Roberto Faria on joining Sauber Academy: “Reaching F1 is the main objective”

After two rounds of the GB3 Championship, Roberto Faria currently sits third in the standings. He is one of the front runners for the title and has the potential to win the series. After impressing last season, he is now a member of the Sauber Academy, something that will help him on his way to achieving the end goal of reaching Formula One. 

By Richard Smyth

Faria is one of only two drivers in the Sauber Junior Team, with Formula 2 driver Theo Pourchaire being the other member. Faria described in his words what the Sauber Junior Team is.

“It’s just me and [Theo] Pourchaire, they support us by giving us physical training and we can go to a Formula One race to learn what life is like for an F1 driver [on a race weekend]. We can ask questions to the engineers, participate in the briefings and learn more about F1. “

The two Sauber Academy drivers both went out to Switzerland at the start of the year for physical training to prepare both drivers for their upcoming campaigns.  “We have had contact with Theo and at the start of the year, we went to Switzerland to do some physical training. He was very friendly and it was fun to do the training together. It was also nice to talk about his F2 win in Monaco last season.”

Roberto Faria is eyeing a Formula One future | Credit: PR1ME Driver Management

Four drivers made the step up to FIA Formula 3 from the GB3 Championship this season and two have already joined F1 academies. What makes Faria’s position unique is that neither Zak O’Sullivan nor Oliver Bearman was a part of their academics when they raced in GB3.  However, despite Faria’s pace and potential, the process of joining a Formula One academy isn’t as straightforward as some would make it out to be. 

Faria described the process of the joining the academy, as something that took some time; “We were talking since last Autumn, but we only got round to signing last month. I had already been doing physical training, but it was a long process but in the end, everything worked out and I’m really happy to be one of two drivers in the academy”.

“Over this year I am going to focus on the GB3 Championship and hopefully fight for the title. We didn’t have the pace in the opening race [at Oulton Park] to win, but the second place still meant we got good points. “

Like many young drivers up and down various racing paddocks, Faria has an ambition to race in Formula One. “There has always been the goal of reaching Formula One, that is the main objective.” There have only been 32 Brazilian drivers in Formula One and while Faria is hoping to add his name to the list, there’s a certain Brazilian that you might be familiar with that is his inspiration. “My racing hero is Ayrton Senna, of course, I’m Brazilian so i’m going to say him but it’s really hard to only have one as there are so many great drivers, but if I had to choose one it would be Senna.”

At the moment, Faria holds third place in the GB3 Championship | Credit: PR1ME Driver Management

While the GB3 Championship is the main focus for Faria this season, a good performance will help him take the next step on the feeder series ladder. “The focus this year is to fight for the Championship and next year maybe go into FIA Formula 3. GB3 is a really nice championship and we get to race on many different tracks here in England, along with Spa-Francorchamps. There are all different types of circuits, Oulton Park is very different from Spa.”

After switching teams for this season’s GB3 campaign, Faria believes that the team are behind him as he mounts a title challenge. “Carlin has been great, they have been giving me all the support that I need. My teammates are great as well and everyone is helping each other to be the fastest they can be.” While some racing drivers are superstitious, Faria isn’t so much.  When it comes to his racing number, growing up playing football helped to pave the way for the number on his car. “I used the number 7 since I played football when I was six years old and kept it when I started karting when I was ten.”

 When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it impacted everyone in different ways. For Faria, it allowed him an opportunity to taste two different racing series and make a decision about which was the best for him. Ultimately, a full season in the GB3 Championship would follow in 2021 but at the time it was a late decision to a split season.  “Covid meant that I didn’t have much time for testing. I switched from British Formula 4 to BRDC British Formula 3 (Now GB3 Championship), it was a decision made on Monday before a race and I didn’t have much time to practice so I had to adapt to a new car and a new track.

There’s still a long way to go in the 2022 GB3 Championship. With two events – that’s six races – completed, there are still six events to go. At the moment, Faria’s holding third place in the championship, only 32 points behind leader Joel Granfors. There are 90 points up for grabs each event, so all is still to play for.

Header photo: PR1ME Driver Management

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