Felipe Nasr

The Sauber racer opens up about his slip down the or­der af­ter his bril­liant de­but, sup­port from Kimi… and his all too sim­i­larly named com­pa­triot


Some driv­ers have a trade­mark look: Lewis Hamil­ton has his chains, Pas­tor Mal­don­ado has his braces and Fer­nando Alonso a bushy beard. For Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, it’s a vivid yel­low cap em­bla­zoned with the logo of spon­sor, Banco do Brasil, which he wears con­stantly.

The cap is rmly in place as we hud­dle in­side the Sauber hos­pi­tal­ity unit in Suzuka. Ja­pan in au­tumn can go one of two ways: hot and hu­mid, or a con­stant del­uge of freez­ing rain. To­day, it’s the lat­ter. Yet de­spite the mis­er­able weather, Nasr, 23, is in high spir­its, ash­ing a bright smile when he spots the stack of ques­tion cards from the read­ers of F1 Rac­ing.

Af­ter a quick re-po­si­tion­ing of the cap for the cam­eras, Nasr turns over the rst card – and im­me­di­ately recog­nises one of our read­ers…

Would you like to try other types of rac­ing in the fu­ture? Like ral­ly­ing? We have nice roads here in Fin­land. Sini Salmi­nen, Fin­land This is from Sini? F1R: Do you know her? FN: I recog­nise her. She’s a big fan, I tell you. She’s been in touch with me many times. Yes, I’ve al­ways en­joyed rac­ing and it doesn’t mat­ter what it is. Not long ago I drove in the Day­tona 24 Hours and I had a podium nish on my de­but. I’d like to do it again and I be­lieve that you can learn some­thing from new ex­pe­ri­ences. But ral­ly­ing? I don’t know if it’s my thing. I have a big re­spect for the guys do­ing ral­ly­ing be­cause it’s some­thing very dif­fer­ent. Maybe I’ll try it in the fu­ture, I don’t know. F1R: And in Day­tona, at night, in the rain on the bank­ing, how is it? FN: It’s quite grippy, ac­tu­ally, much more than you would imag­ine. Ob­vi­ously it de­pends on how heavy the rain is, but from what I re­mem­ber it’s not too bad. We go fast on the bank­ing, 185mph, which is an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Have there ever been any funny in­stances where you’ve been mis­taken for an­other F1 driver with a very sim­i­lar name? Stu­art Mor­rall, Aus­tralia There is a lot of con­fu­sion about Felipe Massa and I; some­times peo­ple can’t get the sur­names right, but any funny in­stances? Once I ar­rived at the track and had peo­ple call­ing me ‘Car­los Sainz’ and I had to say, ‘That’s not me, mate!’

How did you get into rac­ing? Kirsty Bayliss, UK My fam­ily have been in­volved in mo­tor­sport for over 30 years. They have a rac­ing team back in Brazil, run by my Un­cle Amir and his three broth­ers, and they have run stock cars, tour­ing cars, pro­to­types and sin­gle-seaters. I was born into the mid­dle of all of this, but I never imag­ined that I was one day go­ing to be a driver.

I en­joyed watch­ing the races and I was in con­tact with the me­chan­ics, en­gi­neers and truck driv­ers. I grew up in that en­vi­ron­ment and by the time I was seven or eight I had my rst kart. It was very dif­fer­ent from any­thing I’d done be­fore. I en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence and re­alised I wanted to do this for my­self. F1R: And now you’re the quick­est in your fam­ily? FN: Should be!

Which car do you drive on the road? Ker­stin Popp, Aus­tria It’s a BMW M4.

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