Formula - Al Qubaisi sis
The Al Qubaisi sisters, Amna and Hamda, with their support staff during the season-opener of Formula Regional Asian Championship. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi: The Formula Regional Asian Championship (FRAC), certified by FIA, kicked off the opening round of the 2022 season with an impressive 28-car entry at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit on January 21-23.

The race series, incidentally, is the first formula event in the UAE since the historic finale of the 2021 Formula 1 season at Yas Marina in December.

A special feature of this year’s FRAC is that the Emirati racing family of Khaled Al Qubaisi, with daughters Amna Al Qubaisi and Hamda Al Qubaisi, are taking part together in the Formula Regional Asian Championship season. The series this year has been rebranded from F3 Asian Championship. Giti Tire is a key sponsor and full tyre provider for the 2022 season.

The entries include drivers, representing 15 nations, competing with eight of the world’s premier junior single seater teams, among them four F1 junior academy talents.

Reigning champions Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema, which won the title last year with newly-signed Alfa Romeo F1 driver Zhou Guanyu, enters five cars. Red Bull Junior Team member, the 16-year-old American Jak Crawford, makes his FRAC debut with the team following his debut season in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last year. Joining him is Mercedes junior team’s Estonian Paul Aron, 17, and three members of the pioneering Emirati racing family of Al Qubaisi; father Khaled and daughters Hamda and Amna.

 A four-car entry for the season start from two-time team champions Hitech Grand Prix is headed by Red Bull Junior Team driver and 2021 Formula Regional European Championship (FREC) Rookie champion Isack Hadjar.
 Hong Kong SAR-based BlackArts Racing, which took a clean sweep of Driver, Team and Masters titles in 2020, returns with 20-year-old Luxembourger Brice Morabito, back on track after contesting the Austrian F3 Cup in 2020.

Mumbai Falcons India Racing, which made its series debut last season, is back with a trio of strong title contenders. Ferrari Driver Academy member Dino Beganovic took four podiums in the nine FRAC races he contested last year, and returns for a full season tilt at the title this time around. 
 The season, supported by Giti Tire, sees the return of Turkish talent Cem Bolukbasi, this time with Australian-based Evans GP.