THE BELGIAN YOUNGSTER, BROUGHT UP IN BRAZIL, IS JOINING THE FERRARI DRIVER ACADEMY AND WILL RACE FOR THE IRON DAMES TEAM IN THE ITALIAN FORMULA 4 CHAMPIONSHIP. WINNER OF THE JUNIOR SECTION IS ROMANIA’S ZOE FLORESCU POTOLEA
Aurelia Nobels has won the third edition of the FIA Girls on Track - Rising stars programme, the initiative run by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission in conjunction with the Ferrari Driver Academy. Its aim is to promote women in motorsport and to support the most promising youngsters between the ages of 12 and 16.
The girls. After an extensive evaluation and selection process involving 146 national motoring organisations, 16 young girls were chosen for the first track test at Paul Ricard. The four outstanding candidates proved to be Australia’s Alice Buckley, the British pair, Chloe Chong and Chloe Grant and Belgium’s Aurelia Nobels and they went on to the final phase of the programme in Maranello in early November.
Four key days. At Scuderia Ferrari’s headquarters and at the historic Fiorano track, the four candidates tackled a series of tests, producing a raft of data for the FDA experts to study relating to their psychological and physical ability. They also replicated an entire race weekend programme, with free practice, qualifying and a race at the wheel of a Formula 4 car fitted with the same Pirelli tyres as used in the Italian championship.
Gutsy. Aurelia has had a busy season, racing in both the Danish and Spanish Formula 4 championships, as well as producing some outstanding drives on several occasions in the Brazilian series. As a Ferrari Driver Academy student, next season she will tackle the most competitive F4 series, the Italian championship, which generally features a field of up to forty cars. Nobels does not seem daunted by the prospect, having prepared for this next step with her usual grit and determination.
Junior category. There is also a Junior category to the Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme for girls born between 2008 and 2012, the winner getting the support of the Ferrari Driver Academy next season, racing in karts with long-time FDA partner Tony Kart. Coming out on top in this section was Romania’s Zoe Florescu Potolea who beat off opposition from France’s Lisa Billard, Japan’s Sara Matsui and, from Germany, Mathilda Paatz. These budding racers were also hosted in Maranello before having a seat fitting at the Tony Kart headquarters, prior to two days on track at the Franciacorta Karting Track in Lombardy.
Farewell to Maranello. For the three Seniors and three Juniors who were not selected, the Ferrari experience does not end here. At some point next year the six youngsters will come to Maranello to spend a day at the Academy, an enjoyable reminder of their adventure with Girls on Track - Rising Stars.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA President
I offer my sincere congratulations to Aurelia Nobels and Zoe Florescu Potoela as the 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars. With this success, they now have a fantastic opportunity to develop a career in motor sport. As we look forward to seeing the progress of these two exciting young female drivers, I also want to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy and The Iron Dames for their partnership in the success of this pioneering initiative. The fact that young female talents around the world are being recognised and supported is a very positive sign. The FIA is at the forefront of change when it comes to diversity, and initiatives such as Girls on Track – Rising Stars are a major part of our goal to greatly increase motor sport participation in the coming years by encouraging and supporting under-represented sections of society.
Laurent Mekies, Scuderia Ferrari Racing Director
We are very pleased to welcome Aurelia to the Ferrari Driver Academy, whose win in the third edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars is richly deserved. Her joining our young driver programme also confirms how much Scuderia Ferrari and the FIA share a vision of motorsport open to everyone, irrespective of gender, nationality, or financial resources. We hope Aurelia can follow the same path as Maya Weug, the first winner of this initiative who, over the past two years, has progressed to a level where she has been a regular points scorer in the Italian Formula 4 series and is now moving up with the FDA to the European Formula Regional championship. Our congratulations also to Zoe, who was the most outstanding performer at the Franciacorta test in the Junior category and who will now be racing in Karts with support from ourselves and long-term Academy partner Tony Kart. Ferrari does a lot to promote FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars, as we consider it an integral part of our global scouting programme in which, every year, along with our partners, we choose the most talented youngsters from around the world. We are keen to see Aurelia pass through the doors of the Academy and we wish her the very best of luck.
Deborah Mayer, President of FIA Women in Motorsport Commission
I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Aurelia and Zoe for this important victory. Both impressed us with their talent, determination, and ability to progress during this thrilling finale. I am proud that our programme provides them with an opportunity to pursue their dream of a career in motor sport. As part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the support of Iron Dames, Aurelia has the best possible opportunity to try to reach the top levels of our sport. The same goes for Zoe, who will be able to count on the support of the FDA and Tony Kart. I would also like to salute all the other participants who embarked on this journey. I hope their experience over the past months inspires them to keep working and to keep racing. Hold onto your passion and give it your all, you will get your chance again.
Marco Matassa, Head of Ferrari Driver Academy
Aurelia immediately stood out in the way she managed the various stages of the programme in this edition of FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars, confirming behind the wheel the skills she had already shown during the physical and attitudinal tests. She beat three very competent opponents, immediately getting to grips with the Formula 4 car, a key category for a budding driver. Here at the Ferrari Driver Academy, we are ready to support her and ensure she is well prepared for the Italian series which is a unique test for the most promising youngsters. Welcome to the Academy, Aurelia, we are set to have a great time together. Well done also to Zoe, whom we will follow closely in her season racing with Tony Kart.
Aurelia Nobels, Ferrari Driver Academy driver
I have no words to describe what I am feeling right now. I am very grateful to the FIA, the Ferrari Driver Academy and the Iron Dames for this amazing opportunity. I have definitely learnt a lot and I can’t wait to start the new season.