Antonio Astuti’s debut season was certainly unique to the 2018 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship, with the father-and-son team of Astuti Motorsport also making their debut.
Though the team are no strangers to open-wheel racing, with Sam Astuti previously preparing cars in Australian Formula 3. With son Antonio looking to make the leap into open-wheel racing after several years in karts, Formula 4 was the first logical step.
“Astuti Motorsport was my father and I’s way of entering the season. Running it ourselves, Dad’s former experience running Formula 3 cars, was just a bit easier in terms of budget,” Antonio Astuti said.
“Obviously in the long term it hurt because we lacked the resources and experience that teams such as AGI and BRM had developed over the past few seasons to running F4.”
The tight-knit crew campaigned the car previously raced by fellow Victorian squad JRD, with Tyler Everingham and Jordan Mazzaroli. Though the car had race experience, the team had the added challenge of both team and driver learning the car as the year progressed.
Though Astuti was encouraged by the improvement in form through the latter part of the year, with Astuti in the upper-middle half of the grid throughout his home round at Winton.
“As a driver I feel I have come a long way,” Astuti said.
“If you rewind the years in karting, I took the step into gearbox karts and that was a massive step. I had to change everything I had developed over the past eight years.
“Then hopping into a Formula 4 car again was another jump, it was challenging because we didn’t really have the data and previous years of experience to guide my driving really.
“So it’s taken a little while, but we proved that we have the speed to run up the front.”
While the trek to New Zealand was not possible for Astuti Motorsport, with father Sam busy with work commitments in Australia, Antonio was grateful for champion squad AGI Sport preparing his car for the season finale.
“It was hard to cross the pond and AGI did a superb job – couldn’t fault the team at all,” Astuti said.
“They gave me an awesome car all weekend to really focus on my driving.”
With Australian Formula 4 typically favouring second-year drivers, Astuti is eagerly awaiting the potential he’s looking to unlock in season 2019.
“So if we get out on the grid next year, definitely we’ll be a car to watch out for,” Astuti said.
“And I always have fun.”
The 2019 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship calendar is anticipated to be announced in the coming weeks.