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FIA Institute shortlists young driver academy finalists 21 Jan 2011

Third placed Robin Frijns (NDL) Josef Kaufmann Racing celebrates winning the championship. Formula BMW Europe, Rds 12 & 13, Monza, Italy, 10-12 September 2010. Albert Costa (ESP) Raikkonen Robertson Racing. British Formula 3 Championship, Rd1&2, Oulton Park, England, 7-9 April 2007. Philipp Eng (AUT). FIA Formula Two Championship, Rd9, Valencia, Spain. Friday 17 September 2010. Hamad Al Fardan (BRN) GFH Team iSport. GP2 Asia Series, Rd 5, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday 2 April 2009. Alexander Rossi (USA) BMW Sauber F1 Team F1.09 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain.

The FIA Institute has chosen the 19 drivers who will take part in a three-day shootout to decide who will make it onto the organisation’s inaugural Young Driver Excellence Academy. The shortlist is made up of young talents from all over the world, including competitors from Bahrain, France, Spain, Israel, the UK, Estonia, Norway, the USA and New Zealand.

Amongst the 19 are a number of current series champions, including the titleholders from Formula BMW Europe, the F4 Eurocup series and ADAC Formel Masters. They are joined by event winners from the Super 2000 and Junior World Rally Championships and a number of drivers with Formula One testing experience.

"This is a trial year for the Academy programme but we are already thrilled by the positive response we've received so far,” said Richard Woods, FIA Institute Director General. “We are pleased to be able to help young competitors at this important stage of their development and to do so in a way that ensures that safety is always at the forefront throughout their careers."

Only 10 of the shortlisted drivers will be chosen to join the academy programme. To succeed they will have to demonstrate their ability over three days of driving and non-driving assessments. Of the final list of drivers chosen to take part, at least one driver will be selected from each of the FIA Institute's five funding regions: North, Central and South America; Western and Northern Europe; Central and Eastern Europe; Middle East and Africa; and Asia and Oceania.

The FIA Institute has teamed up with former Formula One star and two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz and former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid to lead the academy selection process and training programme. At the selection event, which will be held from February 6-8 in Melk, Austria, they will lead exercises designed to evaluate fitness and performance, media techniques, teamwork and psychology.

“I am delighted that so many young talented drivers have applied to participate in the first ever FIA Institute Academy,” said Wurz. “It demonstrates that this type of training, focussing as much on the classroom as on the track, is highly desirable for young competitors looking to develop and progress their careers in motor sport."

Reid added: "It is great to see so many applications from such a diverse background all over the world. We're really looking forward to meeting those selected for the shootout in Austria and putting them through their paces."

The primary goals of the academy are to prepare young drivers to compete at the pinnacle of the sport; to increase skills in the area of driver and road safety; and to actively promote the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility both on and off the track. The academy programme is fully funded by the FIA Foundation, and managed by the FIA Institute, as part of the Motor Sport Safety Development Fund's Young Driver Safety Programme.

"The Academy programme aims to ensure that our future stars are not just quick but also have the education and attitude that you need to succeed at the very top level,” concluded Professor Sid Watkins, FIA Institute President. “Alex and Robert have done just that and their contribution is invaluable to this important project."

The driver shortlist:
Kevin Abbring, 21, Netherlands
Hamad Ahmed Al Fardan, 23, Bahrain
Paul-Loup Chatin, 19, France
Albert Costa, 20, Spain
Alon Day, 19, Israel
Philipp Eng, 20, Austria
Robin Frijns, 19, Netherlands
Adam Gould, 23, UK
Timmy Hansen, 18, Sweden
Egon Kaur, 23, Estonia
Andreas Mikkelsen, 21, Norway
Josef Newgarden, 20, USA
Norman Nato, 18, France
Alexander Rossi, 19, USA
Jan Skala, 19,Czech Republic
Richie Stanaway, 19, New Zealand
Molly Taylor, 22, Australia
Stoffel Vandoorne, 18, Belgium
Joni Wiman, 17, Finland

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