Manson reaches final six in Ferrari Driver Academy regional selection program
Aspiring New Zealand racer Sebastian Manson, 15, was named in the top six for the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) Asia Pacific and Oceania Selection Program held in late September.
For the second year in a row, the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted a selection event. Here, 24 teenagers hailing from various regions underwent a two-day intensive evaluation process. The objective was to identify the top six finalists for the regional program.
During this evaluation, the young drivers had the opportunity to showcase their talents by piloting the state-of-the-art Tatuus F4-T421 Formula 4 cars around the renowned circuit. Their abilities in fitness and media skills were also assessed, alongside considering their prior experience in racing.
Beyond the driving assessments, participants engaged in activities such as data analysis, sponsorship presentations, and received guidance on nutrition and physical training.
“Yeah it was pretty awesome,” commented Manson.
“It was amazing, my jaw dropped when they read out the names. I’m just going to take all the experienaces that were on offer here, it will definitely impact my driving now and into the future.”
The program welcomed Ferrari representatives Jock Clear and Alessandro Vantini, both of whom expressed their strong admiration for the exceptional talent showcased during the event.
Clear, who also serves as the Driver Coach for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, commended the outstanding efforts of all 24 drivers.
“Firstly, to have been selected for the 24 finalists in the region is a remarkable achievement so every driver who was here in Malaysia for the past few days should be extremely proud of themselves,” Clear said.
“There was plenty of talent on show across the two days and all drivers put on a fantastic display in the cars, some of which were behind the wheel of a top-spec Formula 4 car for the first time.
“There was very little difference between all drivers on track however there is only room for six of the participants to progress through to the final stage of the event.”
The top six drivers then spent the final day of the event program going through a replication of a standard international Formula 4 weekend, where they will complete practice and qualifying sessions in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon.
Whilst FDA representatives did not award Manson a spot in the FDA World Scouting Finals in Italy, the experience proved invaluable.