by journalist Bruna Pickler (cover photo credit: Sergio Sette Camara’s personal archive)
Hi, Sergio Sette Camara, thank you for your time and will to answer to this exclusive interview. It is the first time we have you on this website news, even though we covered Formula 2 sessions in real time all year long this season. The questions are in English. Since we are both Brazilians, I also wrote a guide for you in Portuguese. Throughout the year, many Brazilian fans reach us with their questions, and for so, I have reserved an area for our fans in common so they are able to express themselves via social media, and a few selected ones are being added at the last paragraph of this article.
Sergio Sette Camara: Hi Bruna, thank you for the e-mail and for writing on both languages!
Bruna Pickler: You are welcome, and thank you once again 🙂 Let’s get this interview started!
Bruna Pickler: Sergio, last year you were competing with Carlin, this year you are competing with DAMS team. What were the major differences you felt between Carlin and DAMS? Please answer in technical terms of machine, of software, of strategy, etc.
Sergio Sette Camara: Both teams are front runners and extremely professional. DAMS focuses more on the technical side of things, Carlin focuses more on the team spirit and on having everyone working well. One is not necessarily better than the other. Machinery and software are the same due to the championship rules.
Bruna: How were the team and mechanical differences felt at each session of 2019?
Sergio: It is hard to tell, each season shapes up in a unique way.
Bruna: What would be the ideal solution for you, in terms of spending more time with the simulator? How would that affect your performance in a positive way? If possible, please evaluate yourself the cost of this change and its reflection during the 8 months of the championship.
Sergio: Simulators are an excellent tool. With technology advancing they are getting more realistic and more useful. On top of that, most of the motorsport series are limiting on-track testing to help reduce the cost, giving even more “room” for the simulator. For me the more I drive the simulator the better as long as all the travelling and consecutive days away from home don’t wear me out for the actual race weekend!
Bruna: What are the peculiarities of a Formula 2 driver’s diet during the championship phase, since food in each country is so different. Is there any secret? What about water?
Sergio: Good question. Regarding calories of course I do some management but not super strict as I’m not very tall so I don’t usually struggle with being overweight. Of course food quality still really matters, so I make sure to eat extremely well at home and making clever food choices when I am travelling. In some countries the adaptation to food and water do worry, so we make sure to buy international standard products, and eat in international standard hotels.
Bruna: Sergio, you and your teammate answered to the Formula 2 championship’s interview, that new Formula 2 feature tool, which all drivers answer to throughout the whole year. I noticed in one of them that you “hinted” that you don’t like cars, after the two of you used the term “misconception” to refer to people’s image of your relationship with cars in general. Don’t you think that with this kind of answer you create more distance between you and a seat with a Formula 1 team that is still able to bid?
Sergio: I probably expressed myself wrong, or was misunderstood. All I meant is that I am not a car fanatic, the guy that knows all models and goes to a car show. However, I doubt there are many people that enjoy DRIVING a good and well-built car as much as I do. As you describe it to be, yes, it does seem like a negative answer towards going to F1, but it doesn’t reflect how I feel about cars. It is a very good exercise to read a comment like this because it makes me realize how a few word choices changes everything on my interview’s outcome.
Bruna: What attracts you to Formula E?
Sergio: Extremely high driver level. Competitive series. Connected to the future. World-wide championship. Big variety of brands and financial resources etc.
Bruna: What attracts you to Formula 1?
Sergio: Top of motorsport pyramid. Long-time dream. Fastest cars. World-wide visibility. High stakes.
Bruna: If you had a guaranteed Formula 1 seat for next season, with who would it be? (Which of the current teams would you like to join?)
Sergio: It’s usually not like this when you go to F1. It’s more about the seat that opens up, rather than the one you choose to go to.
Bruna: About Monza, did you or your team realize that you dropped a USB to the floor while running from the garage to the pits during Monza Saturday’s Feature race? I was the one running behind your team and who noticed it dropped, and so I collected the USB, there was a 1% of luck that it did not stay lost forever outside the gates. Did that make any difference to you that day? Or was it a meaningless USB? Was it part of the software? I thought it was important, because I realized that the person who dropped it was very worried when he realized that it had fallen from the hitch. Tell me more about this, and how this preparation works before the race start.
Sergio: The person that let it fall probably preferred to not say anything (hahahah). But yes you did him a big favor as these USBs usually have data inside, which you definitely don’t want other teams to see it.
Bruna: How important is the software on race day?
Sergio: Well, today’s cars are like a computer. Without the software you cannot run the cars properly. So yeah it has a massive impact on all our choices.
Bruna: What is the limitation, or restriction, that drivers have when checking software even before the race? What is studied / analyzed at these times they spend along with the car during the race day?
Sergio: How the car is behaving, how can we improve it. How can I improve the driving. And if any part of the car is not working properly.
Bruna: Overall feelings of the season so far?
Sergio: Full of ups and downs.
Bruna: What are your hopes for the session in Abu Dhabi?
Sergio: I try not to build any expectation for races, but I really look forward to finishing the season on a high!
Bruna: You’ve said before that it is not interesting for your career at the moment to add the Formula 3 Macao race to your points this season, or even on an overall count. Anyway, is there any hopes for people in Macao to ever see you again at the Macao Grand Prix? What about visiting Macao in general?
Sergio: Maybe! I really like Macao!
Bruna: Can you please explain to us what Formula E is?
Sergio: Formula E is an electric racing series. I still don’t know what I am doing next year.
Bruna: When will you be able to tell me and the public if you are still in Formula 2 for one more year or if you are already in Formula 1, or if by any chance you can do both at the same time, just like De Vries has been doing during 2019’s season while he raced in Formula 2 and in FIA World Endurance Championship – LMP2 category.
Sergio: I hope as soon as possible! It’s never a good feeling to be waiting and not knowing what I will do!
Bruna: Overall we can say that this season was better for you than 2018. How do you rate your own performance and the growth you have had during this year in the championship?
Sergio: This year was challenging. I didn’t improve so much from 2018 in terms of results. I hoped for more, but I keep my head high and keep trying to improve.
Bruna: What can be improved for next year?
Sergio: Hard to say, as I don’t know my plans yet.
Bruna: How can the new calendar affect your performance in Formula 2 next year? / What do you think about including the Zandvoort circuit in the calendar?
Sergio: I don’t know what I will be racing yet…
Exclusive Fan Zone
Bruna: As we sometimes have fans who contribute with their own questions, we created this space. We have a question here on our 2019 data keeper that is from a fan of yours, still about the Bahrain session. She asks why you could not open the wing while you were being overtaken by Ghiotto. Do you remember which turn was that, and if you do, would you like to answer this? Thank you very much!
Sergio: Thank you for the question! It didn’t make much sense to defend from Ghiotto at that stage as he had a fresh set of tires and was lapping much faster. If I tried to defend I would just lose time and put at risk my second place. In fact, after he passed me he opened up an enormous gap, showing that it made no sense to try and defend with such a contrast in tire life.