Offaly teenager Alex Dunne on breaking Lando Norris' record and big Ferrari opportunity
Alex Dunne, the 16-year-old Offaly native, has been making waves in the ROKiT British Formula 4 championship says that a career in Formula One remains the ultimate goal following a really strong 2022 season, and a trial at the Ferrari Driver Academy.
We sent Ben Johnston of Paddock Eye along to Mondello Park, this week, to meet the youngster aiming to only the sixth Irish driver in F1.
Dunne has dominated the British Formula 4 championship season, claiming 11 wins and leading the championship, with just one race to go, by 99 points from Carlin Racing’s Oliver Gray. He comments:
"It’s definitely been a great year. I think the main thing that has helped me going into this year was we had the six-week championship out in the UAE with Hitech at the start of the year and on top of that we had the dual campaign Italian F4 and British F4 so, I think the seat time I am getting is really helping me develop."
Getting a chance to impress at Ferrari
Alex Dunne hopes to compete in Formula One and said that this remains the goal particularly now as McLaren Formula One team’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who will make his Grand Prix debut next season, came through the ROKiT FIA British Formula 4 championship.
Another F4 graduate is Colton Herta, who races for Andretti Autosport in the American NTT IndyCar Series. "It has been pretty incredible to have broken the win records in the series," says Dunne, adding that the list of drivers that has rapidly progressed in the world of motorsport 'shows the level of talent' involved.
Dunne says that he feels very confident as every time he has been in the car the team have been 'there or thereabouts and we have been in the top three regardless of the conditions'.
The teenager was recently approached by Ferrari to take part in their scouting camp in Fiorano, Italy. The camp consisted of mental and physical assessments, as well as some driving on Ferrari’s test track, and followed the format of an Italian F4 weekend - FP1 and FP2 with a qualifying and race simulation - which Dunne confirmed 'went really well'.
Dunne and his team had to cut the test short to travel to Silverstone for round nine of the British F4 championship. However, he was able to return to Italy to complete the final day of the tests and has been told that he will find out in October if he has been selected to continue with the Ferrari Driver Academy.
When it comes to what the future has in store, Alex Dunne hopes he can move up to F3, in whatever form that will be. He also thanked his sponsors, particularly his title sponsor, Harris Group, Ireland’s pre-eminent distributor of commercial vehicles, and their chief executive Denise Harris.
Dunne will not compete in the season-ending race at Brands Hatch next weekend due to conflicting schedules with the Italian F4 championship, which will run at the Monza circuit.
Given his superior win tally and points total, though, Dunne will be crowned the 2022 ROKiT British F4 champion at the conclusion of that Brands Hatch meet.