French F4: Angélina Favario builds on improvements at Hungaroring
"I really learnt so much during this weekend, so I’m happy about that." – Angélina Favario continues her learning-oriented rookie season in French Formula 4 by significantly improving throughout the Hungaroring weekend.
The FFSA French Formula 4 championship headed to Hungaroring for its third round of the 2021 season – its first outside the French borders – as the young guns of the FFSA Academy resumed their battles after the previous race meetings at Nogaro and Magny-Cours.
Among them is 18-year old Angélina Favario, at her first full-season in single seaters.
Favario had a solid debut in Nogaro, where she scored two 13th places, and continued her learning progression through the Magny-Cours event, as she was P11 in Race 2 and claimed her best result of the season to date.
"My goal for this season is to progress as much as possible, in order to get the best place." – she told us before the season. And indeed, the gaps are getting closer and the young French lady is enjoying some very positive and learning-oriented days in the Mygale F4 car.
Having previously tested only at Nogaro and Le Castellet, Favario is tackling most of the races on uncharted territory and has used the Thursday’s test and Friday practice to get up to speed and learn the track.
The mixed weather conditions on Friday were extra challenging for all the drivers, as the sessions were often disrupted by showers and occasional downpours.
Angélina Favario was P15 in qualifying – in what was nevertheless a significant improvement in terms of lap times.
Current championship leader Esteban Masson stormed to pole position, surviving a post-session penalty for track limits that deleted his best time. His second fastest lap was enough to grant him the start from pole on Saturday morning, as he preceded Maceo Capietto by over 3 tenths.
Masson climbed out of his car in the final minutes of the qualifying, and nobody could top his performance.
British F4 and former F4 UAE racer Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak was third, alongside Owen Tangavelou.
At the start of Race 1, Masson had a great getaway and fired into the lead, with Maceo Capietto slotting in second but struggling to keep up the pace with his rival. On the second lap, Enzo Geraci and Noah Andy went out at Turn 4 – both rejoined, but the latter dropped down to 13th place.
One lap later, Enzo Richer spun at the same corner and was passed by the whole pack of cars, with Favario advancing to P14 after a good first part of the race.
Masson was on a mission and quickly gained over 5 seconds to Capietto – who had to watch his mirrors from Inthraphuvasak in third.
In a rather uneventful second half of the race, Esteban Masson took a controlled yet equally impressive fourth win of the season ahead of Maceo Capietto, who crossed the line 7 seconds adrift. Capietto held off Inthraphuvasak – at his first appearance in the French F4 – and Tangavelou. Daniel Ligier and Junior-class winner engaged in a tight battle with Dario Cabanelas for the entire race duration and were fifth and sixth respectively.
Angélina Favario was P14 across the line, once again improving her lap times with steady pace and could break away from RIcher in the closing stages.
She further reduced the gaps to the cars ahead, now well within the second margin.
“My qualifying wasn’t great, but the lap times were better, I’m happy about that.” – she told us after Race 1. “Today was way better as I was around the same times of other drivers. I’ll give all my best for the next two races”.
The afternoon’s race saw the reverse-grid pole position going to Enzo Geraci; but it was Junior driver Alessandro Giusti to immediately grab the lead with a better start off the line. Geraci followed, with Barter and Ligier in third and fourth position. The two would swap places at the end of the first lap.
Angélina Favario started on the seventh row in P14 and held position.
Favario made up a position after Noah Andy had spun and dropped all the way down; the French lady also remained comfortably ahead of Richer.
Meanwhile, Giusti had built a safe gap into the lead, also helped by the battling cars behind: Gael Julien, who had temporarily moved into second place, was just about trying to hunt down Giusti when the Safety Car was deployed for an incident involving championship leader Esteban Masson at Turn 6.
Masson retired, and the race came alive into the final two laps after the restart. Giusti controlled the pack, but positions changed again for the podium when Ligier jumped ahead of Julien and pole-sitter Enzo Geraci fell to sixth.
Angélina Favario had moved into P12, but was passed in the closing stages by the recovering Noah Andy, who could make the most out of the Safety Car neutralization to catch back the field.
After 11 laps, Alessandro Giusto claimed his maiden victory and his second podium, ahead of Daniel Ligier and Gael Julien.
Angélina Favario was P13 – again showing good progress and improving consistently.
“I think Race 2 was much better than the first race - I’m really happy about the closing gaps with the other drivers.” – she said. “I do my best and I hope tomorrow will be even better”.
The only race contested on Sunday saw title contenders Maceo Capietto and Esteban Masson challenging for the race win from the front row, just ahead of Owen Tangavelou and Thasanapol Inthraphuvasak. From 13th on the grid, Angélina Favario was eyeing to convert her improved pace into another solid race, but a chaotic first lap put her out of contention.
Capietto held the lead from Masson, while behind it was a contact between Daniel Ligier and Pierre-Alexandre Provost, which also involved Favario who had to pit at the end of the first lap with a cut tyre. Geraci also dropped back, while Saturday runner up Ligier was out of the race.
In the opening laps, Capietto had to defend from Masson, but then was able to pull away and open a gap of over 2 seconds. Thai driver Inthraphuvasak swapped places with Tangavelou for third place, and Gael Julien and Dario Cabanelas also were battling throughout the race for the top five.
Hugh Barter and Elliott Vayron started from the back but recovered to seventh and eighth respectively, finishing ahead of race winner Alessandro Giusti.
Geraci had a couple of off-tracks but rejoined and ultimately finished P12.
Despite having rejoined the track one lap down after her tyre change, Angélina Favario continued to log kilometres and made more improvements, also engaging in a battle at the end. She finished P14.
“It was a messy race today” – she said after the race. “I got caught in an accident on the first lap and my left tyre went down, so I came back to the pits to change it.”
After the chequered flag, a technical problem halted her #51 Mygale at Turn 1, and was towed back to the pits.
“At the finish line, I had an oil issue and the engine won’t just start again.” – she explained. “I really learnt so much during this weekend, so I’m happy about that. My times were a lot better, but of course I was already too far behind”.
“Overall, it was a difficult race for me, but I hope that at Ledénon, my next race, it’s gonna be better.”
The FSA French Formula 4 is in fact returning to the track on 27-29 August at Circuit de Lédenon, as the championship enters its second half of the season.
Want to discover more about French up-coming talent Angélina Favario? Stay tuned for our feature interview.