India’s search for a driver to break into Formula 1 in a meaningful way has received a boost after Akhil Rabindra, 17, beat rivals from across Asia-Pacific to top his regional qualifier and progress to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.
The 17-year-old will now take part in the academy’s fully-funded training programme, which starts in December. It aims to help drivers develop their motorsport careers while increasing safety skills.
Ahead of this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, Rabindra impressed in three days of tests and evaluations at the Sydney Motorsport Park against drivers from a number of major motorsport markets including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
The Indian will be joined by the winners from the other regional qualifiers – Ignas Gelzinis (Europe), Abdullah Bamogaddam (Middle East), Kevin van der Linde (Africa), Diego Ferreira (Americas) – as well as three additional wild cards.
Rabindra said: “I am honoured to have been selected. I’d like to thank the FIA Institute, CAMS and India’s FMSCI for making this possible. I’m looking forward to taking on the other drivers from across the world and I hope to learn a lot from the Academy.”
The 17-year-old started racing just three years ago when he took part in the Rotax Max Junior National Rookie Championship, finishing second. The following year, he was part of the top 25 finalists for Force Inda’s One from a Billion search for new racing talent. He is currently competing in the JK Racing India Series, formerly Formula BMW Asia.