Brazilian F4 is finally alive! More than two years after it was first announced, this FIA certified championship will finally have its opening weekend at the Autódromo Velo Città in Mogi Guaçu. Despite not having any local major championships, Brazil has been delivering world-class drivers for decades. Can this championship reveal a new golden generation of drivers? This is your season guide for the 2022 Brazilian F4 Championship.
By Perceval Wolff
The first major South American single-seaters championship for years
For several decades now, all the feeder series action has taken place in three geographical zones: Europe, USA and Japan. Despite its F1 history, Brazil (and more globally South America) had to send their drivers to Europe at a very early age (Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello in England, Felipe Massa in Italy are the most blatant examples). Some local championships like Formula Vee, Formula Ford or Formula Chevrolet helped them to launch their career in Brazil but they still had to leave for Europe.
In 2013, when the FIA announced its reform of the single-seaters pyramid, the aim was to create more national F4 championships. While we keep on talking about the success of Italian, Spanish, French, German or British F4, South America had to wait a long time to finally have a solid single-seaters championship.
The Fórmula Academy Sudamericana (between 2014 and 2019) with former Formul’Academy cars was never a success. It’s in 2019 that the Brazilian Formula Vee’s promoter announced his plans of launching a Brazilian F4 championship. However, it didn’t work out and we never saw any car on track. Eventually, in November 2021, Vicar (promoter of the Stock Car Pro Series, equivalent to NASCAR in Brazil) announced that they would run a new FIA certified Brazilian F4 championship in 2022 with the brand new Tatuus 421-Abarth like its Italian or Spanish counterparts. And finally, here we are, more than ten years after the last race of a national Brazilian single-seaters championship (Formula Future Fiat in 2011).
With a grid of sixteen drivers and four teams, Brazilian F4 already seems like a professional championship. Drivers were first selected by the championship and then, the team allocation was decided by a draw. Now, let’s take a look at the drivers : some names should sound familiar to motorsport fans.
Founded in 2013, the Stock Car Pro Series team now dives into single-seaters. They will have Felipe Barrichello Bartz (#24), the 16-year-old and nephew of former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello. Double champion of Brazil and runner-up in the South American Junior Kart championship, Bartz will be one to watch. Former Tony Kart driver Vinicius Tessaro (#30) has won the Brazilian Rotax Junior championship twice and is one of the youngest drivers of field, as he is only 15.
Nicolas Giaffone (#31) has been waiting for his turn in single-seaters for quite a long time now. The 17-year-old, son of IndyCar race winner Felipe Giaffone, has won several titles on the continental scene in Junior three-four years ago and has been running in the Senior category these last few seasons. João Tesser (#29) has won the Brazil Novatas karting championship last year, one of the most prestigious karting categories in the country.
Full Time Sports
Like Cavaleiro, FTS is a Stock Car Pro Series team, that won the championship in 2014 with Rubens Barrichello. His son Fernando Barrichello (#41) is one of the drivers of the team and will make his single-seaters debut after some years in karting in Brazil and in the USA. Nélson Neto (#33) is only 15 but has already raced in single-seaters, doing several rounds of Formula Delta Brazil, a local non-FIA certified
category, at the end of last year.
Pedro Clerot (#69) will surely be one of the title favourites. The 15-year-old driver was runner-up in Formula Delta Brazil last season and is the youngest formula race winner in Brazilian motorsport. He has also already driven the Tatuus T421-F4 as he is currently engaged in Italian F4 with AKM Motorsport. After the first round at Imola, he sits fifteenth in the standings and is the ninth best rookie.
Ricardo Gracia (#5) also already knows the cars as he is engaged in Spanish F4 with the GRS Team. Only twenty-fifth after the first round, the 17-year-old has won multiple titles on the national and continental karting scene and was even the representant of his country in the prestigious FIA Academy Trophy in 2018.
KTF may be the youngest team of the championship but it surely has great ambitions. Founded in 2017 by Enzo Bortoleto, FRECA driver Gabriel’s older brother, the team has already won many races in Stock Car. Despite only having 2 years of karting experience, Álvaro Cho (#21) is one of the rare drivers to have raced in Europe during his short karting career. He has also done some F4 testing in Italy. As Cho’s still 14 years old at the moment, he’ll have to wait until his fifteenth birthday to compete. Therefore, Cho’s about to miss the first event, to join the championship at Interlagos.
20-year-old Victor Backes (#1) had stopped his karting career in 2019 but came back to racing in 2021 and has won several regional karting titles. Richard Annunziata (#28) is the same age as Backes, and has won some titles in the national karting scene three or four years ago. Luan Lopes (#990) has an atypical
career trajectory. After racing in karting, the 16-year-old did 2 years in motocross before coming back to karting last season.
Like the three other teams, TMG participates to the Stock Car Pro Series since 2003. They will welcome the only female driver of the field with 15-year-old Aurélia Nobels (#16). The Belgian-American-Brazilian driver (driving with the Belgian license) has raced in many international karting events, such as the FIA Karting World Championship.
Nicholas Monteiro (#99) is, with Nobels, one of the two foreign drivers of the championship. The 16-year-old American has won several titles on the regional and national Brazilian karting scene. 17-year-old Lucas Staico (#11) has won more than twenty titles in his karting career, in Brazil and in South America. Like Ricardo Gracia, he was the Brazilian representant in the FIA Academy Trophy (in 2019). Lucca
Zucchini (#9) has already made his single-seater debut in Formula Delta Brazil, finishing eighth last season.
All the races will be held in support of the Brazilian Stock Car Pro Series, a championship that welcomes the likes of Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, Tony Kanaan and 2020 Formula Regional Champion Gianluca Petecof.
Round 1-3: Autódromo Velo Città (Mogi Guaçu), May 13-15
Round 4-6: Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos), July 29-31
Round 7-9: TBA, September 2-4
Round 10-12: Autódromo Velo Città (Mogi Guaçu), September 23-25
Round 13-15: Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna (Goiânia), October 21-23
Round 16-18: Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet (Brasília), November 18-20
Weekend format, standings, broadcasting
As in Spanish F4, there will two 25-minutes races and one 18-minutes race (with reversed grid). The two longer races will award up to 25 points (same scoring system as in F1, with points up to P10), while the shorter one will only give 15 points to the winner and only the top 8 will score points. There will be one single qualifying session. Fastest lap of qualifying sets the grid of Race 3, while the second fastest lap will set the grid for Race 1. The Race 2 grid will take the results of Race 1, to reverse the top eight.
Moreover, concerning the standings, before the final weekend in November, the two worse race results will be dropped. This will allow drivers to have some ‘jokers’ in the first five rounds. All the results of the final weekend will be counted. By this way, we will avoid any controversial calculations by the drivers at the last round, like seen in French F4.
All the sessions will have a live timing (livetime.stockmanager.com.br), and the races will be broadcasted on the official YouTube and Facebook channels of the championship.
Header photo credit: FIA F4 Brasil
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