This afternoon, the practical phase of the Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals ended at Fiorano. On track were six young drivers from five different countries and four continents, chosen in collaboration with the FDA Scouting Partners, ACI Sport, Tony Kart, Motorsport Australia and Escuderia Telmex. The day brought to an end a week of working in Maranello, with a simulation of a race weekend at the wheel of a Formula 4 Tatuus, fitted with the same Pirelli tyres as used in the Italian championship.
Five busy days. The six candidates were, from Europe, the Finn Tuukka Taponen, born in 2006, representing Asia from the United Arab Emirates, Rashid Al Dhaheri, born in 2008. From Oceania, the Australians Jack Beeton and Gianmarco Pradel, 14 and 16 years old respectively and from the Americas, Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi Jr., and the Mexican, Jesse Carrasquedo, both 15. They were evaluated over the course of five busy days by engineers from the Academy, who were looking at their physical ability, attitude and mental suitability for the intense life of a professional sports person, both on and off track, plus obviously enough, their talent at the wheel. On this topic, the FDA personnel were not just looking for pure speed but also how the candidates tackled the different phases of a weekend on track overall, from looking after their tyres, to taking on board instructions from the engineers and how consistent they were from the first to last lap of a stint.
Time to evaluate. At the end of the day, the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Marco Matassa sent the youngsters on their way, while asking them all to return in a few weeks’ time. All six candidates impressed the engineers with their dedication and, as from Monday, they will go through all the data from the track and the physical and theory tests to see if any of the youngsters has what it takes to join the Academy. At the moment the FDA has nine drivers under its wing: Mick Schumacher racing in Formula 1 with the Haas F1 Team, Robert Shwartzman, Scuderia Ferrari’s test driver, who made his debut at an F1 event in the first free practice session for the United States Grand Prix at Austin, Oliver Bearman and Arthur Leclerc who raced in Formula 3 this year, Dino Beganovic, the newly-crowned European Formula Regional champion, James Wharton, Rafael Camara and Maya Weug, all competing in Formula 4 and the Spaniard Laura Camps who is taking her first steps in Formula 4, having spent this season racing karts.