Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship G4 Racing fighting to keep Belov after team’s strong start in FREC

G4 Racing fighting to keep Belov after team’s strong start in FREC

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Michael Belov made a surprise return to Formula Regional Europe in Imola with G4 Racing, which is working to run him in further races.

Belov took two victories with G4 in a part season in 2021, and team principal Patrick Gnos told Formula Scout: “I am trying to get him for Barcelona and more [races].”

“Here it’s our own money because it was a short-term decision but, for the future, I need a little bit of support to keep him through the season. For the time being, I can support [him] for a while but not the whole season.”

This is not the first time that G4 has stepped in to help Belov’s career maintain momentum. “I gave him already two years ago the opportunity, and this was not funded. I am ready to make a lot of sacrifices, but I also have a son [ex-FREC driver, Axel] driving in GT3 so everything has an end,” says Gnos.

Belov acknowledged that Imola had been “one of the most difficult weekends I’ve ever had,” as he tried to shake off his race rustiness and regain confidence in the car after missing all of the pre-season testing.

Having moved to MP Motorsport for 2022, Belov was forced to end his campaign after the mid-season Zandvoort weekend due to the complications of travel to and from Russia.

Gnos was, however, impressed with how quickly he was able to re-adapt to racing: “Not having driven for nearly a year in a competitive car, and at least seven months in a formula car, to be so close to the right rhythm.

“What amazes me is that he knows what didn’t work. He said: ‘I was not good when the peak was there, and I was good when the peak was gone.’ Not every driver can do this.”

The combination of Belov’s experience and the youthful talent of French Formula 4 champion, Alessandro Giusti, certainly has potential, as the team’s first-ever double points finish in race one in Italy demonstrated.

The result met Gnos’s “dream target” for the weekend of “scoring points, for both. I am not dreaming of a podium. It would need a lot. Everything takes time.”

Both drivers were in the thick of the action at Imola and pulled off some of the few successful overtaking moves, notably Giusti’s beautifully executed dummy and switchback move on Nikhil Bohra into Tamburello.

“Alessandro is incredibly good for the poor kilometres he has, maybe the least in the whole paddock. The kid is very good,” enthused a “very happy” Gnos.

“He already takes decisions,” and makes his own set-up suggestions with feedback “already at a certain level that some drivers take a year or two [to achieve],” Gnos adds.

Having Belov alongside “gives [Giusti] the last bit of commitment a driver can take. You take time to arrive there, but Michael just goes there. They talk. We exchange everything. We all sit together – the two drivers, the engineers – and discuss the video and data.”