2015 MSA Formula Racing Reviewed
5 NOVEMBER, 2015 – The inaugural season of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship had everything – amazing talent, great racing, a large and appreciative trackside audience, a title fight which went down to the wire and a champion truly deserving of the crown and with a promising single-seater career ahead of him…
Over the course of the season’s 30 races nine different divers stood atop the victory podium – five of them aged under 16 – and there were race wins or top-three finishes for nine different teams running the championship’s FIA-accredited Formula 4 chassis built by French manufacturer Mygale. Drivers from Brazil, the USA and India joined their British counterparts on champagne-spraying duty.
The season kicked off in impressive style at Brands Hatch in early April – a more than appropriate venue for the launch of the modern-era successor to Formula Ford, whose genesis was at Brands in 1967. And those first races set the scene for the season to come, with eventual champion Lando Norris, 15, making history as the first ever MSA Formula race winner and going on to take a second Brands Hatch win for the Carlin team in front of ITV4’s feature race live-broadcast cameras.
Although Lando announced himself as a contender right from the outset, his progress to the crown was not all plain-sailing. After his Brands Hatch double he followed up with a reverse-grid race win at Thruxton, but did not really hit his stride until June’s Oulton Park rounds, where he topped qualifying for the first time and snatched a win and a second place. Thereafter, Norris was pretty much unstoppable in qualifying – he went on to top the timesheets at Croft, Knockhill, Rockingham and Brands GP. The other drivers to qualify quickest during the season were Dan Baybutt, Dan Ticktum, Sandy Mitchell, Colton Herta and MatheusLeist, and each of them managed it only the once. Norris was quickest five times, and he never qualified lower than second.