Ferrari and the FIA are collaborating on a new project that will offer young female drivers the opportunity to race in Formula 4 as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA).
The FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program is described as “an innovative new project to detect and nurture the female racing talent of the future”. Identifying promising drivers aged between 12-16 years old, the intention is to support them through a key period of growth to improve their chances of making it to the top of professional motorsport.
Twenty drivers from five continents have already been identified and will take part in a shoot-out at the Winfield Racing School at Paul Ricard in October. From that, 12 will be selected to complete specific karting and F4 training camps, with the best four selected to attend a one-week course at the FDA in November.
The FIA states that “subject to final assessment of the racing talent, the best of the four drivers could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy program for an FIA Formula 4 season in 2021”.
Ferrari will have an option on that driver for a further year, while the process will be repeated in 2021, which could mean two female drivers are racing as part of the FDA in 2022.
“We are really pleased to be collaborating with the FIA in this innovative Girls on Track-Rising Stars program,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said. “We are firm believers in the value of helping youngsters develop in motor sport. The FDA has been operating for over a decade now, not just purely and simply selecting the best drivers, but also working on their cultural, technical and ethical education.
“With this in mind, we felt we had to make a further effort to expand our area of operation to include female youngsters who want to get on in motor sport. Although there is no actual barrier to their participation, we are aware that it is harder for women to progress in this field.
“That’s why we have responded enthusiastically to the FIA initiative and we believe that we can help introduce even more young women to this fantastic sport. Who knows, maybe one day we will once again see a woman competing in a Formula 1 World Championship race for the first time since 1976.”