Australian candidate selected for potential Ferrari academy berth

Alice Buckley

Gold Coast-based kart racer Alice Buckley has been selected as Australia’s candidate for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme which could see her join the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Buckley will be one of 20 young female racers who will take part in a Shootout at France’s Paul Ricard Circuit in October, the start of a process which will eventually see one potentially land a seat in a Formula 4 championship as a Ferrari junior.

“To be selected by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission as Australia’s representative in the programme is a real honour,” said the 12-year-old.

“Having the possible opportunity to be a part of the Ferrari Driver Academy at the end of the programme is an amazing dream.

“I’m really excited about training hard to make the most of the opportunity.”

The initiative, a collaboration between the FIA and Ferrari, is designed to promote female talent and has been hailed by Jessica Dane, chair of the Australian Women in Motorsport Commission and Australian delegate to the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.

“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,” said Dane.

“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.”

Karting Australia Chief Executive Officer Kelvin O’Reilly and Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca also congratulated Buckley on the call-up.

“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’,” said O’Reilly.

“We look forward to seeing her make the most of her opportunity with the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program.”

Arocca added, “We’re delighted to hear Alice was chosen for this very exciting programme which will certainly give her a chance to showcase her skills and represent Australia with pride.

“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.”

Buckley began in karting at the age of seven and has raced at national level for the past three years, including the 2018 Race of Stars when she was fastest qualifier in her class.

In 2019, she received the Bridgestone Supercup award, as the Cadet or Junior driver who shows a high level of consistency, sportsmanship, respect and improvement.

The FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, for girls aged 12 to 16, begins at the Winfield Racing School at Paul Ricard on October 12-13.

From there, the top 12 will attend karting and F4 training camps, after which four will go on to a one-week course at the Ferrari Driver Academy in November.

According to the FIA’s announcement, “Subject to final assessment of the racing talent, the best of the four drivers could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy programme for an FIA Formula 4 season in 2021.”

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