Ferrari organise Maranello shoot-out for spot in Ferrari Driver Academy

Jon Wilde
Ferrari factory entrance. Maranello September 2021.

Ferrari are to stage a shoot-out between six young prospects hoping to secure just one place in their Driver Academy.

The Scuderia’s schooling system for potential future F1 racers is undergoing its latest evolution, with Mick Schumacher expected to bid farewell this year as he plots his next move – either still at, or away from, the Haas team.

Robert Shwartzman remains involved along with Charles Leclerc’s younger brother Arthur, Oliver Bearman, Dino Beganovic, Rafael Camara, James Wharton and female duo Maya Weug and Laura Camps Torras.

But there is space for one more and rather than hand-picking an individual, Ferrari are putting on a six-way showdown to see who impresses the most.

It will take place from October 24-28 and encompasses a variety of physical and mental tests, culminating with on-track action at Ferrari’s home circuit Fiorano in a Formula 4 car.

All of the sextet are between the ages of 14 and 16 and hail from five different countries on four continents.

The only European among them is Finland’s Tuukka Taponen, who is 16 years old, while Rashid Al Dhaheri (14) is from the United Arab Emirates.

Australia is the one country doubly represented with Gianmarco Pradel (16) and Jack Beeton (14), who were spotted at a scouting event in Malaysia.

Italian Formula 4 driver Emerson Fittipaldi Junior is the 15-year-old son of the two-time former World Champion and has been competing in Italian Formula 4 this year for the Van Amersfoort Racing team.

Known as Emmo Jr, he has also been a member of the Sauber Academy and is currently 23rd in the Italian F4 Championship which also features Ferrari Academy drivers Camara (third), Wharton (sixth) and Weug (14th).

In 2021, Fittipaldi Junior finished third in the Danish F4 Championship with two race victories and a further six podiums.

The sixth and final hopeful is another 15-year-old, Jess Carrasquedo of Mexico, who has competed in Spanish Formula 4 this year and is a former rival of Fittipaldi Junior in the Danish series.

Marco Matassa, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, said, quoted by Speedweek: “The scouting final is very important for us. Together with our scouting partners, we selected six youngsters from four continents and five countries, chosen solely for their talent, skills and potential, regardless of their financial situation.

“I can’t wait to welcome the finalists here in Maranello and start working with them.”

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