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Italian F4: Double top-20 for Tina Hausmann, sweeps Female Trophy at Mugello

Tina Hausmann claimed two top-20 finishes in the penultimate Italian F4 round, at Mugello, sweeping the Female Trophy with three class wins that now see the Swiss driver only 9 points behind Victoria Blokhina with one weekend to go.

Tina Hausmann, AKM Motorsport, Italian F4 Championship, 2023 Mugello
Photo credits: Massimo Bettiol Ph

Young Swiss racer Tina Hausmann swept the Female Trophy at Mugello for the penultimate round of the 2023 Italian Formula 4 championship and secured two top-20 finishes, fighting back from a difficult qualifying. The AKM Motorsport driver in fact gained 20 positions over the three races.

Hausmann was coming off her best weekend in F4, having almost scored points in the Euro 4 Championship round in Monza - a performance that gave the 16-year-old from Zurich a big confidence boost coming into the final rounds in Italian F4, arguably the most competitive junior single seater series in the world. Her rookie season in race cars have in fact been highly promising: albeit a few unfortunate rounds, Tina has often displayed great speed and fighting spirit in the races, where she made her charging drives a trademark.

Hausmann shares the grid with two fellow female racers - Ferrari Driver Academy Aurelia Nobels (Prema Racing), at her first season in the series, and returning driver Victoria Blokhina (PHM Racing). With three full-time entries - and a one-off appearance from F1 Academy race winner Bianca Bustamante at Spa Francorchamps - it has been a record number for female participation in the series, which made the battle for the Female Trophy more exciting.

Aurelia Nobels returned to the track only two weeks after a massive accident at Monza, where her Prema Tatuus ended upside down after being involved in an accident at the infamous first chicane in Euro 4. Nobels -had fractured her wrist earlier this year at Misano, but luckily x-rays showed no further fractures after her Monza crash.

Two weeks later she was therefore cleared to drive and was ready to take on the challenging Mugello circuit - a combination of fast corners and elevation changes located in the scenic setting of the Tuscan hills.

Victoria Blokhina had her fair share of bad luck this season, with a massive shunt at Spa that took her out of contention for the whole Belgian weekend. But, with four top-20 overall, four victories in the Female Trophy and good consistency, Blokhina entered the sixth round of the season as the leader in the female classification.

With a positive Friday, Hausmann showed good speed in the first practice, where she set the 17th fastest lap in the morning session, barely eight tenth of a second adrift Akshay Bohra, who topped the timesheets. Blokhina and Nobels were P32 and P33 respectively, as they built speed progressively through the weekend.

Aurelia improved significantly in the second session, when she set a 1:49.864 that placed her in 28th position.

But it would be the two qualifying sessions on Saturday morning to set the starting grids for the three races of the weekend: Kacper Sztuka edged Tuukka Taponen by merely 6 thousands of a second in Q1 - then repeating the outstanding result in Q2, where he preceded Ugo Ugochukwu by 0.038 of a second.

It was a challenging qualifying for the three female racers of the series; Hausmann clocked a 1:49.154 and was 29th fastest in Q1, just ahead of Nobels and Blokhina. The winner of the 2022 Girls On Track Rising Stars programme Aurelia Nobels managed to improve in Q2, with a 1:49.178 lap that put her 28th on the grid. Hausmann was still the fastest of the AKM Motorsport's trio and would line up in P29, with Blokhina following in P31.

While there was a big challenge ahead of them - all three drivers have traditionally shone in racing conditions and would aim to make up ground in the three Mugello races.

Aurelia Nobels, Prema Racing, Italian F4 Championship, 2023 Mugello
Photo credits: Massimo Bettiol Ph
Race 1

On Saturday afternoon, Sztuka retained the top spot at the start of race 1, just ahead of Gianmarco Pradel - who had a sterling start from the second row. An equally brilliant start for Hausmann saw the Swiss driver moving up to P24, ahead of Nobels in P26 and Blokhina in P31. The safety car was soon deployed when Matteo Quintarelli's car came to a halt after a contact at the start damaged his rear-left suspension.

The safety car pulled into pit lane on lap 2 and Sztuka waited until the line to avoid losing out on slipstream; Ugochukwu and Lindblad followed, having passed Pradel. Hausmann had a good restart and gained a further position, just like Nobels.

Positions settled and in a very clean race, Sztuka opened a 1.8 second gap to Ugochukwu, who had another second to teammate Lindblad.

Hausmann grabbed two more positions and, 21st, she comfortably kept Kim Hwarang behind. Aurelia Nobels was faster than both Lund and closed in on the Danish AKM Motorsport driver.

As often had been the case this season, Victoria Blokhina found herself at ease in the battles: she moved up to P27 and kept chipping away with consistent lap times. When Anurag hit trouble, Blokhina capitalized and claimed another spot.

Nobels found a way past Lund on lap 13 - before Nicola Lacorte spun and rejoined at turn 9, which gained a position to Hausmann, Nobels and Blokhina. Now in the top-20, Hausmann's charging drive was not over yet and she claimed P19 on the penultimate lap. Having gained 9 positions in race 1, Hausmann crossed the finish line in P19, in her fourth top-20 finish of the season.

Aurelia Nobels was P22, having made the most out of the opportunities in race 1. Blokhina also had a good recovery and finished P25, gaining six places from the start.

Kacper Sztuka took a dominant lights to flag victory and grabbed the second place in the championship, preceding Ugochukwu and championship leader Lindblad at the chequered flag.

Victoria Blokhina, PHM Racing, Italian F4 Championship, 2023 Mugello
Photo credits: Massimo Bettiol Ph

Polish up-and-coming talent Kacper Sztuka had another strong start off the line in Sunday's morning second race and immediately pulled away from Ugochuckwu and Lindblad; having won the Female Trophy in race 1 for the fifth time this year, Tina Hausmann lined up from P29 and aimed for a repeat in the two Sunday's races.

She led both Aurelia Nobels and Victoria Blokhina in the opening lap, before Nobels was sent into a spin by De la Torre. The FDA driver was unfortunately out on lap 1, and the safety car was deployed.

The race went back underway on lap 3 and Stzuka again waited for the last second to accelerate away: Ugochukwu was closer this time but couldn't get by the Polish driver. Big battles further down the order saw Hausmann and Blokhina trading places for P30; the Swiss driver would fight back on the following lap, then caught up with Davide Larini. An off-track in the gravel for Matteo Quintarelli at turn 6 brought out a double yellow flag but the race stayed green.

Hausmann was a couple of tenths per lap faster than PHM Racing's Larini - but the race was neutralized when championship leader Arvid Linblad and Brando Badoer collided while battling for third and both went off at speed into the tyre barriers at turn 1. Both drivers were luckily unhurt, but the accident had big championship ramifications for the Briton, who saw his advantage disappear.

Kacper Sztuka in fact won from pole position - as race 2 eventually ended behind the safety car. The Pole managed to significantly cut the gap to Lindblad and preceded Ugochukwu and Akshay Bohra. After a quieter race, Tina Hausmann still managed to recover a few positions and, by finishing P27, she claimed her second Female Trophy win of the weekend, one position ahead of Victoria Blokhina.

Tina Hausmann, AKM Motorsport, Italian F4 Championship, 2023 Mugello
Photo credits: Massimo Bettiol Ph

The final race of the weekend proved to be crucial in the championship fight - and represented a breakthrough moment also for the Female Trophy battle.

Aurelia Nobels had the chance to bounce back after the unlucky second race and lined up in P29, one place ahead of Tina Hausmann and four spots in front of Blokhina.

After a second formation lap due to the stopped car of Frederick Lund before the start, Kacper Sztuka got away well from pole and led the pack into turn 1, preceding the Prema cars of Ugochukwu and Wharton. Hausmann had a strong start and immediately moved up to P27, overtaking among the others Aurelia Nobels.

It was a disastrous end of the weekend for Nicola Lacorte, who broke his front wing and dropped down the order, before Alfio Spina beached his BVM Racing machine at turn 8 after contact, triggering the safety car. Hausmann, though, had capitalized on the hectic start and snatched P25 before the neutralization, showing once again great racecraft. Blokhina also avoided troubles and was up to P28.

The pace car pulled into the pit lane at the end of the third lap - after Bhirombhakdi hit Anurag under caution - and Sztuka waited again until the very last second to restart. His strategy worked well again and he survived the attack of Ugochukwu. Hausmann and Nobels picked up two positions as they battled Pedrini, Larini and the recovering Lacorte, who made the most out of the safety car to catch back the pack.

A mistake up the hill for Al Dhaheri dropped the Emirati from the top ten to the back of the field; Hausmann attacked and passed both Larini and Pedrini and continued to climb the order with yet another charge that saw the Swiss driver closing in on the top-20.

In an otherwise rather quiet race up front - after Sztuka had pulled away comfortably and was managing the race - Tina Hausmann caught compatriot Ethan Ischer and fought with the Jenzer driver for 20th, but as trying to overtake she lost a place to Kim Hwarang. Similarly, Nobels had battled with the Korean driver, but lost out to Pedrini in the closing stages.

Hausmann managed to grab another top-20 on the final lap of the race, completing a very solid weekend at Mugello. Aurelia Nobels was 22nd and preceded Victoria Blokhina, as the latter made up 9 places in race 3.

Weekend dominator Kacper Sztuka took his sixth consecutive victory and will take the championship fight to Vallelunga in two weeks' time, after his main rival Arvid Linblad finished tenth. Ugo Ugochukwu and James Wharton rounded out the podium.

For the first time this season, Tina Hausmann collected all three victories in the Female Trophy and significantly reduced the gap to class leader Blokhina.

"I ended this race weekend with two solid performances in Race 2 and 3, making up 10 places in the last Race of the day and fighting hard on track", Hausmann commented.

"Three wins out of three in the women category for me this weekend, proud of the steps forward we’re making"

With previous class wins at Imola, Spa, Monza and Le Castellet, Hausmann has now collected 274 points in the female classification, as she is now only 9 points behind Victoria Blokhina with one triple-header to go.

The final round of the season is in fact scheduled for 14-15 October at Vallelunga.

Tina Hausmann, AKM Motorsport, Italian F4 Championship, 2023 Mugello
Photo credits: Massimo Bettiol Ph



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