The Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda is a youth-focused, cost-contained series serving as a building block to open-wheel racing for competitors transitioning from karts to cars. Veteran IndyCar driver and Motorsports Driver Development lead principal Jay Howard is encompassing the series mantra with full-force, entering the overall youngest team in F4 U.S.
Howard confirmed his three-car lineup with two of the three entered coming straight from his karting program. Sam Paley, 14, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Max Peichel, 15, of Edina, Minnesota, and Parker Locke, 15, of San Antonio, Texas, round out the grid for the Indianapolis-based team.
“MDD is comprised of young, experienced kids,” said Howard. “I started working with Sam when he was nine years old, Max was on the MDD karting team for a year before F4 and Parker is a completely new addition this season. I’m optimistic with the group of kids I have that we can win some races and have a Rookie of the Year.”
The MDD mission is to mentor young drivers to prepare them for the top levels of the motorsport ladder. The core of Howard’s program is taking the expertise he has gained along with his success he experienced throughout his career and translate it back into coaching each driver’s particular skill set.
This May, Howard will compete in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 in the Honda No. 77 car sponsored by the Tony Stewart Foundation, and he is bringing his F4 U.S. team along for the ride.
“The F4 season has a break in May, so we are using that as a learning opportunity for the MDD competitors,” Howard said. “They are coming to the Indy 500 and I’m going to give each of them a headset. I want them to hear how I interact with engineers. Hopefully they can learn something from that, maybe even give me some pointers. It will also give them a fresh take on IMS since they will be competing there in June.”
The F4 U.S. Championship debuts at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida, April 8-9. Advanced, discount tickets are available at F4USChampionship.com.
***Photos provided by Sam Paley