Brazil might be better known for its global superstar footballers like Pelé, Neymar, and Philippe Coutinho, but it has an illustrious history in Formula 1 with 31 drivers having started a Grand Prix since 1950…
… with three multiple world champions: Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. All revered as legends of the sport.
But incredibly, this year has been the first since 1969, a gap of 49 years, with no Brazilian drivers on the F1 grid.
The last being Felipe Massa, who had 15 seasons in the sport, racing for Sauber, Ferrari and Williams before defecting to rival series, Formula E, for 2018-19 and a new challenge with Venturi.
SOUNDBITE (English) FELIPE MASSA,
DRIVER, VENTURI FORMULA E:
“I really hope together we can really start (on) a different level this season, but also be in a different level and make the Venturi Team (grow) and be on the top.”
However, McLaren could yet provide the next Brazilian with his F1 debut, and as early as 2020 with the squad signing up Sérgio Sette Câmara to its young driver program as test and development driver.
The 20-year-old from Belo Horizonte, currently races for Carlin in Formula 2, and has been a rising star in the junior categories, as a former member of Red Bull’s junior team, circa 2016.
Sette Câmara moved from Brazilian Formula 3 to European F3, and took third at Macau in 2016. He joined F2 last year, taking one win, and is currently sixth in the standings with eight podiums and one round to go.
And he’s got the right mentality for proper wheel-to-wheel racing… with a love of old-school tracks…
SOUNDBITE (English) SÉRGIO SETTE CAMARA
TEST & DEVELOPMENT DRIVER, McLAREN:
“My favourite type of circuit is the one with not a lot of runoff areas. Because I think it just makes it more interesting if it is a clear target for everyone. And yeah, that is why I think I like street circuits as well. So cool.”
He’s also no stranger to McLaren, as current teammate to Lando Norris in F2, with the Brit set to make the step up to the main game next year.
Should Sette Câmara get his shot in 2020, he’ll become the first Brazilian driver at McLaren since Senna in 1993…as the hopes and dreams of his nation again focus on the pinnacle of motorsport.