In 2018 Brazil was without a Grand Prix driver for the first time since 1970. The good news for the country that produced Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna is that several promising youngsters are working their way up the ranks – and among them is Sergio Sette Camara, who took an important step on his route to the top when he landed a role as test and development driver for McLaren.
A native of Belo Horizonte, Sergio moved from karting straight to Brazilian F3 when he turned 16 in 2014. As team mate to Pedro Piquet, he took a pole position and finished seventh in the championship. He also enjoyed his first taste of EuroSeries F3 at Imola.
In 2015 he moved into the EuroSeries full time. It was a tough year of learning, but he impressed by finishing third in the Zandvoort Masters event, and qualifying seventh and setting a new lap record on his debut at Macau.
That year he again finished third at Zandvoort, and at Macau – where his Carlin team mates included a certain Lando Norris – he qualified fourth and led the main race, eventually finishing third.
For 2017 he made the big step up to F2 with MP Motorsport. By the end of the season he had gained some momentum, winning the sprint race at Spa. He then moved to Carlin in 2018, where he was reunited with Lando. His season started well with second and third places on the opening weekend in Bahrain, and helped by six further podium finishes and pole in Hungary, he finished sixth in the championship.
The level of competition in F2 is demonstrated by the fact that the top three drivers – including Lando of course – have moved straight into F1 race seats in 2019.
Sergio was announced as a McLaren test and development driver in November, on the weekend of the Brazilian GP. In 2019 he will combine his F1 duties with a crack at the F2 title, and will be commuting between bases in Spain and Woking.