The first full day of the second FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars Training Camp proved intense for the eight drivers through to the fourth phase of this innovative programme for 12-16 year old girls. For some, it was their first taste of single-seaters and Formula 4 race cars, and the pressure was on to adapt to this entry-level motor sport category and show speed and on-going progression throughout the day.
Moving to a longer configuration of the Circuit Paul Ricard, a recce of the 3.8 kilometre track was an important starting point for the youngsters hoping to progress through to the penultimate stage of this talent detection programme. After a full briefing on the specifics of Formula 4 racing, the drivers took to the track for the first of four sessions in the Pirelli-equipped cars. After each session, individual video and data debriefs with the instructors gave a valuable insight into performance and areas for improvement, while also affording the jury members the opportunity to see how the young racers transferred the advice onto the track.
Stéphane Ortelli, a multiple winner in events spanning karting through to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a member of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars jury, commented: “For me it’s nice to be on the other side of a selection; I actually won a kind of academy back in 1990. Being in this position is a brilliant thing as you can bring your expertise from so many years in racing, but also you can feel what they are feeling and these girls are already showing us a very good potential. For me, what is important here is the capacity to give the chance to everybody, and this kind of selection is really really important for the future of women in motor sport.”
It was not however all about track action and a technical workshop with Ferrari engineers underlined the importance of the driver/team relationship and the value of communication and co-operation.
Arthur Leclerc, who is currently competing in Formula 3 as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, is also in attendance as a member of the jury and was the driver to set the reference lap for the youngsters to benchmark themselves against.
The Monegasque, who is currently lying second in the Formula Regional European Championship certified by the FIA, said: “It’s great to be here, it reminds me of some great memories when I was young because I did the Winfield [Racing School] two years ago. I can feel the pressure they have and how they give everything while they are on track. We need to see more women in motor sport because we want some change; I would be happy to see if a girl can reach the top level in Formula One, that would be great to see.”
FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars partner, Pirelli, delivered another crucial element of the day. The Italian tyre company has a long tradition of success in motor sport and in supporting, encouraging and helping to develop young talent both on and off the track. The workshop delivered by its engineers focused on the significance of tyre management and the role tyres play in on-track success.
The final day of the Training Camp takes place tomorrow (4 November). In accordance with the regulations of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, up to four of the drivers will be selected to attend a week-long course at the Ferrari Driver Academy in Maranello (9-13 November) where just one could be invited to join the famous Italian training academy.
Info & Photo FIA