Bianchi becomes first member of Ferrari Driver Academy 18 Dec 2009
Ferrari have set up a new driver academy to find and support talented young drivers from around the world, with the eventual aim of getting them into the Formula One arena. The first youngster to be selected for the programme is Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who won this year's Formula Three Euroseries and made his F1 debut with Ferrari in the recent Jerez test session.
According to Ferrari, the programme is based on a different philosophy to other similar schemes. A group of young drivers will be selected and then supported as they progress, not just in terms of their racing activity, but also their personal and professional development.
"This programme has a very clear goal: to help youngsters develop to the point where, one day, they could fly the Ferrari flag in the Formula One world championship," said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. "We plan to take an original approach, covering every angle with them, so that they are as well prepared as possible to tackle every aspect of modern day motorsport."
Those selected for the project, to be run by Luca Baldisserri, will evolve gradually over a period of several years, starting with kart racing and continuing through the intermediate formulae, before finally reaching the goal of Formula One racing. Playing an important part in the initiative will be Italian motorsport body, the ACI-CSAI, which will collaborate through its race school at Vallelunga.