Maya Weug has won the FIA's 'Girls on Track Rising Stars' initiative and earned a place in the Ferrari Formula 1 team’s young driver programme.

Following an intensive selection process, the 17-year-old from the Netherlands has been rewarded with a contract for a full season in the 2021 FIA Formula 4 championship which will be funded by the Ferrari Driver Academy, becoming the first woman to win a place in the prestigious academy.

The Girls on Track Rising Stars programme was launched by the FIA and the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the intention of finding the best female junior racing talent aged between 12 and 16.

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A total of 40 girls were eventually whittled down to four finalists - Antonella Bassani (14), Doriane Pin (16), Julia Ayoub (15) and Weug, who recently turned 17. The finalists were cut down from eight drivers who participated in the programme’s three-day training camp at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Of the eight drivers who took to the track in F4 machinery to see how they compared against a benchmark lap time set by Arthur Leclerc, four successful finalists were picked to attend a final training and assessment programme held at the Ferrari Driver Academy headquarters in Maranello.

Ferrari’s young driver programme has acted as a springboard in recent years to Formula 1, with the likes of Charles Leclerc and reigning Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher progressing up the motorsport ladder.

"Being a driver is within the person's DNA, male or female,” said Marco Matassa, head of FDA. “Charles [Leclerc] was the first FDA driver to go from junior to Ferrari. One of the girls scored the highest overall ranking of all our scouting history!"