Ferrari’s driver academy is underway for 2022

As Ferrari reveals the latest intake at its driver academy, Marcus Armstrong is no longer part of the programme, whilst Callum Ilott is on a “gap year” as he heads to IndyCar.

The Ferrari Driver Academy, the programme established in 2009 with the aim of bringing on talented young drivers to eventually race in F1 for Scuderia Ferrari, began its 13th academic year this morning in Maranello.

Nine drivers make up this year’s intake at the academy, although only seven of them were in Maranello this morning. Given leave of absence were Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman, the most experienced pair, as they are working with their respective F1 teams, Haas in the case of the German, while the Russian is busy in his capacity as test driver for Ferrari.

Before their first workshop got underway, 2021 FDA housemates, Arthur Leclerc, Dino Beganovic, Maya Weug and James Wharton, helped the new intake at the Gestione Sportiva settle in and overcome their first day nerves. They are Oliver Bearman and Rafael Camara, both chosen at the second FDA Scouting World Finals and Laura Camps Torras, the second ever girl to join the Academy, having been selected through the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme.

Marco Matassa, the head of the FDA was joined by Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto and racing director, Laurent Mekies to welcome the students. This week the drivers will tackle the usual first camp of the year, spending four days covering a wide range of topics: race engineering, nutrition, how to make decisions under pressure, the new FIA sporting regulations, as well as various psychological and physical tests, sports activities and a day karting at the Franciacorta Karting track with Tony Kart, a long time part of the FDA’s scouting programme.

In 2022, the nine academy drivers will tackle various series. While Schumacher and Shwartzman will have their F1 commitments, there will be no Maranello drivers in Formula 2 this year, as Marcus Armstrong’s time at the Academy has come to an end.

Callum Ilott is on a ‘gap year’, racing in IndyCar, which falls outside the workable scope of the FDA as it would not be able to offer adequate support to the Englishman.

Two students will race in Formula 3. For Arthur Leclerc, this will be a second year in the category in which he made a strong start last year, taking two wins, a podium finish and a pole position. This year he is expected to be a title contender. His team-mate in the Prema team will be Oliver Bearman, who dominated Formula 4 in 2021, winning the Italian and German titles in the top two series in the world in this category. He took 17 wins and ten pole positions. Based on this excellent performance, it was decided that the Englishman, born in 2005, should skip Formula Regional, tackling instead one of the most competitive championships in the world.

Dino Beganovic will once again race in the European Formula Regional championship. In 2021 with the Prema team, the Swede made clear progress and in the final races of the year he was regularly fighting for the wins. In fact, in Monza, he seemed to be heading for victory until a ridiculous move from another driver took him out with two laps remaining. This year, he expects to be fighting for the title and in this quest, once this Academy session is over, he will head for Abu Dhabi to compete in Formula Regional Asia, starting on 22 and 23 January. The Swede will take part in the entire series which ends in mid-February, before returning for the more competitive European series. Leclerc will join him in the Middle East and for the final two rounds so too will Bearman.

Three Ferrari Driver Academy students will race in Formula 4, mainly in the Italian series, which is the most competitive, combined with a few incursions in selected races in the German series. They are Maya Weug, in her second year in the category, James Wharton, the Australian who won the first FDA Scouting World Finals, and Rafael Camara, chosen this year. Laura Camps Torras who won the second edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, will race karts while also trying her hand in a Formula 4 car, the usual single-seater starter category, just as Wharton did last year.

“The 2022 Ferrari Driver Academy intake starts its journey today,” said Mattia Binotto. “It’s always a significant day for the girls and boys involved and also for Scuderia Ferrari, because this programme is an important part of what #essereFerrari means.

“The FDA’s role is not simply to get the best out of the most talented youngsters and lead them to race our cars in Formula 1, it is also about forming people and drivers who are able to make the most of the values that Scuderia Ferrari represents.

“This year, seven young men and two young women will work towards their ultimate goal of racing in Formula 1. In 2022, 20% of the F1 grid is made up of past and present FDA students. The dream for them and for us is to do the same as Charles Leclerc, who is about to start his fourth season racing for the Scuderia. I wish each and every one of them the best of luck as they progress through the season, which I am sure they will tackle with the will to learn and above all with a smile, because being a racing driver is one of the best jobs in the world.”

“For the Ferrari Driver Academy, the start of a new season is a serious moment,” added Marco Matassa, head of the academy, “even more so this year. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s wonderful to be able to again open the doors of the Gestione Sportiva to our youngsters. We will be looking after nine students and will support them with our experience, helping them to make their way in the ultra-competitive environment of single-seater racing.

“In 2021, we sowed the seeds, with many of our youngsters tackling their category for the first time and I expect that this year we will see them blossom. We want to see more wins and our drivers fighting for the title in at least two categories.

“I also want to wish our new intake – Oliver, Rafael and Laura – the very best of luck. They definitely have what it takes and I expect them to confirm the quality of our selection process, based on partnerships with ACI, Tony Kart, Escuderia Telmex and Motorsport Australia, as well as the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme which we believe in strongly.”

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