FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars gathers even greater momentum | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars gathers even greater momentum

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24.03.21

Following the success of the first edition of the FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme, the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission is delighted to announce an extension to its contract with Ferrari and a new partnership with the Iron Dames project.

The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s innovative programme to detect and nurture the female racing talent of the future has gained further endorsement following the success of the first edition of FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars.
 
The Commission is proud to announce that Ferrari is extending its agreement with the FIA, to potentially have four female drivers become members of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA). In addition, Deborah Mayer’s unique Iron Dames women in motor sport project has become a main partner of the programme, adding yet further value.
 
“This is really fantastic news for young female racers,” said Michèle Mouton, President of the Women in Motorsport Commission. “To potentially have four FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars drivers, instead of two, as members of the Ferrari Driver Academy is incredible. The Commission has been working so hard for more than a decade to secure support and help open doors for young racers, and to have this endorsement by Ferrari and Deborah [Mayer] is the realisation of a dream. I feel our work has moved to a new level with the best possible conditions for our young racers. Deborah is a passionate supporter of women in motor sport, her motivation is so strong and to be partnering with her Iron Dames project in this way is another huge step towards getting women to the top levels of the sport.”
 
Adding to Mouton’s comments, FIA President, Jean Todt said: “Girls on Track – Rising Stars is a very important programme for the FIA as we strive towards even greater gender diversity in our sport. This additional commitment by Ferrari, as well as the partnership with Deborah Mayer and her Iron Dames initiative, is a significant development for the female racing talent of the future. I would like to thank them for their support and shared vision.”
 
The inaugural edition of FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars, which concluded in January, saw Maya Weug become the first female member of the Ferrari Driver Academy after months of on and off track assessment during a shoot-out, two separate training camps and the final FDA Scouting Camp. Her journey through the Academy and into Formula 4 racing began in early February, when she joined seven young men in Maranello, Italy for the start of the new Academy year.
 
The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s initial four-year agreement with Ferrari and its Driver Academy spanned 2020-2023, with talent searches, training camps and the final FDA Scouting Camps taking place in 2020 and 2021 - where one driver could be selected to join the Academy each year. This was to be followed by two years of development support for the driver selected by the Academy in both years.
 
Now, however, the programme has been extended to include two additional seasons and FDA Scouting Camps, in 2022 and 2023, which will potentially result in a total of four female drivers becoming members of the Ferrari Driver Academy under the same conditions.
 
Laurent Mekies, Scuderia Ferrari Racing Director, said: “Over the past few months, after the conclusion of the first edition of the "FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars" programme in Maranello, we have received a tremendous amount of support from all over the world. It is fantastic to see the positive energy that this programme has generated, and we are aware of our responsibilities, together with the FIA, to continue to ensure its growth and to always increase the opportunities for women around the world to engage with motor racing. In this context it is with great pleasure that we welcome Iron Dames and Deborah Mayer as a long-term partner of the Ferrari Driver Academy for the "FIA's Girls on Track - Rising Stars" programme. We will be aiming to best support Maya in this first year of racing with Deborah's team in the Italian F4 Championship certified by FIA.”
 
Joining this extended agreement is Deborah Mayer and her Iron Dames project. A passionate French driver and promoter of women in motor sport, Mayer has once again reaffirmed her commitment to supporting female talent by partnering FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars. The four selected Ferrari Driver Academy drivers will all be afforded a season in the Italian F4 Championship in cars run by Iron Lynx under the banner of the Iron Dames. Alongside her schooling at the Academy, 16-year-old Maya Weug will kick off this campaign this season with a full test and race programme in the seven round FIA Italian F4 Championship, spanning May to October in three different countries.
 
“We are honoured and incredibly proud to be working with Ferrari Driver Academy and the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission on this amazing project that will allow us to support the next generation of promising female racers,” commented Deborah Mayer, project leader of the Iron Dames. “We are looking forward to the year ahead, not only by providing Maya with a competitive car in her debut season in the Italian Formula 4 Championship, but also top notch technical support. What’s more we are also looking forward to getting to know many more young female talents through the partnership,” she concluded.
 
The first Iron Dames crew of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Manuela Gostner is already supported by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. After two highly successful seasons in the European Le Mans Series, and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the crew will now be stepping up to the FIA World Endurance Championship as one of two all-female entries. Mayer’s commitment to providing concrete support to female racers now sees the Iron Dames project strengthen its pledge by expanding from endurance racing into single-seaters.
 
Maya’s Italian F4 campaign started in March with pre-season testing ahead of the first round of the series at Paul Ricard, France on 16 May. With three races at each of the seven circuits on the 2021 calendar, it will be a steep learning curve for the youngster in her debut season in F4, particularly in a  field that often attracts over 30 drivers from around the world.
 
The second edition of FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars will be launched shortly, with a call for talented young racers to be nominated by the FIA’s national sporting authorities around the world.