Ferrari Academy open for 2022 applicants

Australian James Wharton is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Picture: Ferrari Driver Academy

Applications have opened for this year’s Ferrari Driver Academy, a programme run by Motorsport Australia in the Asia Pacific and Oceania region.

The programme is open to racers aged 14 to 17 with an event to be held at the Sepang circuit, former host to the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, in September.

A total of 24 slots are available for applicants from the region for the three-day event which will evaluate driving, fitness and media skills.

Two representatives from that will then proceed to the Scuderia’s Maranello base where they’ll compete against their counterparts from other regions for a spot in the academy.

“The goal of the academy is quite simple really and it’s to source drivers who may be able to win one day with Scuderia Ferrari – it may sound trivial but that is the only reason why we have an academy,” explained Ferrari’s Racing Director, Laurent Mekies – who accepted the victory trophy on behalf of the team in Austria on Sunday.

“The first thing that comes after the goal of the Academy is how we think the driver can grow because we believe in growth and we believe that by providing the boys and girls with the right environment, we will develop their skills.

“But it’s not just their general skills, we believe they will go faster because we invest a lot of our energy to create an environment where we enhance their culture to make them blend with our world.

“The Academy is a strategic key program for us. It is close to our values, it’s a way to give back to the sport and it’s a way to make sure we have the best drivers available in a few years’ time.

“It’s actually a very tricky exercise to select young kids for the Academy because even though we have a very structured scouting program, which involves testing 10 of the best young drivers from around the world for the final, we only get them in Fiorano for a week, which is a very small picture.

“It’s also a picture of where they are only now, so we try to detect their potential and not so much who’s going the fastest now, because who knows what’s going to be the case in five years.

“It is all about who has within themselves the potential to develop.”

Australian James Wharton won the first world scouting finals in 2020, and has been competing in the Italian and German Formula 4 Championships with Prema Racing – the squad which took Oscar Piastri to title success in Formula 3 and Formula 2.

Applications close on August 10, with the Sepang event scheduled for September 25-28.

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