The Iraqi driver – Jordan based Ali Akabi has completed a four-day programme in Britain to prepare for the British Formula 4 Championship, the first step on the single-seat racing, with “Double R Racing Team”, which is owned by Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion and current Ferrari driver, and his manager Steve Robertson.
The “Double R Racing Team” is one of the most experienced racing teams in Junior Formula, known for graduating many of the world’s leading single-seat racing starlets, and have won many titles in Formula 3 and Formula 4, and currently tops the British Formula 3 Championship standing.
The first stage of the programme started at Silverstone circuit, where the 15-year-old young driver trained on a driving simulator to learn the car and the circuit, then moved to Pembrey Circuit in Wales, where he tested the actual race car for two days.
The tests were running under the team’s supervision to see Akabi ability to control the car as the Formula 4 car differs dramatically from Karting, where there is higher speed and more complicated with gearbox, aerodynamics and braking force associated with down-force features.
The weather on the Welsh circuit was cold and rainy, and the tyres need to get warm to perform better, and since tyres warmers are not allowed in Formula 4, the driver must warm them up during the first laps, where Akabi struggled at first. After couple of runs, Akabi adapted and showed good performance.
The fourth day of the testing was dedicated to fitness, where the team tested the driver’s health and ability to endure an entire race.Akabi said: “My career in karting was one rich with learning and an unforgettable experience. Formula 4 is another challenge I’m ready to take on, testing the car for the first time in Pembrey was a fantastic experience. From there on we will be having intensive testing, followed by our first race in 2019.”At the end of the training programme, the team was impressed with Akabi’s performance and recommended him a special fitness training program to strengthen his body to be ready for the new season, and a new stage in his career.
Akabi performed well in the regional karting series, winning the Jordanian and Egyptian championships and became UAE Vice-Champion. On the international level, Akabi won two qualifying races in the IAME world finals and finished within top 10 in the IAME European series. In his karting journey of three years, Akabi competed in 48 races on 23 circuit in 12 countries around the world.