Manuel Espírito-Santo, from Portugal, will graduate to the Spanish Formula 4 Championship with MP Motorsport this year - the 17-year-old becoming the latest name added to a strong 2021 F4 line-up at the Dutch team.
Joining four previously confirmed drivers in MP Motorsport's Spanish F4 squad, and with more announcements still to follow, the teenager from Lisbon is set to make his full car racing debut.
Espírito-Santo made a relatively late start in racing, beginning in karting at the age of 14. Despite his inexperience, he soon made a name for himself in X30 Senior Karts before deciding to make the jump to single-seaters.
During several Formula 4 tests in 2020, Espírito-Santo immediately felt more at ease in a single-seater environment. He has now decided to make a full-time switch from karts to cars and will join Suleiman Zanfari, Rik Koen, Gil Molina and Dilano van ’t Hoff in MP’s Spanish F4 entry.
“I’m really excited to start the season with MP”, says Espírito-Santo, “It is a team I have always looked up to. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity, and I aim to make the most of it. After my first test with the team, I felt really good in the car straight away and was comfortable with the people around me. I’m looking to achieve some good results and fight for the championship.”
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Manuel to our Spanish F4 team”, said Sander Dorsman, team manager at MP Motorsport, “In his short period of time in karts he has managed to look like an experienced campaigner, showing a confidence that he subsequently transfered to single-seaters right from the start of his test with our team. He could well be the surprise of the season!”
Espírito-Santo made his karting debut in the Portuguese National Championship in 2019 before opening his 2020 account with several wins in the X30 Senior category, only missing out on the title when his season was cut short due to quarantine because of a classmate testing positive for COVID-19.
Picking up his campaign in the autumn of last year, Espírito-Santo took part in the World Karting Championship before shifting his focus to racing in single-seaters.