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Motor racing: Ferrari sign first female driver to their academy

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix

(Reuters) - Ferrari announced 16-year-old Dutch go-karter Maya Weug on Friday as the first female member of the Formula One team's driver academy.

Weug, the winner of a five-day scouting camp at the Italian team's Maranello headquarters and Fiorano test track, will be given a season in the FIA-sanctioned Formula Four championship.

"This is a key moment in the history of Scuderia Ferrari and its academy," said Formula One team boss Mattia Binotto in a statement.

"Maya’s arrival is a clear indication of the Scuderia’s commitment to making motorsport increasingly inclusive."

The academy has so far helped five members graduate to Formula One through the junior series, four of them on the grid this season including current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and debutant Mick Schumacher, son of Ferrari great Michael.

Academy manager Marco Matassa said one of the four female finalists had, in one specific discipline, scored the overall highest ranking of anyone in the scouting camp's history.

The 'Girls on Track-Rising Stars' programme saw an initial selection of 20 drivers aged 12-16 put forward by national motorsport authorities. Weug is Spanish-born with a Belgian mother and Dutch father.

Formula One has not had a woman driver compete in a grand prix since the late Italian Lella Lombardi's last appearance in 1976.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris)