Petr Ptacek Jr is targeting a winning end to his rookie single-seater campaign as the Italian F4 Championship reaches its climax at Mugello this weekend (26-28 October).
Having impressively secured the series’ Rookie Cup title at the penultimate round in Vallelunga last month, the 16-year-old has less pressure on his shoulders this weekend. But he’s determined to sign off with a flourish by taking his first pole position and overall win.
“Everything is already decided for me after winning the Rookie title with an event to spare, so I can focus on the main championship and push for victories this weekend – I have nothing to lose,” Petr explained.
“I think earlier in the season I was often looking at where my rivals were and deciding to settle for solid results rather than risk losing points in the Rookie Cup. Now, I don’t need to think: ‘that guy is just behind me, so I need to be careful’. I can just go for it!”
The 5.25km Mugello circuit is a new challenge for Petr, and the BhaiTech Racing driver believes confidence will be crucial as he looks to set competitive lap times.
“It is quite an easy track, but it is very fast so you have to find the right confidence,” he acknowledged. “That’s the key thing, you need belief that you can go flat out through some of the corners and then the time will come afterwards. If you believe in the car and believe that you can go a little bit faster, you’re there.”
Petr heads to the Tuscan circuit fourth in the overall Italian F4 Championship standings and he is happy that the fierce battle for the overall title between the top-three drivers could help him as he looks to take his first Italian F4 victory.
“I think I’m a guy that can have quite an influence on this weekend’s results,” the Corum Watches-supported driver said. “I think people won’t be too clumsy about letting me through – or they won’t be aggressively defending from me.
“I think they’ll be aggressive with each other and that will help me gain positions. I just need to focus on getting a pole and finally winning a race.”
Heading into the final round with the expectation that he can fight for overall victory and pole positions is something Petr admitted he wasn’t expecting at the start of his first season racing cars.
“At the beginning of the year, if someone had come to me and said: ‘you will be P4 in the championship, battling for pole positions, achieving six podiums, setting four fastest laps and winning the Rookie title before the final round’, I would have laughed at them. At the start of the year, I didn’t feel it would be possible for me to perform so well,” he said.