Ferrari Driver Academy to establish Australian base

The Ferrari Driver Academy will team up with Motorsport Australia to establish an Asia-Pacific base in Sydney.

Ferrari Driver Academy to establish Australian base

The FDA's Asia-Pacific arm will be run by Motorsport Australia out of its new Centre of Excellence, which is part of a state government-funded $33 million upgrade to Sydney Motorsport Park.

Construction of the Centre of Excellence is set to begin in the coming lights.

Motorsport Australia will run a yearly FDA development programme open to drivers aged 14-17 from 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.

The chassis from the now-defunct Australian Formula 4 Championship, which are owned by Motorsport Australia, will be used to evaluate the young talent.

The best two drivers from the programme will then head to Italy to compete against drivers from other arms of the academy for a seat in the European Formula 4 Championship.

"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," said FDA boss Laurent Mekies.

“We have a long-standing relationship with our friends at Motorsport Australia, and we trust that together we will build a fantastic selection programme for the region that will inspire and attract many young drivers.”

Motorsport Australia president Andrew Papadopoulos said the programme provides an opportunity to foster the next generation of Aussie F1 talent.

“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 programme 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.

“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.”

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Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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