Soaking up the unbeatable atmosphere of a home race weekend, Jonny Edgar is hungry to give the passionate British crowds something to celebrate at Silverstone and continue propelling himself forward after a challenging first half of the 2023 campaign.
Qualifying difficulties have left the MP Motorsport driver languishing outside the top 10 on Fridays, with Edgar struggling to find the pace needed to mount a comeback. However, whilst those initial difficulties persisted in Spielberg last time out, the British racer banished his frustrations in two vastly different races.
Through wet conditions in the Sprint Race and substantial tyre degradation in the Feature, Edgar carved his way through the field to secure back-to-back top six finishes. Thrilled to have netted his first points since the opening race of the season in Sakhir, he believes that even better results could have been on the cards.
“The races were really good! Qualifying was a bit of a shame because I think there was a much more potential to be better. Considering where I started, I didn't expect to come up as far in my races. I was just hoping for a couple of points around P8 to P10. In the wet Sprint Race, I knew we would be quite fast because MP always have a really good car in the wet, so I was quite confident that it would be the same again.
“My start was really good, I think I already got up to P10 on Lap 1 and then from there, it was just about making places when you had opportunities. It was still pretty difficult to overtake it the wet, the same as last year, unless you had a big pace advantage it was hard to make up places. I got to P5 and at the end it started to be difficult once I got to the ones that I maybe had a little bit more speed than, but only a couple of tenths.
“In the Feature Race I expected it to be a bit harder to make progress. I didn’t make up as many places at the start, which I expected because in the dry there’s not too much you can gain. I was around P13 in the early laps and from there, I was focusing on saving the tyres for the first 10 laps because I knew with the soft tyres, we’d have a lot of drop off at the end. After that compared to other cars, I think that’s when I started being a bit quicker than some of the cars around and managed to make up some places.
“Quite a few cars ahead had contact, punctures, broken front wings and had to pit, which was something I was being careful of because a lot of times in the Feature Race, if you just stay on track, you gain places already. I was really happy to have another good finish and the car was really good again. There’s not really much I think we’d do differently in both races in terms of the car, so I was happy with that.”
He added: “It’s really good to have results like that because until then this season it’s been difficult. I was never really quick and was qualifying far back, but at the Red Bull Ring, I felt there was the potential to be a lot better. Whereas the rest of the year, I never felt like I could have qualified much better, so I’m much more confident going into the future rounds that it’ll be the same as the Red Bull Ring. Qualifying wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I think if I could have qualified in a good position or qualify there this round, then the races should be good because the race pace was really strong.
One of the most demanding circuits on the calendar, Silverstone’s 5.891km layout and 18 turns presents a true test of a driver’s speed, endurance, and bravery. Yet for Edgar, it’s a challenge he’s eager to face with the supportive home fans right behind him every step of the way.
Additionally, the typical British summer weather could throw an added curveball his way, with the prospect of rain looming over the weekend. Given MP Motorsport’s consistently strong wet-weather pace, it’s no surprise that he’s keeping his fingers crossed for a downpour.
“It’s really nice racing at home with all the fans. It’s something that until last year I never actually got to have racing in F4 in Italy and Germany, so it’s something quite new to me. Actually, here isn’t a track I know that well because I never raced here in another category. I really like and enjoyed it last year so I’m very excited to be racing here again with all the fans.
“The main overtaking place is with the DRS into Stowe and Brooklands. Last year it was too hard to overtake, obviously there are a lot of high-speed areas, but the straights are long. The racing last year was quite good for me and in the Feature Race when I started a bit further back, I managed to make some progress. I’m quite confident as well because last year went pretty well considering it was my first race back after I missed a few rounds.
“I think rain would be quite good for us as a team because typically MP are really good in the rain. In most of the wet races, you see that the MP cars are really fast and normally we do quite well. Obviously growing up in England, I’m quite used to the rain so I like racing in it, so I wouldn’t mind some rain.” Before that though, Edgar knows his first job is to improve his one-lap pace. Setting his sights on cracking into the mix on both grids, he is longing for a return to the podium but remains pragmatic about notching more all-important points on the board.
“In Qualifying, hopefully I’ll be somewhere in the top 10. If you can do that, you obviously then have a half-decent grid position for both races. I’d like much better than that, if possible, but with traffic and how close it is, you can easily be P7 or P2 without changing much.
“In the races I’m just looking to try and maybe make up some places in the early laps. Then, just have two consistent points scores. Obviously, I’d really like to have a podium, but some weekends, two P5s or somewhere around there is still a good weekend.”