Though in his early twenties, Felipe Nasr has already been racing for more than a decade. And success has accompanied him nearly every step of the way. Born into a racing family, his has been a life dedicated to the sport: he moved to Europe to compete while still a teenager, and spent the following years establishing himself as one of its brightest young stars. A test role with Williams, and then a first Formula One drive with Sauber, were deserved rewards.
Luiz Felipe de Oliveira Nasr was born in Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil, on August 21, 1992. He spent his formative years racing karts in his homeland, racking up a trio of national titles by the age of 15. That success prompted a switch into single-seaters, with Nasr moving into Formula BMW Americas for the 2008 season finale at Interlagos. Run by his uncle Amir’s eponymous and well-renowned team, Nasr would finish fifth and third in the two races.
After that introduction, Nasr moved into Formula BMW Europe for 2009 and met with immediate success. Two poles, a victory and one second in the opening round thrust him into a championship lead he would extend almost constantly through the season en route to the title. He switched into British F3 the following year, winning once and taking four podiums overall.
He stayed in the series for 2011 and dominated, racking up seven victories and 15 podiums to comfortably beat future McLaren racer Kevin Magnussen to the title. He came close to following up that triumph in the Macau season finale, finishing just 0.359s off victory.
Having conquered F3, Nasr opted to step up into GP2 for 2012, scoring four podiums in his rookie campaign. The same season he finished on the podium in the prestigious Daytona 24 Hours. A switch from the DAMS team to Carlin yielded improvements in GP2 in 2013, but the real breakthrough came the following season, when four wins and 10 podiums established him as a title contender from the outset.
The year also heralded a maiden taste of F1 machinery. He first tested for Williams during the pre-season in Bahrain, the same day he was appointed the team’s official test and reserve driver. Two months later he made his Grand Prix weekend debut, driving for the team during FP1 in Bahrain - something he would repeat on a further four occasions during the season, including an outing on home soil at Interlagos.
While a big moment, Nasr had already played his 2014 trump card: in early November he landed his first F1 race seat after being confirmed as a Sauber driver for 2015. There he acquitted himself in impressive fashion, outperforming more experienced team mate Marcus Ericsson. Scoring 27 points to the Swede's nine, his best result was fifth place in Australia en route to 13th in the driver standings.