Angélina Favario: from crowdfunding the closing rounds to points in Monza
Angélina Favario scored her first point in French F4 in Monza. Discover the French 18-year old rookie and how we can help her keep momentum and move up the ranks.
Last weekend at Monza, 18 year old French driver Angélina Favario scored her first points in French Formula 4. Favario, at her first season in single-seaters, brought home the #51 Mygale F4 car in tenth place, at her first visit to the Temple of Speed. While several other drivers were making mistakes and going off track, Favario kept her cool and thus secured four points – due to the guest driver status of two drivers that finished ahead of her and were thus ineligible for points. In the second race of the Italian weekend – the second round contested outside the French borders after the series' trip to Hungaroring in July – the young lady started from reverse grid pole, in her first ever start from the front row. The weather conditions didn't allow for a standing start and the green flag was waved behind the Safety Car for the pouring rain. Angélina held the position and survived a restart, until four laps to go, when she fell back in the very challenging conditions. The third race, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, had to be cancelled for the awful conditions. Nevertheless, it was a season-defining moment for Favario, who had continued to make progress since the start of the season but had struggled with a sponsor issue that almost ended her rookie campaign after the summer break. As the FFSA-promoted series approaches its final stretch of the season, let's discover more about the young French lady who is pursuing her motor racing dreams in spite of better funded competition, in a passionate chase for a future in the sport.
"My first day in karting in my region, in Grenoble, I said 'okay, I absolutely want to do this all the time'.
Breaking in one of the most competitive and ruthless industries such as motorsport is no easy feat – even more so if you're a 18-year-old young woman with no prior connections. "No one of my family has ever been a racing driver – it really is a personal passion of mine and it's a big sacrifice for me and my family. This is a really expensive sport and it's even more difficult because no one from my family has ever been involved in anything like this." Angélina Favario, native of the Rhône-Alpes region, is the only female in the French Formula 4 championship – and the first since Anouk Abadie in 2014. Favario's passion for motor racing started in 2013, when she started in karting – and it was immediately clear to her: that would be her path to pursue. "My first day in karting in my region, in Grenoble, I said 'okay, I absolutely want to do this all the time'. I was only thinking and talking about that and always put my helmet on. This is how the passion started" – she recalled. Afterwards, competitive races began and she spent two years before trying to move up to single-seaters. "One year for training and one for the races" – she told us, proof of a really quick progression compared to some of the other drivers entering F4 championships. "Other drivers here started karting at seven or eight, while I started later, so I'm happy to have reached this level – and I sure want to continue the development". In her first full season in single seaters, Angélina entered the first round at Nogaro with little experience of the Mygale F4 car, having completed only a handful of tests in formula cars. "I didn't know until quite late when I would start in Formula 4 – I think it was in February, so quite late – and I managed to complete two or three days before, but it was really my first outing in the F4 car" – she explained.
Her journey as a F4 driver had started. Despite the predictable challenges of a rookie season, Favario was eleventh in her second weekend at Magny Cours, as she familiarized with the car and got closer to the point-scoring positions. "I'm obviously faster each and every time since Nogaro, I'm happy that I can fight with the other drivers. Not only am I the only woman on the grid, but I also have the only female mechanic working on my car. And I'm really happy that the engineers are really cool and I have a good relationship with them. I'm doing the best I can." – she added. "Of course there is room for improvement, and I will improve. But I think it was a good start". Most of the current elite French racing drivers have graduated from the series – and this year's edition of the championship is no exception. "Honestly, I didn't imagine it would have been this tough at the beginning. We are 15 of the best young drivers in France, I really have to work hard and I work every day for my goals." – Angélina said.
Favario is serious about her fitness and sport is very much part of her daily life. "I do a lot of sports", she continued. "I live in the mountains, which is good for outdoor activities. To be fair, I do a lot of sacrifices and I don't have that many friends. I study for my bachelor degree in scientific studies, which I have this year, and I try to combine it with my racing career. I want to focus on this next year and in the coming years and hope to continue in single-seaters".
Her involvement in a sport where she has often been the only woman on track meant that Favario is really invested in the promotion of women in motorsport. Together with her family, she has founded 'Angélina FSA', an association aimed to develop and give voice to the female presence. "The goal is to organize events to encourage women in this sport, because we don't have that many women nowadays. I'm the only one in this championship, and how many in the world? Not many, and not one in Formula 1." Progress has certainly been made in the last couple of years, and W Series is now a goal that more female drivers are considering as a development after F4. "I think it's a good championship but I think we have to be careful of not going towards a separation of men and women. We can race men, and we have to battle with men on track." – said Favario, as we discussed the all-female series launched in 2019.
"I think it's good for one or two years, and it's a hard and competitive championship, but ultimately we have to battle with men to one day reach Formula 1, that's the goal."
One of the main issues, she agreed, remains accessibility to the sport. The skyrocketing costs in open wheels continue to be the greatest barrier to the development of young drivers, as towards the end of the racing seasons we are unfortunately witnessing some exceptional talents having to put on hold their championships, like Abbi Pulling in British F4. "Toto Wolff has also acknowledged how expensive it is and that something must change" – Favario added. "A championship like this one is very expensive and, without sponsors, there are not a lot of people that can race – and a lot of talents will be lost. Something has to change, and it's good that someone like Toto Wolff started to recognize it." Favario herself hit trouble after the summer break, after a sponsor pulled out of a deal and she decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign in order to get to the end of the racing season. "I fought and continue to fight in order to succeed in this extremely expensive sport" – she wrote on the crowdfunding project. Having been close to missing the round at Lédenon, Favario continues to fight her way in French F4 with determination and extended the campaign on the platform Leetchi. You can show your support at this link.
"I really have to work hard and I work every day for my goals."