Getting underway in Maranello today is the final phase of the fourth and last edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, run by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission along with the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), Iron Dames and the ACI Scuola Federale with the aim of promoting women in motorsport, supporting talented girls between the ages of 12 and 16 in their aim of becoming professional racing drivers. There are four senior candidates from three continents: from Denmark Alba Hurup Larsen who has been racing in the Danish national karting championship; from Germany Mathilda Paatz, racing in the FIA Karting OK Class world championship, who was already a finalist in last year’s FIA Girls on Track-Rising Stars Junior programme; from Australia Joanne Ciconte, who has enjoyed a successful season at home in the KA3 Junior category and from Ecuador Domenika Arellano who got herself noticed racing in South America this year.
The selection. The four youngsters were picked from a field of 116 candidates from 50 countries. That number was whittled down to 16 by a group of international experts, under the guidance of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. They then took part in an event at the Franciacorta track in Italy, where after a series of tests a final four were selected for the senior category. Four juniors were also chosen: Hungary’s Bianca Nagy, from the Netherlands Eva Dorrestijn, from England Annabella Fairclough and the Lithuanian Vanesa Silkunaite and they will be evaluated in Maranello next week.
Not just on track. The Ferrari Driver Academy has prepared a very busy programme, including theory lessons, physical and attitudinal tests, as well as sessions in a driving training simulator, working on a simulation of a race weekend programme that will be at the heart of the final two days of this evaluation camp. The girls will drive a Formula 4 Tatuus fitted with the same Pirelli tyres as used in the Italian championship, at the Fiorano track.
Analysis. The camp at Ferrari ends this Friday afternoon after which it will be the turn of the juniors, while the data gathered on track will be analysed at the Academy headquarters. In a few weeks, the final verdicts will be reached and the winners of the 2023 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars initiative will be known. In addition, there will be a decision as to whether any of the candidates meet the criteria of excellence required to be admitted to the Maranello Academy, thus joining the Ferrari family. Even if this standard is not met, the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission will still be providing a strong support programme for next season.
Marco Matassa - Head of Ferrari Driver Academy
We are pleased to be hosting the fourth edition of Girls on Track - Rising Stars in Maranello. We have believed in this programme right from the very start and we think it plays an important role in making the world of motorsport ever more accessible. We will evaluate the candidates with the same attention to detail and rigour that we apply to all those who come through our doors, looking quite simply for excellence. Only two of the three previous winners are still part of the Academy, proof that there are no free rides within our organisation.
FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars for the past four years, together with our own scouting programme, have been a cornerstone of our young driver strategy. Now, I can’t wait to start working with Alba, Joanne, Domenika and Mathilda to find out which of them is the best and evaluate whether the winner reaches the required standard to allow her to join Maya Weug and Aurelia Nobels at the Academy.
I hope they all enjoy this experience and make the most of it. I’m sure they are going to have fun.
Deborah Mayer - FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President
This week marks the culmination of a remarkable journey as we launch the final phase of the 2023 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme. As we bid farewell to this extraordinary initiative, I extend my heartfelt welcome and best wishes to the talented participants who have brilliantly qualified and are about to enjoy a unique experience and opportunity in their young careers.
We are immensely grateful to our partners, Ferrari Driver Academy and Iron Dames who have supported us faithfully on this successful project. The positive impact of this programme on emerging female talent has been undeniable, both for having been the starting point for the careers of today's top-level pilots, and for having raised awareness of the possibility for women to realize their career dreams.