It’s been more than two months since the inaugural round of Brazilian F4 in Velocitta, a weekend that saw a dominant performance from championship leader Pedro Clerot and his team Full Time Sports. F1 Feeder Series talks to Clerot and he shares his thoughts on the season development, his team and racing in Europe.
By Maria Clara Castro
Brazilian F4 debuted in May featuring a quite exciting weekend. With a tight qualifying, Lucas Staico was 0s089 faster than Pedro Clerot and took the first pole of the season. But is was the Full Time Sports driver who took the chequered flag twice that weekend, firstly on race 1 and again on race 3. Ricardo Gracia, also a Full Time Sports driver, was the race 2 winner.
The championship leader with 58 points, Clerot shared his thoughts on his performance:
“I was already training and getting myself ready for the season debut, but honestly the results took me aback. Leaving the Velocitta round with two wins and leading the championship was the best start I could ask for.”
Leaving the Velocitta round with two wins and leading the championship was the best start I could ask forPedro Clerot
“I took part in Italian F4 pre-season testing as well as in Imola and Misano rounds and obviously all this experience helped me tons to get the hang of the car, understand the tires and how I should manage them, etc. So, yes, the performance matched my expectations but at the same time lived up to them.”
Having won all of the three races, Full Time Sports was the team in the spotlight after the Velocitta round. According to Clerot, there’s no secret:
“There’s no secret, we have no trick up our sleeve. We work hard. The results were already positive in the first round and it was an outcome of good communication and commitment to deliver a solid result. The other teams are competitive as much as we are, therefore, we got to keep our heads in the game.”
Building a solid performance on race weekend
For the majority of the grid it’s their first time driving an open-wheel car and more specifically the Tatuus F4 T-021. Getting used to it may take a while, meaning there’s a high chance of mistakes being made and incidents happening as we saw on the first round, for instance, with Nelson Neto and Aurelia Nobels in race 1.
Building a solid performance and showing long-term consistency is the tricky point to the inexperienced drivers. With that in mind, Clerot shares some “to-dos” in-between F4 Brazil rounds and its race weekends.
“Something, I believe, is essential to all the drivers during the wait for the next round, definitely is practicing the start in order to not let the car stall. Without a good start, your race might be compromised.”
Due to the category format, qualifying needs to be the closest to perfectionPedro Clerot
“Plus, due to the category format, qualifying needs to be the closest to perfection. Since two of the three starting grids are defined by your fastest and second fastest laps on quali, we have got to be focused on getting two flying laps. Qualifying, for instance, P5/6 may sound like a positive result, but it means you’re not really upfront which makes it easy to get in unwanted and undeserved contact with other drivers,” explains Pedro.
The path towards F1
The dream, per say, the main dream is to reach Formula One. As it’s known, planning, having it all – or at least, most of it – calculated, delivering the results, building momentum and with some sparks of luck, the driver will make it.
With the Brazilian F4 debut questions have arisen regarding the path towards F1: ‘Where we shall locate the new category?’ ‘Is an F4 Brazil driver able to be competitive in Italian F4 or even go straight to Formula Regional or do they have to take part in each category in order to not miss any steps?’
For now, the answer is illustrated in Clerot’s response:
“Right now my focus is on the Brazilian F4 season. If I do my job, show great performance, hopefully I’ll attract sponsors and have enough budget to do the next Italian F4 season and then move to Formula Regional. No need to rush, though, we’ll take it step by step.”
Step by step. And the very first step is to learn the F4 car, the most basic open-wheel machinery.
If I do my job, show great performance, hopefully I’ll attract sponsors and have enough budget to do the next Italian F4 seasonPedro Clerot
“I had the chance to go to Italy and drive the Tatuus F4 T-021 there, I couldn’t ask for a better experience. Testing in Italy went better than I expected. I was with ProRacing Motorsport Academy and their whole crew – coaches, engineers, mechanics – helped me a lot. I showed a good evolution throughout the days, showed good pace, so they got me in touch with AKM Motorsport team owner Marco Antonelli.”
“My goal was to keep learning the F4 car, take myself into the very extreme so I could absorb as much as I could about the car and develop my technique. We thought taking part in an Italian F4 round would benefit me since I’d not only see the race weekend dynamic but also be part of it”
“The races went well, in my opinion, and as I’ve said, I was there to learn. What surprised me was Quali 2, which happened on a wet Imola, a condition I hadn’t experienced with the car until then and I managed to qualify on 4th. Massive. That made me smile the whole day.”
Brazilian F4 will be back on track July 29th – 31st for Round 2 at Interlagos. The drivers face a new challenge ahead since the track is quite different from Velocitta. The Brazilian motorsport temple is less abrasive and features long straights as well as various corners.
Will Clerot keep the lead? Will another team challenge Full Time Sports for the top spot? An exciting round of racing will unfold this weekend.
Header photo credit: Pedro Clerot
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