An Overview of the 2023 Ferrari Driver Academy
Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Yu Xin Wang
Producing drivers such as Charles Leclerc, Jules Bianchi, and Mick Schumacher, the Ferrari Driver Academy may be one of the most iconic driver academies formed. There is no shortage of talent within the current roster, and we are here to go over the talents in the academy.
One of the drivers who’s been in the Ferrari Driver Academy the longest, Monégasque Arthur Leclerc is touted as a great driver. Brother of Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc, Arthur started his single-seaters career in French F4, in 2018. Racing a full season, he finished P5 in the standings with two wins and eight podiums. During this time, he was also a development driver for the Venturi Formula E Team. Arthur’s developmental duties for Venturi continued for 2019, as well as a full assault at the ADAC F4 Championship for US Racing. It was a standout season for him, finishing P3 in the standings with one win and eight podiums, only behind Dennis Hauger and champion Theo Pourchaire.
In 2020, Arthur made the step up into the Formula Regional European Championship with Prema Powerteam. It was assumed he would be a title favorite, and he delivered on the hype. He finished P2 in the standings with six wins and 15 podiums, only behind Gianluca Petecof. He also participated in one round of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup; however, he would end up with a DNF.
For 2021, Arthur made the move up into FIA Formula 3 with Prema Powerteam. His rookie season would ultimately be a success, ending the season with two wins, three podiums, and P10 in the standings. He was beaten by teammates Olli Caldwell and Dennis Hauger, the latter winning the championship.
2022 would see Arthur take another stab at the FIA Formula 3 Championship continuing with Prema Powerteam, as well as racing a winter series, which is the Formula Regional Asian Championship. His FRAC season was a hit, winning the championship with four wins and nine podiums. In Formula 3, this season would see him put up a better fight, finishing P6 in the standings with one win and two podiums.
In 2023, Arthur made the step up into FIA Formula 2 with the DAMS team. His season has started off slowly, being P12 in the standings with 13 points. However, it is almost certain he will rebound as time goes on.
From one F2 driver to another, our next driver is Brit Oliver Bearman. Oliver started his single-seaters career in 2020 in the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships for US Racing. Though only doing eight races in Italian F4, he still achieved one win and two podiums in the season. In ADAC F4, a full season campaign, he finished the season P7 in the standings with one win and three podiums.
In 2021, Oliver would continue in Formula 4, doing a full season in both the Italian and ADAC categories. It would be a massive success for him, winning both titles convincingly. In Italian F4, he finished the season with 11 wins and 15 podiums, and in ADAC F4, he finished with six wins and 11 podiums. To cap off this season, he would take part in select starts in the GB3 Championship, doing very well with one win and four podiums.
For 2022, Oliver made the step up into faster machinery, doing starts in the Formula Regional Asian Championship during the winter and a full campaign for Prema Powerteam in FIA Formula 3. Not much is to be said about his FRAC campaign, as he only achieved one podium in six races; but F3 would be a different story. In his maiden campaign, he finished P3 in the standings, beating teammates Jak Crawford and Arthur Leclerc, with one win and eight podiums. Oliver’s show of consistency would ultimately land him a ride in the FIA Formula 2 Championship for Prema in 2023. His season start has not looked great on paper, but with the pace he had at Jeddah, he will certainly be a title contender.
The only FDA driver within the FIA Formula 3 Championship is Swede Dino Beganovic. Dino began his car racing career in 2020, in the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships with Prema Powerteam. Though success was limited in ADAC F4, as he only participated in six races, Italian F4 would give more success. In his Italian season, he scored one win and six podiums, finishing P3 in the championship behind Francesco Pizzi and champion Gabriele Mini.
In 2021, Dino made the step up into Formula Regional European Championship with Prema, as well as taking part in F3 Asia for select starts. In F3 Asia, he scored four podiums and finished P7 in the standings. Formula Regional European was not as fruitful though, as he would finish P13 in the standings with only one podium.
For 2022, Dino began the year by participating again in the Formula Regional Asian Championship. He would see more success this time around, finishing P5 in the standings with one win and five podiums. For the summer, he would take another assault at the Formula Regional European Championship. This season would be of great success, as he would win the championship with four wins and twelve podiums.
