Junior Formulae

Fittipaldi expected to make Italian F4 debut

Enzo Fittipaldi is expected to compete in the Italian Formula 4 after being signed for the Ferrari Driver Academy at the end of last year.

The 15 year old, who competed in the Ginetta Junior championship last season, hasn’t yet confirmed which team he’ll be spending 2017 with, but has tested with a number of teams last season.

26907627956_51b6350623_kIt was previously expected Fittipaldi would compete in the British Formula 4 championship, with his Ginetta season a chance to learn the tracks, but his sights are now set on Ferrari’s home country.

“We’re pretty sure I’ll be racing in the Italian F4 this year,” Fittipaldi told Overtake Motorsport. “But we haven’t confirmed which team.”

Fittipaldi made the step up to F4 at the end of last year, making his debut at the Mexican GP. As part of the assessment for the FDA, Fittipaldi tested with Prema, but has previously tested with Fortec and Arden.

Though this will be his first full season racing formula cars, having only a few weekends under his belt, Fittipaldi expects the FDA training to help him ahead of the season.

“You get a lot of preparation before the season, which I think will be a really good advantage compared to my opponents,” he said. “It’ll help me prepare for the season.”

With the switch to Italy over Britain imminent, it may seem that the season in the Ginetta championship was a wasted opportunity, but Fittipaldi still believes the season was good preparation.

“Racing in Ginettas helped to find out what it was like to race in Europe, how much harder the competition was in Europe compared to the US,” he said.

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“The Ginettas helped me a lot with the big jump from karting to cars. So I really got a feel how it is to race cars compared to karting. How everything moves a lot slower. In karting the reaction time is a lot faster.”

Fittipaldi was too young to enter the Formula 4 competition last year, only turning 15 midway through the season, so didn’t get as much single seater experience as he would like going into as competitive a championship as the Italian F4 series – though testing was allowed. And, though the Ginettas may not have been a waste of time, they are very different cars to the Formula 4 cars he’ll be racing this year.

“I did my F4 debut in the Mexico GP, the same weekend as Formula One,” Fittipaldi said. “That was my first time in an F4 car in a race weekend. It was a big jump from Ginetta to Formula… I learned how the car handles, set up changes, and how to solve problems on the race weekend. I did really well. I started 15th and finished sixth so that was a good improvement.”

An announcement on Fittipaldi’s 2017 team is expected soon, with the season starting in early April.

Image credit: Caroline Reha

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