Ferrari has joined forces with Motorsport Australia to help unearth the next generation of Asia-Pacific racing talent.
The Scuderia may have rejected one Aussie in the form of Daniel Ricciardo in favour of signing Carlos Sainz next year, but they have shown that they may still want a driver from Down Under to race for them in future.
They are also casting their net out to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and China as Motorsport Australia will run a programme for drivers (aged between 14 and 17) from these countries on an annual basis at the Centre of Excellence in Sydney.
The two best drivers from this programme may then have a shot at joining the European Formula 4 Championship in Italy.
“Today’s signing with Motorsport Australia, after the partnerships already established with the Italian Motoring Federation ACI and with Karting world powerhouse TonyKart, is a key step forward in our Scouting Strategy in order to ensure that we continue to secure the best talent of the future,” said FDA boss Laurent Mekies.
“We have a long-standing relationship with our friends at Motorsport Australia, and we trust that together we will build a fantastic selection programme for the region that will inspire and attract many young drivers.”
Motorsport Australia president Andrew Papadopoulos added: “Our up-and-coming open wheel drivers will now have an even better opportunity to be part of the Formula 1 system at an early age.
“Australians have proven throughout history that they can compete with the best in the world – and ultimately we believe this programme will help us find the next Daniel Ricciardo or Mark Webber, and hopefully the next Australian FIA Formula 1 World Champion.
“Ferrari has a proud and wonderful history in motorsport and are arguably the team most young drivers aspire to be a part of.
“We are delighted to be partnering with FDA and look forward to developing a strong relationship between our two organisations.
“This partnership with Ferrari Driver Academy is a historic moment for Motorsport Australia and certainly a significant boost to the development opportunities that exist here in Australia.”
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