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.