Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time F1 World Champion Emerson, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps at Brands Hatch last weekend by taking his maiden BRDC Formula 4 championship win.
The 17-year-old repeated his grandfather’s success who also claimed his first win in Europe at the famous Kent circuit in 1969 in Formula Ford 1600. In hot conditions, Fittipaldi was unable to build on his race-winning success on the Sunday - but still showed strong pace and explained how his grandfather is a big influence on his racing.
Before venturing to Europe for the 2013 season, Fittipaldi found success in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, taking the title in 2011. For this year, the Miami-born Brazilian is running in both Formula 4 and Formula Renault BARC, a dual campaign which he is enjoying.
Like his grandfather, Pietro has first found success in Europe at Brands Hatch. After his first F4 win he stated: “I’m really happy about it - I’m pleased with my drive yesterday and it was an awesome win for me.”
On the majestic GP loop his first win did not seem possible until the very last lap. Sitting in third position, he passed Charlie Roberston late on and then the slowing Jake Hughes on the final tour to triumph.
After taking the honours in the Kentish countryside, Fittipalidi said: “I like the GP circuit a lot. It’s a really technical track, really tough track and I’m having a really good time round here.” His enjoyable weekend continued with a steady eighth-place finish in race two. He grabbed thirteenth in race three after losing time early on but still set the fastest lap of the race - a sign of his natural pace.
Fittipaldi is fully focused on the three rounds left of this year’s Formula 4: “I’m not sure on next year yet. I’ll see how this year goes and then decide. My aim is to do my best always - 120-per-cent. Sometimes you don’t have a good car, sometimes you have a problem but I’ll always do my best.”
With a clear mindset it is clear his grandfather’s influence helps the youngster. My grandfather helps me out all the time,” he explains. “He calls me up at every track, calms me down before the race and he’s always there for me.”
The ‘Fittipaldi’ name stuck to the side of his Mark Godwin Racing run machine will always create attention, but no pressure according to the youngster: “I just do my best job all the time. For me I’m like any other driver: always learning and keep getting better.”
For the 17-year-old, Formula One is a long way down the track just yet, but is already a clear target: “F1 is the aim - it is everyone’s main goal,” he states confidently. “It’s really difficult to get there but hopefully one day I will.”