Arvid Lindblad wins F4 South East Asia Invitational at Macau Grand Prix

Nov 12,2023
  • Red Bull Junior dominates weekend with double victories on 6.12km Guia street circuit
  • Local hero Charles Leong takes podium with SJM Theordore PREMA Racing
  • UAE talent Rashid Al Dhaheri impresses with third-place finish in Final race

Macau, China (November 12, 2023) – Arvid Lindblad took victory in the invitational round of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship (F4 SEA) on the streets of Macau after a dramatic and highly exciting event.

The 16-year-old British racer, who is affiliated to the Red Bull Formula 1 team, headed home compatriot Freddie Slater and Charles Leong in a 1-2-3 finish for SJM Theodore Prema Racing in a wet Qualifying Race. Lindblad then defeated Macanese local hero Leong and another Prema Racing driver, Emirati Rashid Al Dhaheri, in the dry Final Race.

F4 SEA’s visit to the famously unforgiving Guia Circuit produced all the drama you would expect. Lindblad himself missed most of free practice after crashing at Lisboa, but bounced back spectacularly to earn pole position on Saturday and overall victory on Sunday. R-ace GP’s Hadrien David fought for much of the weekend with Lindblad and Slater until a crash at Dona Maria in the Qualifying Race. And Slater was putting Lindblad under huge pressure in the Final Race before his car slowed dramatically with a technical glitch.

Podium finishers Leong and Al Dhaheri both did a fine job of keeping out of trouble all weekend. And Leong, twice a winner of the Macau Grand Prix in machinery from the Chinese F4 Championship, finished second despite this being his first ever taste of the Tatuus-Abarth car used in F4 SEA.

Following its triumphant Macau Grand Prix debut, F4 SEA now travels to Malaysia for the two, back-to-back final rounds at the Sepang International Circuit from November 24.

Driver quotes:
Arvid Lindblad: Winner
“It’s been a really good week. From the beginning, the speed’s been strong. I’ve felt really comfortable from free practice. Qualifying was really good, strong all throughout. Then in the different conditions in the wet [for the qualifying race], but still felt comfortable. Now in the main race – I knew it was going to be difficult, the start and also the restarts. I’m super delighted. It’s such a historical track, an amazing place, amazing event, it’s the first-ever street circuit for me – over the moon with the result. I’ve just loved this weekend and to drive on the track has been so enjoyable.”

Charles Leong: 2nd place
“It was good learning and also to see where I can improve and adapt more. This is a learning process and I was mostly adapting to the car. I can see that I still have the ability to contend if I am more frequently in motorsport. I’m very happy to have international drivers here [in Macao] and was having a lot of fun.”

Rashid Al Dhaheri: 3rd place
“It was a very interesting – you couldn’t make a mistake, you had to always be on the pace and not help the other driver behind be close at the exit of the final corner because the slipstream down the straight is quite strong. I think overall it was quite a good race. We were able to do a good job in building the weekend. We were able to improve at every step.

Macau Formula 4 Race – Qualifying Race
A thrilling qualifying battle went the way of Arvid Lindblad over Freddie Slater and Hadrien David, and the pole position earned by Lindblad made his life considerably easier in the Qualifying Race.

This was because rain made the track very wet for the 8am start. Conditions were too treacherous for a conventional grid start, so the safety car led the field around while competitors acclimatized to the Guia Circuit’s puddles. Even this proved too much for the unfortunate Liu Kai Shun; the Hong Kong driver crashed on the pit straight and came to rest at Reservoir Bend.

The green flags flew for the start of the fourth lap, and Lindblad raced away in front of Slater and David. But Kai Daryanani had hit the wall at R Bend before getting to the startline, and another quick intervention of the safety car was necessary.

Lindblad again led from Slater and David at the restart on the sixth lap. But David then hit the barriers at the exit of Dona Maria. This promoted Charles Leong to third, and also led to another emergence for the safety car. By now the race was timing out, and Lindblad took the chequered flag under caution conditions at the end of seven laps of the intended eight. Slater finished second ahead of Leong, Rashid Al Dhaheri and the AGI Sport car of Australian Jack Beeton.

Chinese Taipei racer Ethan Ho (Team KRC) claimed sixth place ahead of Frenchman Raphaël Narac, who had sustained damage to his R-ace GP car’s rear, and was saved from having to pit due to a black-and-orange mechanical warning flag as it was only presented on the last lap. Narac also moved up a position when Norwegian Martinius Stenshorne (Pinnacle Motorsport) stopped on San Francisco Hill under safety car conditions with a mechanical problem. This meant that Macau driver Tiago Rodrigues (Asia Racing Team), Philippines racer Bianca Bustamante (BlackArts Racing) and Chinese Taipei’s Enzo Yeh (Asia Racing Team) completed the top 10.

Macau Formula 4 – Final Race
Arvid Lindblad led from start to finish in the feature race, but it was far from an easy race for him on his way to victory. At the start, he had to fend off a concerted challenge from team-mate Freddie Slater into Lisboa, and just clung onto the lead. Back in the pack, Miki Koyama went into the barriers at Lisboa, and Bianca Bustamante could not avoid crashing into the back of her. Xiao Kun Peng, Marcus Cheong and Hadrien David, meanwhile, were stuck with nowhere to go until Bustamante’s car was removed.

The safety car was called out, and at the restart Slater again put Lindblad under enormous pressure until he suddenly slowed at Solitude with a suspected electrical problem. Eventually it cleared, but Slater was now almost at the back of the field. Charles Leong was elevated to second, with Rashid Al Dhaheri and Jack Beeton making it a trio battling out the runner-up spot. Then Marco Lau crashed at Paiol, causing another safety car.

At the restart, Lindblad pulled away again and was over four seconds clear after three laps of green-flag racing. Leong resolutely fended off Al Dhaheri and Beeton for second in the battle behind, helped by yellow flags at Lisboa to clear up a two-car incident precluding overtaking at this favoured spot. Then Xiao hit the barriers at Moorish, and the race finished under the safety car.

Lindblad therefore won, with Leong and Al Dhaheri completing a Prema 1-2-3 and Beeton, winner of two races in the opening F4 SEA round at Zhuzhou, in fourth. Further back, Ethan Ho put in an excellent defensive drive to take fifth. Raphaël Narac was initially his closest challenger, but he retired to the pits. Martinius Stenshorne had stormed from 19th on the grid to seventh, but he crashed at Fishermen’s Bend and also ended his race in the pits. F4 SEA Championship leader Tiago Rodrigues therefore finished sixth, with Hadrien David climbing from 20th at the start to seventh, despite his delay in the first-lap incident, and Enzo Yeh in eighth. Slater recovered to ninth, with Indian Kai Daryanani making his way up to 10th in his Pinnacle Motorsport car.