The FIA through its Women in Motorsport Commission has announced the launch of its 'Girls on Track - Rising Stars' talent detection program with Ferrari signed up as the project's first partner.
The initiative aims to identify the best 12 to 16-year-old female drivers from around the world to help them fulfill their ambition of sustaining a professional career in motorsports.
The program will rely on a initial four-year collaboration with Scuderia Ferrari's Driver Academy as its first partner to help foster and nurture the young female racers, with two selectees potentially joining Ferrari for a season in the FIA Formula 4 Championship.
"FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars is another immense step forward at the grassroots level of the sport and, with manufacturer partners, we have a really concrete opportunity to find, develop and support young women drivers," said Michèle Mouton, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.
"To be able to collaborate with Ferrari, our first partner of the programme, is fantastic and real recognition of the progress we continue to make after 10 years of our Commission’s work.
"It is an incredibly exciting multi-year agreement, which we hope will result in two winning drivers becoming Ferrari’s first-ever female racers.
"That is a very special thought and would be an historic moment for our Women in Motorsport Commission."
Scuderia Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto added: "We are really pleased to be collaborating with the FIA in this innovative Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme.
"We are firm believers in the value of helping youngsters develop in motor sport. The FDA has been operating for over a decade now, not just purely and simply selecting the best drivers, but also working on their cultural, technical and ethical education.
"With this in mind, we felt we had to make a further effort to expand our area of operation to include female youngsters who want to get on in motor sport.
"Although there is no actual barrier to their participation, we are aware that it is harder for women to progress in this field.
"That’s why we have responded enthusiastically to the FIA initiative and we believe that we can help introduce even more young women to this fantastic sport. Who knows, maybe one day we will once again see a woman competing in a Formula 1 World Championship race for the first time since 1976."
The 'Girls on Track' programme kicked off earlier this year, with 20 drivers from five continents already selected to attend a shoot-out in October hosted by the famous Winfield Racing School based at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Thereafter, 12 drivers will be selected to undergo two different karting and Formula 4 focused training camps in October and November, also hosted by Winfield Racing School along with kart partner, Praga.
Only four drivers will make the next cut to take part in a one-week course in November at the Ferrari Driver Academy in Maranello where the young racers will receive an education in personal preparation and driving technique and be introduced to the sport's economic and media world.
"Subject to final assessment of the racing talent, the best of the four drivers could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy programme for an FIA Formula 4 season in 2021," stated the FIA.
"With Ferrari having an option to renew the driver’s contract for an additional year, its first female racing driver could also compete in 2022."