Australian Alice Buckley will represent Australia as part of the new FIA Girls On Track - Rising Star program, which could see the youngster join Scuderia Ferrari’s Formula 4 program in Europe in 2021.
Buckley will join a select group of 12-16-year-old females from across the globe chosen for the program.
The young karting prodigy will join the rest of the Rising Star group in Europe in October, as the program begins with a ‘shootout’ at Circuit Paul Ricard.
From there, 12 drivers will be selected to undergo two different karting and Formula 4 focused training camps in October and November. Just four drivers will then be selected to attend a one-week course at the Ferrari Driver Academy also in November. Out of the final four, the best driver may then be selected to join the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) program, with a seat potentially on offer in the FIA Formula 4 season in 2021.
Buckley was understandably excited to be part of the exciting FIA Women’s Commission initiative, and was one of just 20 selected worldwide.
"I am very excited to be selected into this program because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to take it. Getting this opportunity makes me feel like I am on the right track for racing,” Buckley said.
"When I found out that I had been selected, my first thought was that I need to go to the gym and I need to work really hard in my preparation for this. I have also started learning some sentences in French too!"
"I am very grateful for the assistance I have received, especially from my mum and dad, who have given me the chance to compete and made sure everything happens the way it's supposed too.
“I would also like to thank my sponsors and supporters for their financial, emotional and physical support."
Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca congratulated Buckley on her selection in the innovative program.
“We’re delighted to hear Alice was chosen for this very exciting program which will certainly give her a chance to showcase her skills and represent Australia with pride,” Arocca said.
“On behalf of everyone at Motorsport Australia, we congratulate Alice and her family, and wish her all the very best as an FIA Girls On Track Rising Star. We will certainly be following her progress very closely back here in Australia.”
Alice’s inclusion in the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program is a highlight for Karting Australia Chief Executive Officer Kelvin O’Reilly.
“Alice is a great ambassador for Australian karting and she continues to develop into a top level driver while she and other great young Australian female talent show everyone out there that ‘Girls Race Too’. We look forward to seeing her make the most of her opportunity with the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program,” said O’Reilly.
For chair of the Australian Women in Motorsport Commission and Australian delegate to the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, Jess Dane, the continued increased recognition and opportunities for females within motorsport is exciting.
“A development pathway like this is a fantastic way to not only provide opportunities to girls who might not otherwise get them, but also to make it a very real possibility of seeing one of them in Formula 1 or another top tier championship in five to 10 years’ time," Dane explained.
"The more women that are visible in the sport, the more we will show future generations that motorsport is for everyone. I’m incredibly excited for Alice and can’t wait to see her progress.”
As well as support from the FIA, the Rising Star program is also backed by global racing brands Scuderia Ferrari and Pirelli.
Michèle Mouton, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission was extremely positive about the program’s prospects.
“FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars is another immense step forward at the grassroots level of the sport and, with manufacturer partners, we have a really concrete opportunity to find, develop and support young women drivers,” Mouton said.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto said: “We are firm believers in the value of helping youngsters develop in motorsport. 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 motorsport”.
Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli, Mario Isola said: “Pirelli has been sustaining young drivers’ programs for many years and has been involved with the FIA in several campaigns focused on sustainability and safety. FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars brings together all of the best of these points and has got many characteristics to write an important page on motorsport history”.