Cars rounding the Senna S at Interlagos, photographed from Turn 3

3 storylines you may have missed from Brazilian F4 Round 1

Brazilian F4 held its opening round of 2023 this weekend at Interlagos. The iconic circuit in São Paulo was the stage of on-track battles, incidents, anxiety and even birthday celebrations. Feeder Series was present at Interlagos and uncovered three stories that you probably didn’t know about.

By Maria Clara Castro

After more than 140 days without official track activities, Brazilian F4 opened its 2023 season this weekend with 12 drivers and three teams on the grid. As expected, everyone was wondering who’d leave Interlagos ahead in the championship. Cavaleiro Sports’ Vinicius Tessaro managed to answer all the questions as he won two out of three races, gathering a total of 52 points. Despite a surprise last-minute confirmation for a spot on the grid, TMG Racing’s Álvaro Cho is second in the championship on 45 points, followed by Luan Lopes on 34 points.

Though Tessaro, Cho and Lopes were consistently at the front, all 12 drivers experienced a challenging first round. Naturally, not everything was in their hands, so many ended up having to deal with unpredictability. If you’re lucky, the unpredictable stands by your side and protects you, as was the case for Lopes.

Lopes’ lucky seat belt

Feeling energised after finishing second in the season opener on Saturday, Luan Lopes decided to kick off his pre-race routine for race two later that afternoon a bit earlier than usual.

“I’m not used to getting into the car so early, but this time I got in 15 minutes early and the seatbelt was a bit loose,” Lopes recounts. “Something inside me clicked and I thought, ‘I should fasten the seat belt more.’ Then my mechanic said, ‘Dude, it’s going to take a while. We have to take the whole belt off to tighten it.’

“Luckily, by coincidence, this time we had time for that. We managed to take the belt off and tighten it. After that, the belt was very, very tight. It was even hurting me.”

Three drivers in Hankook caps on the podium
Luan Lopes poses with Vinicius Tessaro (centre) and Álvaro Cho (left) on the Race 1 podium | Credit: Duda Bairros

As Lopes struggled off the line, he wasn’t thinking about the seat belt – and the pain – anymore. That was until the second lap, when the 18-year-old made contact with polesitter Alexandre Machado at Ferradura, rolled over and hurtled towards the barriers at high speed.

“It all happened very quickly,” Lopes recounted afterwards. “My car took off, did two or three rollovers, landed on its feet and hit the tyre wall. I don’t recommend the experience to anyone. It was very painful, very complicated, but the car’s safety was on point. I left it with just a few bruises and some pain.”

Those few extra tugs on the seat belt might have saved Lopes from much worse. As he surmises, “I think it was God who put it in my head for me to tighten the belt more.”

A special day for Tessaro – again

Despite competitive performances last season, Vinicius Tessaro did not take a victory in the 2022 Brazilian F4 season. He achieved a few podiums during that season, but he never made it to the top step.

But in 2023, the Cavaleiro Sports driver made it there on the first try. Tessaro’s first victory in Brazilian F4 didn’t come easily, as the pressure from second-placed Cho kept him on his toes throughout the whole race.

A driver raises his finger and holds up a trophy while smiling at the camera
Vinicius Tessaro | Credit: Marcelo Machado Melo / Vicar

However, this is not the only 22 April that Tessaro will consider special. While waiting for her son to leave the podium, do the weigh-in and conduct some interviews, Rita Tessaro was reviewing her Facebook memories and noticed a special coincidence. Exactly eight years before his first win in single-seaters, Vinicius took his first win in karting. At that time, he was nine years old and was still racing in Goiás, his home state.

Coxinhas and cheese balls at Callejas’ podium celebration

“You never forget the first time” may be a cliché, but it certainly took on a special meaning this weekend for Mateus Callejas. The Cavaleiro Sports driver went from having never driven a single-seater before to claiming his first Brazilian F4 podium by finishing third in race two on Saturday.

A driver in a yellow and black race suit raises two trophies and smiles
Cavaleiro Sports driver Mateus Callejas poses with his Race 2 podium trophy | Credit: Duda Bairros

What could’ve been only a wave of hugs and congratulations turned into a party at the Cavaleiro Sports box with a lot of Brazilian snacks like coxinhas and cheese balls. Although it may seem too much for a podium celebration, the reason is totally fair. On the day he took his first podium in a single-seater, Callejas turned 15 years old. What better birthday present for a driver than a trophy?

If you want to catch the next weekend of action, Brazilian F4 will return to Interlagos for the second round of the championship from 7–9 July.

Header photo credit: Marcelo Machado Melo / Vicar


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s