Six youngsters from Europe, Latin America and Oceania are hoping to pass through the portals of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the ultimate goal of one day racing for Ferrari in Formula 1.
The much awaited moment has arrived. The Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals gets underway this afternoon. It’s the final part of a selection process that has produced six youngsters from various parts of the world, all of them aiming for a place in one of the best racing driver training programmes. The one chosen will join the Academy as from January to begin their education with Ferrari. The aim of the FDA is to find the champions of the future and eventually provide them with a Ferrari Formula 1 seat, as was the case with Charles Leclerc who came to Maranello in 2016 and made his debut with the Scuderia in 2019.
System. This season, the FDA has expanded its talent scouting operation on a global level. Right from the start, Ferrari decided to avail itself of the services of various partners to find the best kart racers and single-seater racers in Europe. For example, thanks to a longstanding partnership with ACI Sport, the format for the Camps was established to select the best youngsters to support their route to the top of motorsport. A while later, Tony Kart was taken on board, while most recently, earlier this year, Motorsport Australia joined the programme, to monitor the Asia-Pacific region, with Escuderia Telmex charged with covering all of Latin America. It is the collaboration with these organisations that has led to the six youngsters coming to Maranello for five busy days between now and next week.
The contestants. Three are from Europe: Charlie Wurz from Monaco, the Russian Nikita Bedrin and Sweden’s Viktor Gustavsson. The first two of these already came to Maranello a few days ago, as part of a camp organised with ACI Sport and Tony Kart. From the Latin American region, there’s Mexico’s Santiago Ramos Reynoso, with from Oceania, the Australians Marcos Flack and James Wharton.
At Ferrari. They will all arrive at the Maranello headquarters shortly after lunch to begin a series of evaluations to test their physical fitness, attitude and to evaluate their mental capacity for dealing with a high pressure life in sport, both on and off the track. They will also tackle simulator sessions and in the coming week, they will get the chance to drive a Formula 4 car at Fiorano, fitted with Pirelli tyres identical to those used in the Italian championship.
Choice. At the end of five days in Maranello, the FDA experts will meet to decide who has the necessary qualities to join the Academy and start a demanding training course, with ambitious goals. For more than ten years, this programme has produced three other Formula 1 drivers, apart from the aforementioned Leclerc. They are the current Racing Point pair of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.
Young women. In parallel with the Scouting World Finals, another programme has begun in collaboration with the FIA, called “Girls on Track – Rising Stars”. Its aim is to take young girls from the ages of 12 to 16 and train them to be professional racing drivers. In mid-November, in conjunction with the FIA, the FDA will run an evaluation camp for the best four, from which one could be chosen to be the first girl to join the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Laurent Mekies Head of Ferrari Driver Academy
" It's great to be able to host our first FDA scouting world final at the end of a year rendered so complicated by the current pandemic.
We would like to thank our scouting partners worldwide who made it happen and we are sure that this season marks the start of what will become a key event in the FDA scouting strategy.
Now it’s time to turn our attention towards the group of youngsters that came here for this week of evaluation and we are all looking forward to seeing how they perform during our final."