Aurelia Nobels: Joining the Ferrari Driver Academy would be ‘an opportunity not to be wasted’

She’s raced in Danish F4 and Spanish F4, tested in Italian F4 and is currently competing in Brazilian F4. Aurelia Nobels talked to F1 Feeder Series on her plans for the future, her first year in open-wheel cars and being selected for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme. 

By Maria Clara Castro

Aurelia Nobels is currently living a new chapter of her motorsport career as she made the step up from karting to open-wheel cars. Ending the first term of the year, the Brazilian Rising Stars driver has already raced in Danish F4, Spanish F4 and tested in Italian F4.

Currently competing in Brazilian F4, F1 Feeder Series caught up with the 15-year-old driver to talk about the future: “I am going to be an F1 driver. With this in mind, I really want to get the hang of the cars throughout the path towards F1. I have the chance to take part in more than one F4 championship, so I’m embracing it. I’m conscious of my privilege, after all it’s not everyone who has these opportunities, and I’m making the most of it, learning as much as I can.”

Nobels didn’t use the plural word ‘cars’ in vain. In spite of being all F4 categories, the cars, engines and tyre providers differ. For instance, whilst the Brazilian F4 races with Tatuus chassis and Abarth engine, Danish F4 uses Mygale chassis and Renault engine. 

Aurelia Nobels | Credit: Luca Bassani

“I raced at Spa-Francorchamps in Spanish F4 and the tyres were definitely the tricky point. In Brazilian F4 we use the Pirelli tyres which generates more grip, making it easier to warm them up. Spanish F4 uses Hankook tyres, ones I hadn’t used before, and putting temperatures on them was challenging.”

Brazilian and Danish F4 cars felt very different. Steering was lighter and brakes were a lot heavier than I was used to

Aurelia Nobels

It’s not only the mechanical and technical variables Nobels must deal with. Motorsport is still a male-dominated industry. Change is happening with an increasing female presence but there is still more to be done.  

“I feel like some male drivers don’t like being overtaken. Of course, no driver likes being overtaken but when it’s a girl overtaking them it seems like it’s worse, which it isn’t.”

“What frustrates me more is when I’m racing, the pace is good, tyres are ok, I’m doing well and then suddenly I’m out because someone hit me. In Danish F4 Race 2, I started on pole because of the reverse grid, the race was great until a touch on my rear tyre ended it. I went to talk to the driver, he didn’t apologise or even acknowledge it was his fault, instead he said it was mine. Frustrating, but it is what it is. I move on and focus on the next challenge.”

Credit: Luca Bassani

Aurelia talks about her future as one of the 14 drivers to be selected for the third edition of FIA’s Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme.

“I tried to take part in the first edition, but I couldn’t because I was too young. However, I kept the idea in mind and when the opportunity came, I applied and I’m really glad to be one of the selected girls.”

As always in my life, I will give the absolute everything

Aurelia Nobels

“On the path to F1, being part of an academy is prime in my point of view. Having the chance to be part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the academy affiliated to the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars, shouldn’t be wasted.”

Nobels also unveiled what’s been on her mind when she’s planning her future steps:

“I’m thrilled with everything that is happening and I’m trying to keep my mind in the present and on the near future. My focus is both on Brazilian F4 and the Rising Stars programme, although I am also planning for next year where the plan is to race in European F4 championships. We don’t know yet if it’s going to be Spanish or Italian F4, both have very competitive grids.”

Credit: Luca Bassani

When asked if W Series was whether a goal or a possibility, the 15-year-old driver keeps an open mind: 

“W Series is a possibility, not a goal for now. The W Series car is on the level of F3 cars and I’m still learning in F4. When it’s time to take one step further, we’ll evaluate the scenarios and see what’s the best option. We don’t know yet.”

In what has been an exciting year for Nobels the teenage driver acknowledges the positive impact this has had on her:

We’re halfway through the year and I feel like I have grown so much, not only on track but off as well

Aurelia Nobels

“If you look back a year, you’d see a whole different Aurelia. A very shy and introverted one. With all that’s happened, I feel much more confident and somewhat outgoing.”

“In an interview, for example, I’d get shy, now I’m more talkative. I think racing in Europe, where there are more experienced drivers, helped me tons when it comes to communicating skills because I’d have to go talk to them if I wanted some advice. It was either suck up my shyness or hold back the development of my driving skills.”

Aurelia is back on track this week for Brazilian F4 testing in Goiânia and races the championship round 2 on July 29th – 31st at Interlagos. On August 17th, she’ll be at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Star next stage. 

Header photo credit: Luca Bassani

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