How Elliott Vayron (15) won three races in French F4 after a mid-season debut

Elliott Vayron is surely a name to remember. After finishing 2nd in the FEED Racing Shootout, the 15-year-old joined French F4 mid-season and has already scored three wins in three meetings, battling against the title contenders. The Frenchman reflects on his stellar debut in single-seaters.

By Perceval Wolff

After being the youngest race winner in the French Junior Kart Championship back in 2018, Elliott Vayron finished runner-up in the national competition last year. He then targeted a step up to single-seaters by entering Volant FEED Racing, a tournament organised by Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Lemarié which takes place at Magny-Cours and offers a free seat in Italian F4. He eventually lost out to the Dutchman Robert de Haan by only two thousandths of a second in a thrilling finale.

“Obviously, it was a hard pill to swallow. I was really disappointed but I tried to move on quickly. I mean, it was over, it was a pity, but it was in the past, I couldn’t do anything to change that. Motorsport is like that. So yeah, I focused on French F4 to be fully prepared for my first meeting.”

Debut In French F4

Only ten days after that, Vayron managed to find a seat in French F4 for the remaining rounds of the season. “In fact, some days before the FEED Racing finale, my father and I thought about starting my racing career in French F4 just after FEED finished. And there was this weekend in Hungary which was just after FEED, so it was perfect timing.”

In only three rounds, Vayron has impressed many: the young Frenchman managed to win three races, including two races at Monza. “I was a bit surprised to fight with the guys in front who had done the full season! But I was really well-prepared. We saw that I had the pace to be quick in the FEED Racing competition. I already thought I could compete with the five, six quickest drivers from the beginning, but to be able to win several times so early on, I’m surprised.”

By joining French F4 during the season, Vayron has the status of guest driver and cannot score any points for the championship this year. So what are his goals? “My only objective is to prepare for French F4 in 2022. By doing all these races this year, I will already know some tracks, the weekend format, the race pace, etc.”

By driving at the front of the field, Vayron often battles with this year’s title contenders: Esteban Masson and Macéo Capietto. Is he more cautious during his fights with them? “I’m only there to drive and to win. Esteban and Macéo are fighting for the title and I always try to be fairplay in our battles, but they are drivers like the other ones. It’s racing and I’m here to win.”

Grosjean, Vergne and Vettel

However, Vayron is not only a driver. He’s also a sim racer, a proud member of the R8G eSports Junior Team, the simracing team launched by former Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean in 2020. “Romain often helps me on the simulator and he supports me a lot during my races. But I also do a lot of training on the simulator of Renaud Derlot, a former racing driver. I often go to his place to train before a race.”

Renaud Derlot has helped many young drivers to rise through the feeder series categories, Jean-Eric Vergne being the most famous of them. But when he was young, Elliott Vayron was mainly helped by his father. “I’ve always been a fan of cars, of racing. The driver that made me dream was Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull years, in the early 2010s. I was so fond of racing that my father brought me to a karting school where I learnt the basics of racing. Then, it all went by itself and I continued by myself, always with the help of my father, and then Renaud Derlot.”

Future

The final round of the FFSA F4 season will take place this weekend at Magny-Cours. But where does the future of the young French star lie for next year, apart from French F4? “For the moment, the only program is French F4. Obviously, I would like to do Italian F4 but it’s complicated to have the budget for it. And you need to be 16 years old to enter FRECA, and I’m born at the end of May [of 2006], so I will be too young. I will focus on French F4 next year”. And after? “In the long term, I mainly think about Formula 1. But I think I could have a lot of fun in GT racing or in IndyCar.”

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Photo credit: KSP Reportages

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