The FIA Institute Young Driver Academy has selected the 12 drivers it wants to work with for its inaugural programme during the 2011 season.
They will now follow a programme alongside their racing commitments lasting nine months, consisting of six separate workshops of between three and five days. Alongside Wurz, rally co-driver Robert Reid’s Elite Sports Performance group will work on the physical and mental preparation.
According to the FIA Institute, “The driving elements of the course include the development of technical skills, safety training, attitudes and awareness. The human performance aspect will feature physiology, psychology, nutrition, media skills and career management.” Also fundamental to this programme is working with the youngsters to help them become ambassadors for road safety.
The evaluation in Austria involved mental and physical tests, like the ones fans and media did at Yas Marina Circuit last season, and driving exercises such as doing three laps at a similar lap time within half a second of each other. Consistency seems to have been a key requirement, which is right. Raw speed is the most important quality a driver needs, but consistency at a high level is the key to doing well at the highest levels such as F1.
Among the 12 drivers are two from Holland, one from Israel and interestingly none from the UK or Germany. The best known among the 12 is Alex Rossi, a promising American, who has raced in GP3 on the F1 European calendar and is doing World Series by Renault this year with Fortec.
The twelve to keep an eye out for this year are:
Kevin Abbring (21, Holland)
Paul-Loup Chatin (19, France);
Albert Costa (20, Spain)
Alon Day (19, Israel)
Philipp Eng (20, Austria)
Robin Frijns (19, Holland)
Timmy Hansen (18, Sweden)
Egon Kaur (23, Estonia)
Andreas Mikkelsen (21, Norway)
Alexander Rossi (19, US)
Richie Stanaway (19, New Zealand)
Stoffel Vandoorne (18, Belgium)
The first academy workshop will take place at the end of this month in Edinburgh, Scotland.