SIX YOUNGSTERS FROM FIVE COUNTRIES AND FOUR CONTINENTS WILL BE AIMING TO JOIN THE ACADEMY WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF DRIVING FOR SCUDERIA FERRARI IN FORMULA 1
The Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals got underway today, the final stage of evaluation and selection, with six youngsters from five countries and four continents, all aiming to join one of the best young racing driver programmes in the world.
Organisation. Ferrari’s scouting system has been very effective this year. The FDA was able to count on the efforts of a network created three years ago, which was unable to operate fully because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year however, the Maranello-based Ferrari Driver Academy worked with ACI Sport in Europe, Tony Kart looking at karting, the most common first step on the road to a racing career, Escuderia Telmex for Latin America and Motorsport Australia to look for talent in the Asia-Pacific region. This year in Maranello and Fiorano eight drivers were evaluated, split into two groups in tests in July and September. The same happened in Latin America and Australia with two selection events held in Puebla and Sepang, to assess on site which youngsters showed the greatest promise.
The six drivers. One candidate comes from Europe, the Finn Tuukka Taponen, born in 2006 and who already took part in last year’s Scouting World Finals and is the current runner-up in the OK class karting world championship. From the United Arab Emirates comes Rashid Al Dhaheri, another karter born in 2008. 14 year old Jack Beeton and 16 year old Gianmarco Pradel this year have been competing in karts and Formula 4 in their native Australia and were chosen at the Motorsport Australia event in Sepang. Finally Escuderia Telmex ran an event at Puebla in Mexico and chose Emerson Fittipaldi Jr., the 15 year old Brazilian currently racing in Formula 4 in Italy and the Mexican, Jesse Carrasquedo, also 15 years old, who this year made his debut in the Spanish Formula 4 series as well as taking part in the last round of the Italian championship last weekend in Mugello.
In Maranello. The youngsters arrived in the morning at the famous Via Enzo Ferrari 27 address to tackle a series of tests to evaluate their physical and mental capacity and ability to manage the pressures of life as a racing driver both on and off the track, such as how to deal with team partners and sponsors and the media. They will also work on the simulator and drive the Fiorano track in a Formula 4 car fitted with the same Pirelli tyres used in the Italian championship.
Reference and support. Joining the six will be some current members of the FDA. They include Brazilian Rafael Camara, a past winner of the FDA Scouting World Finals, who, this year, has been a frontrunner in the Italian and German F4 championships. He will be there as a reference driver and will take to the track first on both days to set a lap time for the others to aim for.
The decision. At the end of the week in Maranello, the FDA engineers will meet to assess all the candidates and decide if any are worthy of a place in the Academy. Those chosen will embark on a very demanding course with the ambitious goal of one day racing in Formula 1 for the Prancing Horse marque. This is exactly what happened with Charles Leclerc as from 2019.
In the picture from left to right Jack Beeton, Gianmarco Pradel, Tuukka Taponen, Marco Matassa, Emerson Fittipaldi Jr., Jesse Carrasquedo and Rashid Al Dhaheri
Marco Matassa, Head of Ferrari Driver Academy
We’ve arrived at one of the most important events on the Ferrari Driver Academy calendar. Our Scouting World Finals round off a year-long process which is the basis of the success of our programme, choosing the most talented youngsters, irrespective of what obstacles they might face in terms of their finances, the distances they have to travel or the lack of support from a strong motor sport body.
Thanks to our partners – ACI Sport, Tony Kart, Escuderia Telmex and Motorsport Australia – this year we have been able to evaluated hundreds of youngsters in karting and single-seaters by putting them through events on track and not just at our Fiorano track, which was the case during the past two years of the pandemic. They have been held in two other continents, so that we can claim to have really selected the best from around the world.
The aim of the Ferrari Driver Academy is to train drivers who might one day race for Scuderia Ferrari in the Formula 1 World Championship. The World Finals are the final step of this selection process. Good luck to all the youngsters taking part. To them I say, give it your all, but above all, enjoy yourselves!