Awards Gala which is broadcast live by satellite from Studio 1 in Malaysia. 

Based upon a successful 1980s European winning heritage, Meritus.GP expanded to Asia in the mid-‘90s where it has since won 36 FIA Asian championships and was GP2 Asia vice champion in 2010.  Meritus.GP helped propel Narain Kathikeyan to his F1 career while team other F1 drivers Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi both went on to win the Indianapolis 500 (Indy500) and Earl Bamber has won the Le Mans 24 Hour.

Meritus.GP was awarded the Formula 4 licence for South East Asia by the FIA in 2016 and the team remains fully focussed on developing young motorsport talent into tomorrow’s racing heroes.


Issued on behalf of Formula 4 South East Asia

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