As from today, six youngsters from the Netherlands, Italy, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines, Brazil and Colombia will be giving their all in the hope of securing a place in the 2024 Ferrari Driver Academy line-up. The FDA was set up in 2009 with the aim of finding talented youngsters who might one day drive for the Scuderia in Formula 1, with current driver Charles Leclerc one of its alumni. This is the fourth year it has organised the Scouting World Finals.

The candidates. The six youngsters were selected through events run in conjunction with the Academy’s scouting partners, which every year monitors hundreds of drivers in a many championships at circuits around the world. The aforementioned partners are Tony Kart and ACI Sport for Europe, Motorsport Australia for the entire Asia-Pacific region and Escuderia Telmex for Latin America. This year, there are two candidates from the Old Continent, both born in 2008: René, son of one-time Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers. He impressed at a camp a few months back in Fiorano and enjoyed a strong 2003 season, winning the OK karting class, as well as finishing runner-up in the World Championship.  Emanuele Olivieri, also racing in the OK kart class, selected by ACI sport as one of the most promising young Italians. Motorsport Australia’s hard work has resulted in two youngsters from countries that have never featured in the World Finals, from the Philippines Williams Go, also born in 2008, also racing in OK karts and Enzo Yeh from Taipei who won two Asian karting championships in 2023 as well as tackling test sessions in Formula 4. Escuderia Telmex has selected Brazil’s Pedro Clerot, born in 2007. In 2022 he won the Brazilian Formula 4 championship and this year he competed in the Spanish and UAE series in the same category. Also from Latin America, the Colombian Pedro Juan Moreno, born in 2007 who has just taken the NACAM Formula 4 title with one round remaining, which he will have to miss as it takes place this coming weekend as part of the Mexico City Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend.

Headquarters. All the youngsters arrived yesterday in the afternoon at the Scuderia’s headquarters at Via Enzo Ferrari 27 in Maranello where they were met by the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Marco Matassa and his colleagues. They will now face a series of tests to evaluate their physical abilities, attitude, mental suitability for the life of a racing driver, as well as other important aspects, such as how to deal with sponsors and the media. On Thursday they will see Fiorano for the first time as they go on a track walk, prior to the highlight of the event on Friday and Saturday when they tackle a race simulation at the wheel of a Formula 4 car provided by the Prema team, fitted with the tyres used in the Italian championship, supplied by another Ferrari scouting partner, Pirelli.

Target time. Supporting the youngsters and on hand to help with the evaluation process will be Tuukka Taponen, winner of last year’s FDA Scouting World Finals, who came second in this year’s UAE F4 series, as well as racing in Italian Formula 4 and Euro4, with five wins, four pole positions and 14 podium finishes to his name. Tuukka will also act as the reference driver, first out on track on both days to set lap times for the others to aim for.

Evaluation and selection. Once the camp is over, the FDA engineers will analyse all the data to compare the candidates. They will be looking not just at their pure speed, but also how they managed the race weekend simulation, their ability to learn and their performance curve, taking into account that those coming from karting have less experience of a Formula 4 car than those who have raced in single-seaters all season. Therefore it is a process that takes several days eventually culminating in the selection of a winner, who will go on to join the Academy and take on a very demanding but ambitious  programme with a Ferrari Formula 1 cockpit a long way off on the horizon.

‘The start of the FDA Scouting World Finals is always a particularly exciting moment for all of us. We are delighted to open the doors of our headquarters to these promising youngsters and we wish them all the best. We hope that again this year, we will find a candidate worthy of joining us, to join the likes of Oliver Bearman, Rafael Camara and Tuukka Taponen.
I want to thank all our scouting partners, whose expertise has allowed to attain a very high level in terms of selection. The FDA programme just would not happen without Tony Kart, ACI Sport, Motorsport Australia and Escuderia Telmex.
I can’t wait to get to work with René, Emanuele, William, Enzo, Pedro e Pedro Juan. My advice to them is first and foremost to enjoy the experience and to show us what they are made of. Good luck to all of them!’

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