Motorsport in the Middle East is an interesting mix of rallying and dessert raids, Formula 1, various classes of sports cars, MotoGP and WSBK making appearances in the region at some pretty spectacular venues like the Yas Marina circuit. But development series meant to grow the sport in the region have only recently started to appear and the Formula 4 UAE Championship is one that holds the most promise if it is able to support local regional drivers as opposed to out of region drivers using it as a way to get some off-season racing in.
The championship features Tatuus designed and built cars with carbon fibre monocoque chassis and 1.4 litre turbo Abarth engines, the same combination of chassis and engine that is already used in the Italian F4 Championship,F4 Spanish Championship, ADAC Formula 4 and SMP F4 Championship. The series runs during the traditional European and North American off-season from December to March at both the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dahbi and the Dubai Autodrome.
It is difficult to determine the competitiveness of the series as it is only in its second season at the time of this writing (February 2018) but it seems to be getting some traction with an all time record of 13 drivers and 7 teams (including 3 from Europe) competing in the February 2018 round. For the moment at least though, the drivers who have made the most impressions have been the ones visiting from countries outside the region like South African Jonathan Aberdein, American Logan Sargeant, German David Schumacher and Brit Oli Caldwell.
With plenty of money behind it the series should be around for awhile. Hopefully it will grow to nurture young talent in both the Middle East and North African regions, the whole reason behind the F4 concept.