Despite support being pulled for the Formula 4 category in 2019, Motorsport Australia has announced a partnership with the Ferrari Driver Academy as part of Motorsport Australia’s “Centre of Excellence” to be built at Sydney Motorsport Park which is expected to start construction in the coming months which will utilise the Formula 4 chassis.
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.”
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.”
Taking responsibility for the running the initial stages of the development program in Australia each year, Motorsport Australia’s program will be open to drivers aged 14 to 17 from the countries participating in the program. However all costs will the responsibility of the drivers that wish to participate in the program, including but not limited to their travel costs.
After the initial stage, a select number of drivers will then be invited to continue on into further stages of the program where Motorsport Australia and Ferrari Driver Academy will come together to determine the best two drivers of the year from the region.
The top two drivers will then have the opportunity to head to Ferrari’s Fiorano racetrack in Italy where they will compete against drivers from the other academies located around the world.
The top driver will then be offered a drive with the Ferrari Driver Academy 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.