Updated: Feb 28, 2022
Maria Germano Neto was the winner of the FIA Girls on Track in the junior category. The 11-year-old Portuguese driver was chosen from the final batch of 4 young drivers who took part in tests in Italy, under the watchful eyes of those responsible for the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Esmée Koppius
The process started in October, when the drivers had their first training camp. As the phases progressed, the number of candidates diminished until the final part – the Brazilian Julia Ayoub advanced for the second consecutive year to the decisive stage.
The last part of the tryouts consisted of a week of activities at Maranello, Ferrari’s private track. There, the four girls had training on the track and outside, with psychological tests, physical and media training.
The first edition of the program together with the FIA and Ferrari had Maya Weug as the great champion. With support from the Academy and defending Iron Lynx, the Dutch-Belgian raced in Italian Formula 4 and had an 11th place as the best result.
Despite never having competed with Junior category karts, Maria Germano Neto was the winner of 2021. She won the title of Portuguese Karting Champion, a Portuguese Cup, a Portugal Open, the Bridgestone Cup, among others, as well as being the first Portuguese to win a race in the demanding Spanish Karting Championship and, more recently, this year, she beat all the competition in an Italian Karting Championship race, being the first female driver to secure the highest place on the podium in transalpine lands. Maria will now do an international karting season, with Tony Kart with the support of the FDA and guaranteed her presence on the FIA Girls on Track in the Senior category (when she is old enough), where she will once again put her skills to the test , having as a prize a time with the support of the FDA in F4.
Michèle Mouton, Chair of the FIA Commission for Women in Motorsport, said: “Once again it is an emotional moment for the Commission as we see two more young women given the opportunity to prove their worth thanks to our partnership. with both the Ferrari Driver Academy and the Iron Dames. With her support, Laura [Camps Torras] will get everything she needs to progress and develop her talent. For Maria [Germano Neto], she is the youngest woman ever to be coached by the Ferrari Drivers Academy and this is a great opportunity at such a young age. Expanding the program with Ferrari to support our younger drivers is another big step for the program and for the young women who, it is hoped, will follow in Maria’s footsteps in the future. We will be following her progress in karting competition very closely, in the hope that she can advance to Formula 4 with an Iron Dames when she is old enough.”
We hope that this story has inspired many people around the world and we wish the best for this new stage in Maria Neto’s career.