Williams add two more youngsters to Driver Academy for 2024 season
Williams have announced the signing of former French F4 champion Alessandro Giusti and karting star Sara Matsui to their Driver Academy in the build-up to the 2024 season.
Frenchman Giusti, 17, joins the Academy following his debut season in the Formula Regional European Championship, where he secured three wins and four podiums to finish sixth in the drivers’ standings.
After a successful karting career, he made the move to single-seaters in 2021 by taking on the French Formula 4 Championship, initially placing sixth in the standings, before becoming champion the following year with two wins, six pole positions and 12 podiums.
Williams have confirmed that Giusti will compete in the Formula Regional European Championship once more in 2024, this time representing the established ART Grand Prix squad.
Matsui, meanwhile, is a 13-year-old karter from Japan who joins the Driver Academy as a 2022 Girls on Track Rising Stars Finalist.
She has competed in several national karting series, including the 2021 JAF Kart Championship FR-Jr Cadets and the 2022 JAF Kart Championship FP-Jr, finishing third overall in both.
In 2023, Matsui attended the Honda Racing School, competed in categories such as the JAF Local Kart Championship FS-125/X30 Division and the GPR Karting Junior class, and finished eighth out of 24 global competitors in the OK-N Junior Champions of the Future Academy Program.
During the upcoming season, Matsui will drive in the OKJ class with Kart Republic, as well as competing in the 2024 Champions of the Future Academy supported by F1 Academy.
Williams also explained that Giusti and Matsui “will have the team’s full support and guidance as they continue to develop and build skills throughout their motorsport careers”.
Williams Racing Sporting Director Sven Smeets said the outfit were “delighted” with their latest signings and “look forward to supporting their development” going forward.
“Alessandro has demonstrated great ability behind the wheel in both French F4 and last year in FRECA, with impressive performances in qualifying and races,” he commented.
“Sara is one of the rising stars in karting, delivering promising results in her home country of Japan and being a 2022 Girls on Track Rising Stars Finalist.”
Giusti said: “I’m so excited to be joining the Williams Racing Driver Academy. It really feels special to be joining such a prestigious Formula 1 team. I cannot wait to start this journey and work closely with the team on my development.”
Matsui added: “It’s an honour to be part of the Williams Racing Driver Academy and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be working with such an historic team. I’m looking forward to building my experience in Europe and I can’t wait for the season to start!”
Williams’ Driver Academy, which has so far yielded four F1 graduates in Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi, Jack Aitken and Logan Sargeant, also recently added American racer Lia Block to the programme as she gets set to represent the team on the 2024 F1 Academy grid.