The highest-placed returning driver from last season, Caio Collet has already taken a trip to the podium during Formula 3’s opening round in Sakhir and will be hoping to do the same this weekend in Australia.
After switching over to the #17 Van Amersfoort Racing car for 2023, the Brazilian racer gave us the lowdown on his rallying roots, being inspired by a homegrown Formula 1 legend and the mentality it takes to thrive at this level.
NAME: Caio Collet DATE OF BIRTH: 03/04/2002 NATIONALITY: Brazilian 2023 TEAM: Van Amersfoort Racing
EARLIEST RACING MEMORY?
“It’s from a different kind of racing, my dad used to do Dakar Rally and that kind of stuff. When I was young, about three or four years old, I went with him to the rally races, and I was just standing there next to some part of the track and just watching him drive.
“I actually started rallying when I was three or four years old. He gave me a little quad and always when I was with him at the races, I would be driving around a little bit, but then my mum decided it was a bit too dangerous, so I had to stop.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RACING STYLE?
“I’m quite calm most of the time, but I think since karting, I’ve always looked forward. In my first few races I was always losing them in the last few laps because I was always looking forward, never defending. I think this was when I really started, but once you gain experience and understand a bit more about racing, then you become a more complete driver. I think from where I started, I’ve always been really calm.”
WHO IS YOUR RACING HERO?
“Senna is one of them! I think the story that he had, both on and off the track, is just simply amazing. The person that he was inspires everyone, not just because I’m Brazilian, but I think a lot of people from outside Brazil as well.
“He’s one of the best that ever existed in terms of work ethic with the team and outside of the track. I wasn’t born when he was alive, but from the stories that you can hear and the movies and documentaries that I used to watch it’s just impressive.”
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST RACING ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
“Either the Championship that I won in F4 or the Vice-Championship in Eurocup two years ago. I think when you fight for a Championship, the season is really different. The level and the pressure that you deal with race after race, especially in Eurocup with Victor Martins.
“Until the last race, we were fighting for the Championship, and I remember the pressure that I had to win the Championship and if you win it, you know that next year you’ll be in a top team in another class. This feeling is really nice and once you really fight for a Championship, it’s when you know it.”
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A RACING DRIVER?
“Racing - it’s number one! I think it’s the cars, I’ve driven cars since I was really young, and I’ve always loved it. Also, the competitive side of it I think, it’s not really just you against 29 other drivers, but also the team itself. You need to create a relationship inside the team, you need to have everything going towards you to be able to win a race and I think this whole package is what we love.”
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM RACING?
“I like to do some sports, so running and cycling are ways for me to relax and get away, but mainly just spending time with my friends and family. I think this is really important.”
DO YOU HAVE A SECRET TALENT?
“No, I’m really bad at all sports – football, tennis, all of these I’m really bad at. The only one I could find that I’m quite good at is racing.”
FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE F3 CALENDAR?
“Spa - it’s Spa! There’s not really a thing, it’s just the track itself is amazing.”