Ferrari and the FIA have launched a new initiative to find and support the best young female racing drivers, it was announced on Thursday.
Called the Girls on Track – Rising Stars initiative, the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission will work with the Ferrari Driver Academy to support female drivers between the ages of 12 and 16 as they aim to make a career in motorsport.
As part of the scheme, the FDA intends to sign two drivers who, over a four-year period, will receive educational support and an entry in a national Formula 4 championship.
“We are really pleased to be collaborating with the FIA in this innovative Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme,” he said. “We are firm believers in the value of helping youngsters develop in motor sport.
“The FDA has been operating for over a decade now, not just purely and simply selecting the best drivers, but also working on their cultural, technical and ethical education. With this in mind, we felt we had to make a further effort to expand our area of operation to include female youngsters who want to get on in motor sport.
“Although there is no actual barrier to their participation, we are aware that it is harder for women to progress in this field. That’s why we have responded enthusiastically to the FIA initiative and we believe that we can help introduce even more young women to this fantastic sport.
“Who knows, maybe one day we will once again see a woman competing in a Formula 1 World Championship race for the first time since 1976.”
Already, the programme is under way, with the FIA’s 145 national authorities nominating young drivers, from which twenty girls across five continents have been selected to compete in a shoot-out at the Circuit Paul Ricard in October.
Twelve drivers will move onto the next round, attending karting and F4 training camps before the field is narrowed to four, who will subsequently attend a one-week course at the Ferrari Driver Academy in November.
From those four, F1 will be hoping to find its first female competitor since Lella Lombardi raced in the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix.