FIA youngsters take the next step

The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy returns to the track this week after the youngsters spent the last two workshops getting insights into psychology, physiology, team-building and personal planning. Today they head to the Test and Training circuit in Teesdorf, Austria for a five-day workshop focused on speed and safety. The central theme will be the physics of driving, which will include explanations of the science behind tyres, both on the road and on the track. Among those who will be involved at this stage is FIA Institute safety expert Andy Mellor, who will explain some of the research and development aspects of road and track safety – and possible ways to improve on both. The 12 Academy drivers will become ambassadors for road safety in addition to their on track roles. They will also be analysing the effects of sudden weight transfer on cars, via a slalom course, and the importance of being on the right line as they take a road car through a handling course. Finally, a kart race will provide them with a competitive element for the event.

“We’re going to be looking closely at the human aspect of road safety – that’s the people behind the wheel of the cars,” says trainer Robert Reid. “We are all aware of the credentials of all 12 drivers on the track and on the stages, but we need to raise awareness of the impact they can have on safety.”

The Academy drivers have now begun their seasons, and are benefitting from the information they have gathered.

“When I went to the first workshop in Edinburgh, the trainers told me to do this, this and this,” says Albert Costa, who is competing in the Renault World Series. “I went home and did it and I can’t believe the difference. My arms are bigger, my hands are stronger and it is really helping me. Being part of the Institute Academy has taught me that before you become a driver, you need to become a person and that’s what I am doing now; being part of this is making me more mature in life and on the track.”

Fellow World Series racer Alexander Rossi agrees.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into the car and learning more from the Academy team,” he says. “When you are working with people like Alex Wurz and Robert Reid, you never stop learning. I’m also keen to learn about safety and expanding that from the track to the road. Being a younger guy, I think I have a chance to connect with younger drivers on the road and to help get that vitally important message across.”

6 thoughts on “FIA youngsters take the next step

  1. @Joe – I wonder how much of this team building trait come handy to these young drivers if they get an opportunity to join F1 someday. Ever since we have had a legendary(and fan favorite) driver who graced(?) F1 in 80s who came to F1 with sense of “I am Entitled to Win” attitude, F1 drivers are all clones of this driver at least on ego level and everything they care about is personal glory and goals. Of course there are exceptions but then very few to list and needless to say they don’t have many wins or any titles to show against their name :).

    On other hand team-owners/bosses do need a course in team building as well as there are lots of them who finally blame drivers, while basic problem is more often than not the cars that are provided to drivers or strategy that the drivers are subjected to (many times without even consulting them).

    And again drivers can’t be blamed to be selfish, when F1 paddock is full of team bosses and managers who have use unsettling techniques when handling these talented drivers and throw the talented drivers on the curb, every time they see next hot shoe walking down the pitlane.

    Probably Briatore, Franz Tost and Ron Dennis would be good case studies in the course. Of course the course title should be “The Don’ts in Team-Building”

    Looking at the exodus of talented people from FIF1, one Mr. Mallya can also be included in the case study 😀

    1. grove,

      I believe a deal is in place and Robert will start appearing in Friday practice sessions before long. Probably being timed for the Canadian GP…

  2. Thanks for the reply, a second voice sends a validating tone to mentionings of deals in place, when we never know that things are concrete until the butt is in the car. Any weight on the idea of a seat becoming available at Virgin for him to race?

  3. This programme is a great idea, when I first heard of it I was a bit sceptical, but it seems it has been done well. In the past I have often found myself feeling a bit sorry for young drivers who have been hauled over the coals for making a wrong decision. These are usually very young men who have known very little other than motor racing for their entire lives, and yet we expect them to react in the same way as a guy in his sixties with much more life experience, and do and say the right thing every time.

    I wonder how much trouble could have been avoided if Nelson Piquet Jnr had been given a bit of coaching in this way.

  4. Grove,

    No doubt about the skill of Wickens, I agree, but does he have the sponsorship to get that first F1 seat?

    Also, don’t forget about Bruno Spengler, one of Di Resta’s former teammate in DTM.

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