Roberto Faria optimistic of sophomore season title challenge

Roberto Faria is aiming to put together a challenge for the 2020 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title as the Brazilian enters his second year in the series.

Faria made his debut in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series last year with Fortec Motorsport, scoring points on a regular basis and taking an impressive 21 Rookie Cup podiums on his way to third in the class standings.

He returns to the Daventry-based team for 2020 alongside fellow returnee Luke Browning and Mexican karting graduate Rafael Villagomez.

With the new season set to begin at Donington Park next weekend [01-02 August], Faria has been out testing as he finalises his pre-season preparations, and says the early running has been very promising.

“I’m very happy to be back in the car, the feeling is amazing,” he explained.

“I didn’t drive for a long time because I was in quarantine in Brazil since March. I came back to England in July to start testing for the races, they are going very well, and I didn’t have any damage at all. With Fortec, we are working to improve the setup in the car and also my driving.”

Faria also echoed several other drivers in using lockdown to further prepare for the season ahead, including fitness work and reviewing both data and video footage from last season to identify any improvements he can make for his second campaign.

“I had a long time in Brazil during the lockdown, so I was trying to keep fit for the races, and I was also looking at the videos and data, remembering where I can improve and what can I do better when I come back for testing,” said Faria.

“I also used my simulator at home during those three months and now it’s a race against time, because I only have one month to prepare for the races. I’m living in Daventry, next to the Fortec workshop, so I’m going there almost every day to use the sim and use the gym with Ollie [Dutton, Team Manager]. I’m very prepared now for the first round.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a re-shuffle of the British F4 calendar, with notoriously difficult circuits such as Brands Hatch GP and Knockhill moving forward in the schedule.

Both tracks are less ideal for winter testing than some of the other circuits, which Faria believes will present an advantage to the four second-year drivers in the field.

“I believe that big circuits like Brands GP and Knockhill are very difficult for rookies, because Knockhill is very far and Brands GP is not always available for testing, so you don’t have much time before qualifying to learn the track and find the best setup,” he says.

“But, for a second-year driver, you already know the track, the setup, the references for braking and everything, so they can just work on details. I’m in my second year of F4, so I think this is an advantage for me.”

Reflecting on what he needs to build on from his debut year, Faria explained some of the challenges that moving abroad to further his racing career presented, but feels more ready than ever to put together a championship bid in 2020.

“Last year wasn’t just my first year in British F4, but also my first year in driving cars, leaving for a different country with different people, in a different language, away from my parents and friends, so it was a very challenging year for me. But now I feel much more prepared for this season, I just need to focus to improving my driving and also the setups for the tracks. I feel this year I’m going to be much better.”

“My expectations are to fight for the championship, because it’s my second year in this category with the same team, so I believe I have an advantage because I already know the circuits, I already know the car, so I’m more comfortable with the setups and everything. I think I have a good chance to fight for the championship.”