RACE DEBRIEF

    Maya Weug has made history after being announced as the first ever female member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, after she came out on top in the first Girls on Track – Rising Stars initiative, run jointly by Ferrari and the FIA.

    Weug, 16, who was born in Spain to a Belgian mother and a Dutch father, beat out four other finalists – 17-year-old Doriane Pin of France, and Antonella Bassani (14) and Julia Ayoub (15), both from Brazil – to land the coveted spot in the FDA, which will see her competing in an F4 Championship season this year.

    All four underwent a series of tests to assess not only their pure speed but also their potential, at an evaluation camp which took place last week at the Scuderia's headquarters in Maranello.

    The process began with 20 drivers from five continents, before they were whittled down to a final four. And Weug, who tried a kart for the first time aged just seven – and who lists former FDA graduate Charles Leclerc as her favourite driver – eventually came out on top.

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    “I will never forget this day! I am so happy to be the first female driver to join the Ferrari Driver Academy. Winning the final stage of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme makes me realise that I was right to pursue my dream of becoming a racing driver," she said.

    "I will give my all to show the people who believed in me that I deserve to wear the Ferrari Driver Academy uniform and I can’t wait to come to Maranello to start preparing for my first season of single-seater racing.”

    FDA CAMP GIRLS ON TRACK - FIORANO 14-15/01/2021
    The four finalists at the training camp at Maranello last week

    Jean Todt, FIA President said: “This is an important moment in Maya Weug’s career, and I extend my warmest congratulations to all four drivers who reached this final selection. The FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme is key to our commitment to supporting gender diversity in our sport.

    "I would like to thank Ferrari Driver Academy [and] all our partners who have joined us in embracing such an innovative and positive initiative.”

    Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto added: “This is a key moment in the history of Scuderia Ferrari and its Academy, the FDA, set up in 2019 to shape the drivers of the future for our Formula 1 team.

    "Now, thanks to the partnership with the FIA in the Girls on Track-Rising Stars programme, for the first time, a female driver will join the Ferrari Driver Academy. She is Maya Weug and over the course of this year, she will progress along with us and also take part in one of the F4 Championships Certified by FIA, the category seen as the first step in single-seaters on the road to Formula 1.

    "Maya’s arrival is a clear indication of the Scuderia’s commitment to making motorsport increasingly inclusive, in line with the hashtag supported by the entire Formula 1 community, #weraceasone.

    "This project is therefore a new element to mark the start the year for the FDA, which is proving to be a great success: five of its 19 students have made it to Formula 1 and four of them, 20% of the entire grid, will be racing this coming season in the top level of motorsport.”

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    Marco Matassa, Head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Maya to the Ferrari Driver Academy. We were impressed with her dedication and preparation, from a physical perspective and also with her approach to competition.

    "Despite very limited experience in a single-seater, she had a good turn of speed and demonstrated a mastery of the car that meant she could immediately implement the instructions she was given. This attitude, along with the results she produced both on and off the track, as well as her open and determined personality, led us to conclude that Maya is ready to start her adventure with us at the FDA.”