Aspiring Formula 1 drivers in Australia will soon have a unique opportunity to be part of Scuderia Ferrari’s global driver development program.
The Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) will soon be part of the new Motorsport Australia Centre of Excellence at Sydney Motorsport Park, with plans well underway for its construction to begin in the coming months.
The Australian based zone of the FDA will be the Academy’s Asia Pacific/Oceania selection zone, encompassing a significant number of countries.
Motorsport Australia President Andrew Papadopoulos said the agreement with the iconic Scuderia Ferrari team would give drivers in our region, particularly those in Australia, an exciting opportunity to join the Ferrari Driver Academy development pathway.
“Our up-and-coming open wheel drivers will now have an even better opportunity to be part of the Formula 1 system at an early age,” Papadopoulos said.
“Australians have proven throughout history that they can compete with the best in the world – and ultimately we believe this program will help us find the next Daniel Ricciardo or Mark Webber, and hopefully the next Australian FIA Formula 1 World Champion.
“Ferrari has a proud and wonderful history in motorsport and are arguably the team most young drivers aspire to be a part of. We are delighted to be partnering with FDA and look forward to developing a strong relationship between our two organisations.
“We can also confirm we will be making use of our existing Formula 4 cars here in Australia for this program for development and assessment purposes, given the ultimate prize is a Formula 4 drive in a European Championship with FDA.
“This partnership with Ferrari Driver Academy is a historic moment for Motorsport Australia and certainly a significant boost to the development opportunities that exist here in Australia.”
Photo: Ferrari Media
Laurent Mekies, Head of Ferrari Driver Academy said: “Today’s signing with Motorsport Australia, after the partnerships already established with the Italian Motoring Federation ACI and with Karting world powerhouse TonyKart, is a key step forward in our Scouting Strategy in order to ensure that we continue to secure the best talent of the future.
“We have a long standing relationship with our friends at Motorsport Australia, and we trust that together we will build a fantastic selection program for the region that will inspire and attract many young drivers.”
Motorsport Australia will be responsible for running the initial stages of the development program in Australia each year, with drivers aged between 14 and 17 eligible to take part. Drivers from countries named below will be eligible to take part, but will need to travel to Australia at their own cost to take part in any assessments.
A select number of the best drivers from the initial group will then be invited to continue in the next stages of the program, where Motorsport Australia and FDA will come together to determine the best two drivers of the year from our region.
Those top two drivers will then be invited to Ferrari’s Fiorano racetrack in Italy, where they will compete against drivers from academies around the world.
The winning driver from the various academies will then be offered a drive with FDA in a European Formula 4 Championship.
Countries that will be part of the Oceania Ferrari Driver Academy based in Australia include: Australia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and China.