Driver coaching may remain something of an untapped trade in Formula 1, but the next generation of drivers are set to benefit from an interesting new online initiative launched in America this week which will see some of the country’s biggest racing names lend their advice to up-and-coming stars.
The SAFEisFAST.com website is run by the US-based Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), whose members are some of the most successful racing names from America and Europe such as Dario Franchitti and Chip Ganassi. The site is supported by a grant from the FIA Institute and already offers online video tutorials across the spectrum of the skillset needed to be a top racing driver, including mental skills, fitness and race craft. Now, in a new feature to be rolled out over the forthcoming months, a series of high-profile driver instructors will take it in turns every two weeks to answers the questions of young drivers in online posts.
Current Indy Lights Champion Josef Newgarden is first up on a schedule of drivers that includes four-time IndyCar champion Franchitti and JR Hildebrand. The project is supported by the FIA Foundation and former Jaguar F1 chief Bobby Rahal, the president of the RRDC, believes the drivers of tomorrow will benefit from direct input from the star names.
“SAFE is FAST started as a series of free young driver workshops three years ago,” he said. “The workshops were highly successful and we quickly realised that we had created something of great value to today’s racers. Moving our coursework online through a series of video tutorials was a logical step – and will benefit drivers from around the world. Our latest program takes that one step further by offering one-on-one time with top drivers from a variety of disciplines.”
Further additional features to be rolled out on the website between now and September include lessons on car set-up, working with the media and nutrition.