16 year-old Maya Weug is about to make history with Ferrari. The Dutch girl, born in Spain, with a Belgian mother and a Dutch father, is the first woman driver to join the Ferrari Driver Academy. Maya outshone the other girls at the evaluation camp which took place last week at the Scuderia headquarters in Maranello, as the final stage of the FIA “Girls on Track-Rising Stars” programme. The initiative was set up by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, in conjunction with the FDA. It aims to promote women in motor sport and support the most talented young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 on the road to a career as a professional driver.
Potential. The four girls – Weug along with France’s Doriane Pin who just turned 17 and the Brazilians, Antonella Bassani, 14, and Julia Ayoub, 15 – were fully immersed in Academy life and underwent a series of tests to assess not only their pure speed, but also their potential, a key factor for the FDA experts, given how young the candidates are.
Passion. Maya inherited her passion for motor sport from her father, tried a kart for the first time at the age of seven and fell in love with it. For Christmas in 2011, she was given a kart of her own and from then on, nothing could keep her away from racing. She reckons she is very determined and loves the adrenalin rush that comes from racing. She also says she puts her heart into everything she does, trying to learn and improve all the time. Her favourite driver is of course a former FDA talent: the current Scuderia Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc.
Next step. Weug was told she had won the FIA “Girls on Track – Rising Stars” competition at a final event with everyone linked in remotely, including all four finalists and Scuderia Ferrari Sporting Director, Laurent Mekies; the President of the Women in Motorsport Commission, Michèle Mouton; the FIA Social Responsibility Programmes Manager, Barbara Silva and the Head of FDA Marco Matassa. The announcement was broadcast on-line on the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and the Ferrari Driver Academy social media channels. Maya will therefore be back in Maranello in a few days time for the start of the 2021 academic year. Awaiting her is a busy training programme, which includes taking part in one of the F4 Championships Certified by FIA.
Challenge Test. It was not easy choosing a winner, as all candidates performed extremely well. Because of this, Ferrari has decided to offer all of them a test in a 488 Challenge EVO, a car that puts out over 700 horsepower and is used in the famous Ferrari Challenge. The one-make series runs globally with championships organised on three continents, Europe, North American and Asia-Pacific, with a regional one in Great Britain.
Another competition. The first edition of the FIA “Girls on Track – Rising Stars” has only just come to an end, but entries will be soon open again for the second one on the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission portal. The procedure thus starts over, with four new female candidates eventually coming to Maranello, to fight for a place as the second young girl to join the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Jean Todt FIA President
“This is an important moment in Maya Weug’s career, and I extend my warmest congratulations to all four drivers who reached this final selection. The FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme is key to our commitment to supporting gender diversity in our sport. I would like to thank Ferrari Driver Academy all our partners who have joined us in embracing such an innovative and positive initiative.”
Mattia Binotto Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal & Managing Director
“This is a key moment in the history of Scuderia Ferrari and its Academy, the FDA, set up in 2019 to shape the drivers of the future for our Formula 1 team. Now, thanks to the partnership with the FIA in the “Girls on Track-Rising Stars” programme, for the first time, a female driver will join the Ferrari Driver Academy. She is Maya Weug and over the course of this year, she will progress along with us and also take part in one of the F4 Championships Certified by FIA, the category seen as the first step in single-seaters on the road to Formula 1. Maya’s arrival is a clear indication of the Scuderia’s commitment to making motorsport increasingly inclusive, in line with the hashtag supported by the entire Formula 1 community, #weraceasone.
This project is therefore a new element to mark the start the year for the FDA, which is proving to be a great success: five of its 19 students have made it to Formula 1 and four of them, 20% of the entire grid, will be racing this coming season in the top level of motorsport.“
Marco Matassa Head of Ferrari Driver Academy
“We are very pleased to welcome Maya to the Ferrari Driver Academy. We were impressed with her dedication and preparation, from a physical perspective and also with her approach to competition. Despite very limited experience in a single-seater, she had a good turn of speed and demonstrated a mastery of the car that meant she could immediately implement the instructions she was given.
This attitude, along with the results she produced both on and off the track, as well as her open and determined personality, led us to conclude that Maya is ready to start her adventure with us at the FDA.”
Maya Weug FDA driver
“I will never forget this day! I am so happy to be the first female driver to join the Ferrari Driver Academy. Winning the final stage of the FIA “Girls on Track - Rising Stars” programme makes me realise that I was right to pursue my dream of becoming a racing driver.
I will give my all to show the people who believed in me that I deserve to wear the Ferrari Driver Academy uniform and I can’t wait to come to Maranello to start preparing for my first season of single-seater racing.”