Ferrari and FIA have announced that a new initiative, termed as FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars, has been created that is aimed at supporting young female drivers.
FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission will be teaming up with Ferrari’s Driver Academy programme to support female drivers who intend to reach Formula 1. Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that he is happy to play a supporting role to the International Governing Body.
“We are really pleased to be collaborating with the FIA in this innovative Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme. We are firm believers in the value of helping youngsters develop in motor sport,” commented the Swiss-Italian.
The initiative aims to support female racing drivers, aged between 12 and 16 with the most promising youngsters receiving the chance of joining the Ferrari Racing Academy.
The initiative has already started and FIA’s 145 national authorities have nominated young female drivers for the programme. FIA and Ferrari have already selected twenty drivers from five continents who will participate in a shoot-out session at the Paul Ricard circuit in October.
“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.”
Up to now, five female racing drivers have entered at least one Grand Prix, although only two of them ever qualified and started a race. The first woman to take place in a Formula 1 race was Maria Teresa de Filippis who completed a total of three races for Maserati and Behra-Porsche. The Italian’s best result was a tenth place in the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
Three other women have taken part in Formula 1 events since, but none of them managed to qualify for the race. Divina Galicia drove for Surtees and Hesketh in the 70s, Desire Wilson for Williams in 1980. The Italian Giovanna Amati also entered on three race weekends with Brabham in 1992, but she also failed to qualify for the races.
Binotto hopes that the new initiative can help young female drivers to show their talent. “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," he concluded.