From being known as the only female driver on the 2022 Brazilian F4 grid to becoming a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Aurelia Nobels has had a busy first year in open-wheel racing. Her next season is set to be even busier, as she will move to Italy to compete in a European racing championship for the very first time. Feeder Series spoke with Nobels to discuss an eventful 2022 season and the challenges of 2023.
By Maria Clara Castro
Before winning the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme to become the latest member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Aurelia Nobels was best known for being the only female driver on the 2022 Brazilian F4 grid.
After a hectic year, the Belgian-Brazilian driver now begins a new chapter of her life: moving to a new country, learning a new language, meeting new people and racing in a new category. Indeed, ‘new’ would be the word to summarise her upcoming year. Before looking ahead to the 2023 season, Nobels reflected on her 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars victory.
Winning FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars
“Firstly, about the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, we had four very intense days at Ferrari in Maranello,” Nobels began. “The first two days were focused on physical and mental tests – basically physical exercises, running, biking, so it was quite demanding. I prepared a lot before at Pilotech, in Brazil, and at home with some Italian coaches [Pro Racing’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Marco Cioci], so it was not that difficult for me.”
Pilotech is a performance clinic for motorsport athletes located in São Paulo. Drivers, such as Nobels, practice using its simulators and train using its gym facilities. Whilst on track, the 16-year-old driver is always accompanied by her coach, 2003 F3 Sudamericana champion and current Copa Truck racer Danilo Dirani.
“I used in Italy everything I learned so far here [in Brazil], so I’m also very grateful to the TMG Racing Team and my coaches,” Nobels continued. “My Brazilian F4 experience certainly helped me even though the results weren’t so good. Every time I went to the track, I learned something new which was very important. The results don’t reflect the driver I am.”
I was able to learn from the best and I will use all those tips for the futureAurelia Nobels
Nobels revealed that the four finalists of the 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme had its first winner, Maya Weug, as an on-track reference.
“On the last two days in Maranello, we focused on racing on the track. Maya was our reference, which was great. After all, she did a whole season in Formula 4 and was well positioned. I, in particular, did very well. I was able to learn from the best and I will use all those tips for the future.”
Looking ahead to Italian F4
Since winning the first edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, Weug’s life has changed significantly; so, too, will Nobels’. Indeed, Nobels has already noticed some of the developments.
“[In one year], I have improved a lot – both in terms of interviews and in driving, especially compared to the first races,” Nobels said. “I can’t wait to have a full season with Ferrari, with the best in Italian Formula 4 – it will be amazing. I will be able to learn from drivers who have more experience. From what I’ve seen, they do a lot of things together with all the drivers. I’m really looking forward to next year; so far, I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me.”
Nobels looked forward to the season ahead with excitement and anticipation.
“I’m going to Italy in January. I think I will stay the whole year; I don’t know if I can come back throughout the year, but [racing in Italian F4] is what I want,” Nobels continued. “It’s what I want to follow, what I like to do – so I will do everything to chase my dreams.”
Nobels’ first race of the season will be the 2023 Italian F4 season opener, which will take place at Imola on 23 April.
Header photo credit: Ferrari Driver Academy