Rivola confirms Ferrari Driver Academy move

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Ferrari sporting director Massimo Rivola has confirmed he will move across from Maranello’s Formula One team to head its junior development programme – the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA).

The 44-year-old will replace Luca Baldisserri, who has followed former FDA protégé Lance Stroll to Williams following the Canadian’s appointment to a development driver role at Grove.

An Economics and Business graduate from Bologna University, Rivola started working in F1 when he joined Minardi in 1998. He became sporting director and team manager at the Faenza-based squad in 2005 and kept his job when the outfit became Toro Rosso the following year. He then moved over to Ferrari in 2009.

Rivola, who had been tipped for the FDA job for several months, made the news official by issuing a letter that has been circulating online:

“The rumours which have been circulating for a while are true, but I wanted you to be the first to know officially from me what Ferrari has decided: after 18 years of F1, of which 12 have been on the pit wall, it's time to make a pit stop,” he wrote

“Motivated by a great professional challenge, along with the company, I have decided to take care of the renewal of the Ferrari Driver Academy. The farewell of a driver as symbolic as Jules [Bianchi] is the spark that means that today it is a real ‘mission’.

“Also thanks to my previous experience, I was fortunate to work with many drivers and to do so when they were young, like Sebastian [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso] to name a few. To think that the champions of tomorrow for Ferrari will grow in the Academy is just amazing.

“I have always supported thinking of the young, the Ferrarista of the future, and now we have one more tool to do it together.”

Along with Stroll, the Ferrari Driver Academy’s 2015 roster included GP2 Series race winner and former Sauber reserve driver Raffaele Marciello, GP3 Series frontrunner Antonio Fuoco, and Italian F4 ace Guan Yu Zhou.

Marciello recently announced he will leave the detection scheme, while F1i understands Mick Schumacher – the son of seven-time world champion Michael – is poised to join Maranello’s junior squad.

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