Emerson Fittipaldi Jr – son of the two-time Formula 1 World Champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner – got his first test in a formula car at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Wednesday at the age of 13.
Fittipaldi Sr was on hand to guide his son’s first steps in a Formula 4 car run by International Motorsport, and Emmo Jr was reportedly only a couple of tenths off the pace of series regulars before heavy rain soaked the track. He was getting this first taste of F4 before moving to Italy to race in the hugely competitive kart championships in Europe.
“It feels really fun to drive in a formula car because it’s a big step out of a go kart,” said Emmo Jr. “In karts you’re basically sitting on the floor and now I’m higher up, and it’s a great opportunity to be driving a Formula 4 at Homestead. It is so much faster than a kart, but for me it feels slower than a kart! But the braking and turning is so nice. I loved the car.”
The plan is for Fittipaldi Jr to race in Mexican F4 in its 2021-22 season, to ease him into his planned single-seater career which will be backed by Brand Institute, a Miami-based healthcare-related naming agency. The firm has pledged to back his entire racing career to F1.
“It’s so wonderful to be here in Homestead having Emmo drive a Formula 4 for the first time,” said Fittipaldi Sr. “As a father, I’m very emotional to be able to see this – in the 50th anniversary of the year of my first Formula 1 win at Watkins Glen!
“Today is very special. Mentally, he’s ready and physically he’s small, but has enough strength to drive. He’s in the right time to start testing. His next two years in karting are extremely important, and then go into formula cars. Some kids these days are starting at 11 years old, and he is 13, so I think it’s a good age for this step.”
On the subject of his father’s support and advice, Emmo Jr added: “Of course he knows a lot more than me, and a lot more than a lot of people in motor racing! That’s nice.”