Aurelia Nobels seals Ferrari Academy slot and F4 seat after winning Girls On Track – Rising Stars programme
A young female racer has been offered the chance to join the Ferrari Driver Academy – and a Formula 4 race seat – after winning the latest edition of the FIA's Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme.
Launched by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission to identify and nurture young female racing talents of between 12 and 16-years-old, the programme is now into its third year, and this time around 15-year-old Aurelia Nobels was victorious.
The Belgian came out on top from a field of 16 competitors who were chosen to attend training camps at the Paul Ricard Circuit, before the four finalists made it through to the grand final in Maranello, which included four days of on and off-track assessments.
Aurelia will now be offered the unique opportunity to join the Ferrari Driver Academy and compete in Formula 4 with the Iron Dames team. She becomes the third female member of the FDA following Maya Weug and Laura Camps Torras – winners of the first two editions of Rising Stars.
“I have no words to describe what I am feeling right now," she said. "I am very grateful to the FIA, the Ferrari Driver Academy and the Iron Dames for this amazing opportunity. I have definitely learnt a lot and I cannot wait to start the season.”
Marco Matassa, Head of the Ferrari Driver Academy said: “Aurelia immediately stood out in the way she managed the various stages of the programme in this edition of FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars, confirming behind the wheel the skills she had already shown during the physical and attitudinal tests.
"She beat three very competent opponents, immediately getting to grips with the Formula 4 car, a key category for a budding driver. Here at the Ferrari Driver Academy, we are ready to support her and ensure she is well prepared for the Italian series which is a unique test for the most promising youngsters. Welcome to the Academy, Aurelia, we are set to have a great time together."
Meanwhile 13-year-old Zoe Florescu Potoela has been named winner of the Junior category, which was launched last year as an extension to the original four-year programme.
Zoe, who is from Romania, will now take a spot in the 2023 OK Junior Karting Championship as a member of the Tony Kart team, supported by the Ferrari Driver Academy.
After the announcement of her victory, Zoe said: “Honestly I can’t believe it. It has been an awesome experience throughout the programme in Paul Ricard and in Franciacorta. I will give my best to honour this opportunity. Thank you so much to all who make it possible.”
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “I offer my sincere congratulations to Aurelia Nobels and Zoe Florescu Potoela as the 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars. With this success, they now have a fantastic opportunity to develop a career in motor sport.
"As we look forward to seeing the progress of these two exciting young female drivers, I also want to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy and The Iron Dames for their partnership in the success of this pioneering initiative. The fact that young female talents around the world are being recognised and supported is a very positive sign.
"The FIA is at the forefront of change when it comes to diversity, and initiatives such as Girls on Track – Rising Stars are a major part of our goal to greatly increase motor sport participation in the coming years by encouraging and supporting under-represented sections of society.”
FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President Deborah Mayer added: “I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Aurelia and Zoe for this important victory. Both impressed us with their talent, determination, and ability to progress during this thrilling finale. I am proud that our programme provides them with an opportunity to pursue their dream of a career in motor sport.
"As part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the support of Iron Dames, Aurelia has the best possible opportunity to try to reach the top levels of our sport. The same goes for Zoe, who will be able to count on the support of the FDA and will race for Tony Kart. I would also like to salute all the other participants who embarked on this journey. I hope their experience over the past months inspires them to keep working and to keep racing. Hold onto your passion and give it your all, you will get your chance again.”