14-Year-Old Juju Noda Wins From Pole in Her First F4 Race

She’s the daughter of former driver Hideki Noda, and she hopes to be F1’s first female Grand Prix winner.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Jun 23, 2020 10:08 AM
14-Year-Old Juju Noda Wins From Pole in Her First F4 Race

When we last checked in on the daughter of former Formula 1 driver Hideki Noda, Juju, she was 12 and already captaining a Formula 3 car like a pro. Now aged 14, Noda is old enough to compete in the entry-level open-wheel category Formula 4, and in her Danish F4 debut this past weekend, she showed the kind of spark that often portends the rise of a star driver.

After qualifying second for the first of Danish F4's three season-opening races at Jyllandsringen this past weekend, Noda found herself on pole position when rival Conrad Laursen's best qualifying lap was invalidated, having been set under a yellow flag per Formula Scout. In the ensuing race, Laursen briefly challenged Noda for the lead, though the young Japanese driver easily reopened a gap to her Danish rival. She kept him at bay until the checkered flag dropped, marking victory in her debut open-wheel race and making her a race winner at age 14. That's two years younger than even F1's youngest race winner Max Verstappen managed, with the Dutchman not claiming the cup in an open-wheeler until age 16 in the short-lived Florida Winter Series.

Noda started eighth on a reversed grid for the weekend's second race and picked up five places before receiving a post-race disqualification for "unregistered" tires—which also landed her with a penalty for race three. That didn't matter to young Juju, who, starting 12th, scythed her way through the field, climbing up to fourth before a late-race safety car blocked further upward movement. She ended the weekend with 37 points, which places her fourth in the Danish F4 standings. Though shortened by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Danish F4 calendar still has four races remaining, all of which are further chances for Noda to show she's the nascent Grand Prix winner she aspires to be.

"I think we are doing well but sometimes it's difficult because we don't know many people here and we don't know the language," Noda told Formula Scout. "I also miss my friends! But racing is just as fun as everywhere else!"

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