Dino’s 2022 FRECA title would justify the promotion into FIA Formula 3 with Prema Racing. The season has started out well for him, getting a podium in Bahrain. As it stands, it looks like we’re in for another spectacular season from him.
One of two female drivers in the Ferrari Driver Academy is the Dutch Maya Weug. Maya started her car racing career in 2021, in the Italian and ADAC F4 Championships with Iron Lynx. Success was limited in both series, as she would score zero points in both championships, with a best finish of P11 in Italian F4 and P9 in ADAC F4.
2022 would see Maya take another stab at both championships. Italian F4 would see a bit more success, finishing P14 in the standings with 36 points, taking a best finish of P6 at Imola. In ADAC F4, though she was ineligible for points being a guest driver, she had a best finish of P9.
In 2023, Maya will be driving for KIC Motorsports in the Formula Regional European Championship. Though her results on paper may not be promising, she has shown in Italian F4 that she has the potential to succeed.
The second Ferrari driver to be racing in the Formula Regional European Championship is Brazilian Rafael Camara.
Rafael made his car racing debut in 2022 in the UAE, Italian, and ADAC F4 Championships for Prema Racing. Despite the stacked schedule, he still put on impressive performances. In F4 UAE, he scored six wins and eight podiums en route to a P2 finish in the standings, only behind teammate Charlie Wurz. In Italian F4, he finished P3 in the championship, amassing two wins and 10 podiums. Despite missing a few rounds in ADAC F4, he still finished P3 in the championship there too, with one win and nine podiums.
In 2023, Rafael began the year by participating in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship. Despite not winning a race, he scored six podiums en route to a P3 finish in the standings. For his summer, he will be driving for Prema Racing in the Formula Regional European Championship. With all the success he’s had, it is almost certain that he will continue replicating it.
The first of the Formula 4 drivers in the roster is Aussie James Wharton.
James began his car racing career in 2022, similar to Rafael, in the UAE, Italian, and ADAC F4 Championships with Prema Racing. In F4 UAE, he would achieve four wins and five podiums en route to a P5 finish in the standings. Though not winning a race in Italian F4, he still got five podiums and finished P5 in the standings. Likewise to Rafael, James did not do the full ADAC F4 season; however, he still finished the season P5 in the standings with one win and three podiums.
For 2023, James began by racing in the F4 UAE Championship in the winter. He met expectations for a second year driver, winning the championship over names such as Ugo Ugochukwu and Tuuka Taponen. In the summer, he will be taking part in the Italian F4 Championship for a second year. With what he has shown in F4 UAE, James is certainly a title threat given the year of experience under his belt.
Aurelia began her car racing career in 2022, racing in the Brazilian, Danish, and Spanish F4 Championships. In F4 Brazil, she scored seven points, finishing P16 in the standings with a best finish of P8. In Danish F4, she scored 10 points in her three races, achieving a best finish of P7. In Spanish F4, she scored zero points in her three races with a best finish of P23.
In 2023, Aurelia will be participating in the Italian F4 Championship with Prema Racing. Though the results may not show it, her adaptability skills may make her a threat in some races.
Last but not least, we have Finnish driver Tuukka Taponen. Tuukka started his career in 2017, in his native Finland, winning the Finnish Championship in Raket 95. He would make the move up into the OKJ karting class in 2018, but his progress would not stop, winning the Finnish Championship once more. In 2019, Tuukka moved to the European level in the OKJ class as well as continuing at the Finnish level, winning the European Championship as well as winning the Finnish Championship yet again.
For 2020, he stepped up to the international level in the OKJ class as well as continuing in his aforementioned series. Despite the many tasks, Tuukka would win the OKJ World, European, and Finnish Championships. In 2021, he made the step up into the OK class, yet his progress did not stop as he went on to win the International Championship, WSK Open Cup, and - yet again - the Finnish Championship. 2022 would be Tuukka’s last karting season, and he made it a memorable one, winning the OK Class World Championship, WSK Open Cup, and European Championship.
For 2023, Tuukka made his car racing debut in F4 UAE. He made an immediate impression, finishing P2 in the championship with four wins and 10 podiums. He will be racing in the Italian F4 Championship this summer with Prema Racing, and given the supreme consistency he showed in F4 UAE, there’s no reason he won’t be able to continue it in Italian too.