Asian Motorsport’s Marco Albertini spoke to Prema Racing’s Rashid Al Dhaheri ahead of the first race of the second round of the Italian F4 season, as the Emirati driver reflected on his career.

By Marco Albertini

The 16 year-old driver from Abu Dhabi achieved two top-five finishes in the first six races of the FIA Formula 4 Italian Championship. He currently sits eighth in the standings with 33 points.

Asian Motorsport asked Al Dhaheri about his thoughts heading into the second race weekend of the season at Imola. “Imola is a particular track”, he said. “There’s always something to find, because it’s a track with a lot of elevation, and we’ll have race one shortly, so we’ll try to see what we can do to gain some positions.”

Al Dhaheri began his Formula 4 career in 2023 with Prema in the Italian F4 Championship, achieving tenth place in the standings. That same year, he also raced in the Euro 4 Championship, Macau Formula 4 Race, F4 UAE Trophy round and the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship. He posted the current lap record for Formula 4 cars at Sepang, while at Macau the Emirati driver achieved his maiden podium in single seaters.

“The season was pretty good,” he said. “Me and the team learned a lot last year, we worked well together, and I think that in the last few races we learned and achieved a lot, with a podium at Macau and even the beginning of the year [in the UAE], where we achieved wins and podiums. Work is being made behind the scenes, but we have to keep working and keep building on it because it’s important [for our results].”

Asian Motorsport also asked Al Dhaheri what his favorite track is. “I am one of those drivers who likes every track, but I’d say my favorite tracks are been Imola and Mugello, in Italy”, he said. “I really like when a track goes up and down, has fast corners or has a lot of corners, a few straights because that’s the beauty of driving, going down into a corner.”

“Even racing in the UAE, at home, is beautiful, because when you drive/play at home it’s always a beautiful experience and even my first street (track), Macau, last year, it’s particular because the walls are always there and you have to manage the situation as best as you can.”

Al Dhaheri’s journeys, influences, and driver numbers

Asian Motorsport asked Al Dhaheri how he began his journey to Formula 4.

“The reality is that almost nobody introduced me to it, the first time I went to a race track, it was the [2011] Abu Dhabi GP and my parents took me there and it was the first time I saw race cars. It was very interesting even if I was 3 years old, I saw every garage, and after a few hours, they made me see the cars closer.

“I also met some drivers, [Fernando] Alonso and [Felipe] Massa, and when I was out of there, I knew that I wanted to become a racing driver but my parents didn’t know anything about motorsport, so they googled how to start a racing career, they discovered karting and they started searching where was the nearest karting track and from there on we went forward.”

A Formula 4 race car driven by Rashid Al Dhaheri is seen speeding around a track. The car is predominantly black with light blue and red accents, bearing the number 14. The driver is wearing a red helmet. The image captures the car in motion, showcasing its aerodynamic design and the intensity of the race. The photo credit is attributed to Prema Racing.
Al Dhaheri credits meeting F1 driver Alonso and former F1 driver Massa as a driving factor in his racing ambitions | Credit: Prema Racing

Al Dhaheri has achieved several notable karting results, including the WSK – Super Master Series and WSK – Euro Series (60 mini) titles in 2019. He competed in the OK Junior class in 2021, winning the WSK – Champions Cup and Super Master series ahead of his Formula 4 debut in 2023.

Asian Motorsport asked Al Dhaheri who his biggest influences in motor racing are. “I think there were a lot of people who helped me, supported me and helped to get me to this point, we lived through some good and bad memories and I want to thank Prema, with whom I drive for, and my whole family, because without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Al Dhaheri races with the number 14. Is there a particular reason for this?

“It’s because of Fernando Alonso”, he explained. “[He was] the first driver I met, and he kinda motivated me to become a racing driver and from there on I kept the number 14.”

After a good start to the season, what are Al Dhaheri’s objectives for his Formula 4 campaigns ahead?

“I’m very competitive and I always want to be at the top”, he said. “But I think the best thing for now is to think race-by-race. The championship is not just one race so we have to build on it every session so I think that’s the main objective.”

Asian Motorsport asked Al Dhaheri what his future plans are.

“It’s early so we’ll have to see”, he said. “For now we’ll do our best this season, I think we’ll try and finish as high as we can in the standings and then we’ll see what will be our next steps.”

Header photo credit: Rashid Al Dhaheri

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