Interlagos will receive on Sunday (17) the second GP Brazil consecutive without the presence of country pilots in the grid, a reality that came true with the goodbye of Felipe Massa, in 2017. Before, only in 1969, the World Cup had no Brazilians.
The prospect for the 2020 season is not encouraging for the young drivers in the country who want to reach the elite of motorsport. Of the 20 places in the 10 teams of the F-1 World Cup Only 3 are not officially completed.
Two of these positions are on the teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso, both properties of the Austrian energy brand. Consultant Helmut Marko, responsible for the company's pilot program, has already indicated that Frenchman Pierre Gasly, 23, and Thai Alexander Albon, 23, should be retained at Toro Rosso and Red Bull respectively.
That left a single seat at Willians, alongside Englishman George Russel, 21. According to the English press, the team is expected to confirm the debut of Nicholas Lafiti, 24, son of a Canadian billionaire, who this year made his Sixth season in Formula 2.
Two Brazilians are test drivers at F-1: Pietro Fittipaldi, 23 years old, from Haas, and Sérgio Sette House21 at McLaren. None today would score to obtain the motor racing super license required in the F-1.
Each competition organized by the International Automobile Federation guarantees a certain score according to the driver's performance. To reach the top category, you must be 40.
Fittipaldi adds 36. For Haas, he hopes to accumulate points in 2020 in free practice sessions. “Next year, the F-1 will give one point for each session the pilot completes,” he explains.
Sette Câmara is 10 and says he is frustrated with the results of 2019, just after he created a high expectation when he switched to Carlim for the French Dams, top team of Formula 2, one of the categories of access to F1.
“I had difficulties with the French team, the culture, and the car did not identify with my driving style,” said Câmara, a native of Belo Horizonte and the son of Atlético-MG president Sérgio Sette Câmara.
The required score is not the only obstacle for those who dream of reaching the motorsport elite.
“The financial part is very important in F-1. I have had my sponsors for a long time, but we still need other young drivers to be able to climb into the sponsored categories to push them, ”says Pietro Fittipaldi, 23, grandson of two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, winner of the 1972 championships and 1974
The six times champion Lewis Hamilton, 34, is one of the critics of the high costs of the category.
“If I went back in time and had to start today, I might not get to F1. The sport is getting very expensive and moving in the wrong direction, ”said the Englishman.
Fittipaldi has the influence of his surname. “It helps a lot to open doors,” he says. In addition to being a Haas test pilot, he competed this year in the German tourism category DTM.
Who is not so lucky, bet on good professional relationships. The young Caio Collet, 17, currently at the Renault Cup, is run by Nicolas Todt, son of Jean Todt, president of the FIA (former International Automobile Federation) and former director of Ferrari.
Collet started karting at the age of 7 and, after winning São Paulo and Brazilian titles, took third place in the European Championship in 2015, and was invited to join the ART Racing Team.
“Fortunately I have Nicolas and I am already part of the Renault Sport Academy's young driver program. They are very important factors in the career of a young driver. But I depend on my results on the track to get there. And outside of it, other issues involving the sport, such as support and sponsorship, ”said Collet.
He currently lives in Viareggio, Italy. Between training, tests and commitments to Renault actions, the Brazilian completed his distance study. The pilot believes that in five years he will make it to the F1.
“There is a lack of support from national companies that believe in the development of young pilots,” said the paulistano. “With more support and a grassroots category for out-of-kart riders, I think we have a good chance of getting back to the top of the sport.”
In Italy, for example, Ferrari has a program to recruit drivers from around the world. Brazilian Gianluca Petecof, 18, is part of the squad academy. This year, he was runner-up in the Italian F-4 and 5th in the German F-4.
“The initiative to create the academy started from Ferrari's own F1 team. Therefore, being there is of utmost importance. Today, in the world of motor racing, the driver relies heavily on good relationships, ”says Petecof, who adds 15 points out of 40 required to race in the elite.
“I won't run around thinking about it (having a super license). Nowadays, the driver has to get ready for the F-1, as Leclerc did. He made the F-3, ran the GP3 and the F-2. When it arrived in the elite, it was at an exceptional technical level. I want to do the same, ”he says.
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