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Young drivers chosen for FIA Academy
Posted By:   |  18 Nov 2011   |  7:22 pm GMT  |  11 comments

This week twenty-nine of the world’s most promising young racing and rally drivers arrived in Austria for the Selection Event for the second year of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. Each driver was assessed over the 4-day event and 18 were chosen to take part in the year long programme.

They are:
Mohamed Al Mutawaa, 18, UAE
Klaus Bachler, 20, Austria
Andrea Bate, 22, South Africa
Craig Breen, 21, Ireland
Andrea Caldarelli, 21, Italy
Gabriel Chaves, 18, Columbia
Jonas Gelzinis, 23, Lithuania
Michael Klitgaard Christensen, 21, Denmark
Jack Le Brocq, 19, Australia
Michael Lewis, 20, USA
Alexander Lynn, 18, UK
Jose Andres Montalto, 21, Costa Rica
Ramon Pineiro, 19, Spain
Brendan Reeves, 23, Australia
Pontus Tidemand, 20, Sweden
Timo van der Marel, 22, Holland
Sepp Wiegand, 20, Germany
Lewis Williamson, 21, UK (a former McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year)

At the recent F1 young guns test in Abu Dhabi a graduate of this year’s programme, American Alex Rossi, got his chance to test an F1 car with Team Lotus. Meanwhile another graduate, Richie Stanaway, looks a very exciting prospect. The New Zealander won the German F3 championship this year and looked sharp when he had a few outings with ART in GP3 towards the end of the season, taking one win.

Over the next year, the 18 drivers chosen for the second Academy will take part in workshops covering all aspects of driver performance and safety. “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,” according to the FIA Institute.

Although this is a programme focused on racing and rally drivers, its priorities do not lie solely with raw speed. The drivers conduct tests based on mental and physical performance along with being introduced to key safety measures from the FIA Institute.

The leading examiners for the event were be former WRC co-driver Robert Reid and former Grand Prix driver and two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz.

This is the second year of the Academy, which aims to teach young drivers not just about how to improve as racers, but it carries a strong road safety message with it too, which they are encouraged to share in their home countries.

After a few years of this programme the number of drivers at the highest levels of the sport who are ambassadors for road safety will be significant.

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Good on the girl from the end of the world, South Africa. Go Andrea


Great to see Craig Breen on the list. What he did in Wales was amazing, to come from that far back in terms of points to win 13 of 17 stages was insane.

I hope to see him in WRC eventually, Ireland needs a good ambassador there, especially since it’s the main motorsport in Ireland


Good to see Alex Lynn’s name in the list. I’ve been very impressed with his performances in Formula Renault this season.


C B Smith has made a very astute observation. There is such a thing as “sportsmanship” in any competition and F-1 (as well as racing in general) should benefit from the principles being taught. Of course, there is always the ‘sport’ of cage fighting if you want to watch that.


+1…something ALL drivers should learn…it’s not a positive image to see drivers brawling after a race such as back slapping!


‘This is the second year of the Academy, which aims to teach young drivers not just about how to improve as racers, but it carries a strong road safety message with it too, which they are encouraged to share in their home countries.’

This is very good an important. In this same line of sending out safety messages, wouldn’t it make sense to get one of the big boys in the spotlight for this goal, let’s say Hamilton. Why not? He happens to have a bad reputation for his driving manners (on track and remember, also off track) and the social impact would be so much bigger!


I disagree. Lewis has been a great ambassador for the sport so give the guy a break!

I went to the Goodwood Festival of speed and it was clear from that event that Lewis has a massive fan base so he is clearly a force for good in F1 despite your negative comments. Are you a Massa fan?


The purpose of FIA’s initiative is to promote consciousness of road safety, etc. It doesn’t take a Massa fan (which I am not!) to put one and one together:

1. The bigger the fan base is, the bigger the impact send out by that driver will be.

2. Wasn’t it Hamilton who was arrested for a driving manners-incident OFF track?

3. At times Hamilton fans seem to share his agreesion and clouded judgement….


You dislike for Lewis Hamilton is obvious…clouding your objectivity it would seem in spite all the positive things Lewis does in the sport. He’s an F1 driver…not a villain.


Off track?….who was that it went round slapping another driver’s back?

And when did “driving manners” ever form part of F1 racing? This is not silver spoon racing:)

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