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Looking ahead to the final round of the 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine season at Monza, we had a quick chat with race winner Michael Belov.

Let’s start with the winter of 2021. You did the FIA Formula 3 winter tests with Charouz, what happened next?

“Right before the season, I was certain I was going to race in FIA Formula 3. In 2020, I had already run in three weekends, then I entered pre-season testing in the winter of 2021 and two rounds with the team. Then something happened, we didn’t find an agreement, and they chose Enzo Fittipaldi. So I found myself without a ride, and at that point, all the championships I could have taken part in, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional by Alpine, and Euroformula, had already started. So I had to accept the idea of another season similar to 2020 when I only raced a few rounds of Formula Renault Eurocup and FIA F3 with different teams”.

How frustrating was it to be without a seat while your former rivals were racing?

“Mentally it was a really complicated period. I’ve been racing, first in karts and then in cars since I was little, and to realize that my career might have come to an end was hard to accept. But I found the strength I needed to avoid giving up, and when I received the call from JD Motorsport to race in Le Castellet as a wild card, I didn’t waste my chance. I knew the car well, and even if I had never used Pirelli tires, I had no problem adapting since I came from F3, which uses an even softer and harder-to-manage compound. Starting from free practice, I knew I had a good pace. In the race, we got two outstanding podium finishes, although unfortunately, I didn’t get any points for the championship. I hoped that this result could have saved my career, and so it was, with the call by G4 Racing”.

Did you expect to stay on top with G4 Racing as well?

“Yes, I was certain, from the first moment. When I signed with G4 Racing and learned that Hugo Franch would be my engineer, I knew I would have a good season. I had known him for quite some time, so we already worked together. We are a great team, and we are proving it. In addition, the whole team welcomed me with open arms, making me feel at home and, more importantly, at ease, which gave me confidence and allowed me to focus on driving. We can still improve. The team is in its first season in the championship, gaining experience. It’s normal. We also made some mistakes, but it’s all part of the journey to becoming a top team, and G4 Racing already showed it belongs there. Together, we reached the top-5 in qualifying at every track and in all weather conditions.”

Do you feel a responsibility as the team’s lead driver?

“Honestly, no. I do my job as always, driving as fast as I can, trying to give precise feedback to point the engineer in the right direction, rejecting or accepting the changes that are being made. I don’t want to go beyond my role as a driver. I have to stay focused on my goal, which is to score as many points as possible and be as fast as possible”.

The growth of G4 Racing was also underlined by the good performance of Axel Gnos at Mugello.

“I have had a good relationship with Axel for quite some time, as we raced in F4 together in 2019. My job, as said, is to work with the engineer to improve and develop the car, but being more experienced, I am happy to help him and give him advice. He is growing and improving, and he made a good step forward at Mugello.”

How important was it for you to win at Spa and Valencia after a complicated season?

“I hadn’t been on the podium since 2019, and the win at Spa obviously had a special taste. It’s hard to explain in words, but when you’re leading a race, and make it through the last two corners realizing you’re going to win, it’s an incredible feeling. That’s when I also realized how competitive we are this year. In the first three laps of Race 1 I took a 9″ lead in the rain, going on to a solitary win, but the pole, which I had been missing since 2018, came in the dry. I don’t like to spend too much time celebrating my success. For me, it’s not so important to receive a trophy or a champagne bottle, as much as to put in a safe a good result as well as points for the championship.”

What are your expectations for Monza?

“My last Eurocup run in Monza was definitely positive as I finished fourth and fifth on my series debut. I think I can do better, and obviously, I have the victory in my sights. However, we have to stay focused and work hard in practice, even if it is always very difficult to perform in qualifying, where slipstreams and traffic are always two key variables”.