British racing driver Will Stevens has been taken under the wing of the Caterham F1 Team as they today announced him at the latest young driver to join the Caterham Racing Academy.
The World Series by Renault front-runner will now receive the Leafield squad’s support to enhance his prospects at gaining a seat in Formula One. This will include a focus on physical and mental preparation as well as the important exposure and prestige that comes with joining a Formula One team’s ranks.
The academy, set up to develop young talent in to future Grand Prix drivers, is similar in nature to the Ferrari Driver Academy and Red Bull Junior programme, which saw Jules Bianchi and the current Toro Rosso pairing make the step up to F1, and Caterham are looking to emulate this by also finding a high calibre of talent.
Twenty-one year old Stevens has been a well known name in racing since his karting days when he was the European and Asia-Pacific Champion in 2008. Since then he has moved on to Formula Renault 2.0 and more recently the 3.5 World Series.
It is also not unfamiliar territory for the young Brit, who was taken on by Honda in a similar project in 2008. However with the Japanese manufacturer pulling out of Formula One at the end of that year Stevens was cast out and having to find an alternative route in to F1.
“I’m very pleased to be joining Caterham Racing Academy. It’s a great program and one I’m sure will help me continue to develop, particularly with the access I’ll now have to the F1 team and all the facilities at Leafield. It’ll be an honour to race as part of the Academy and I’m excited about starting the program as soon as possible,” said Stevens.
The head of the Caterham Racing Academy, Mia Sharizman, believes that Stevens has proven himself in lower formulae and he has the ability to reach the top of his sport.
“We’ve been monitoring Will’s progress since the start of the 2012 season and we’re very pleased that he’s now taken up the opportunity to join Caterham Racing Academy. Every season he’s demonstrated that he has the ability to keep raising his game as he progresses onto ever more demanding championships, and the fact he’s now in a strong fourth place in Formula Renault 3.5, in a very talented field, is a clear sign that he has the natural talent to compete at the very top level.
“We’ll now be giving him exposure to the F1 environment, helping him prepare for the step every driver wants to take, to compete in the Formula One World Championship,” she said.