Teenager Pedro Piquet out to prove his family pedigree ahead of Macau Formula Three Grand Prix debut
The 18-year-old son of three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet heads to the Guia Circuit for the first time this weekend
The weight of expectation rests easy on the shoulders of 18-year-old Pedro Piquet.
As the Brazilian prepares for his first Macau Formula Three Grand Prix, he can lean on an unparalleled pedigree in single-seater racing, being the son of three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet and brother of one-time Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jnr.
So racing has always been in the teenager’s blood and he’s been clocking up some pretty impressive miles himself as he works his way up through the ranks, from karting titles back home, through a Toyota series and on to both the Brazilian and European Formula Three circuits.
“The first memories I had was when I was at about four or five years old and being there when my brother was racing in Formula Three here in Brazil,” he says.
“I didn’t understand a lot about what was going on back then, but then when I started racing when I was about seven I started to realise I had a racing family.
“People always wanted to talk to my father and as I grew up I learned about him and what he has done. Same with my brother. They have always inspired me.”
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While Nelson Snr never took to the Guia Circuit during a storied career that took him almost everywhere else on the planet, Nelson Jnr raced in Macau twice before first following his father into the Formula One ranks, and then turning his attentions to electric racing.
“My father has told me that with street circuits it is always really important to stay on the racing line which is much cleaner than the outside line and will help you avoid trouble,” he says.
“My brother said during his first year he made a lot of mistakes and therefore lost track time which set him back. So I know it is important to stay out there, free of trouble, and drive the most that you can.”
Piquet says he’s been putting in the homework before he heads east, watching previous edition of the historic race, hitting the gym, and making the most of modern technology which allowed drivers these days to get as close as a man can to race conditions.
“Physically I am always doing lots of training to keep my weight as low as possible,” he says. “As far as preparing for the track, I have done a lot of simulator work to get the flow of the circuit which I think is the most important thing to consider when you are facing it for the first time.
“I also did a lot of consistency runs in the simulator because obviously it will be very important to not crash during any of the sessions. I know you don’t have a lot of time out on the track so you have to make the most of what you get.”
After a first year in Europe, where he finished 19th, Piquet says he comes to Macau happy with his progress.
The podiums haven’t come – yet – but he’s certain that it’s only a matter of time before they do.
“I know how important Formula Three is and that it is from here that I can propel my career and become a proper professional,” says Piquet.
“I have confidence in myself and I believe that I am a good team person, which is really important in a racecar driver.
“One thing that I will always do is treat people with respect and dignity. If you do that you can’t go wrong.”