In the ever-increasingly competitive world of F1 racing, many teams have begun scouting for drivers earlier and earlier in their careers. In the past, smaller teams would scout the talent, and then the bigger teams would poach them with their vast resources. But in the wake of the immense success of McLaren's rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton, nobody can afford to rest on their proverbial laurels. Now, following existing programs at rival teams Renault, Honda, Toyota and McLaren, Ferrari is launching a young driver development program of its own.

The initial news came in last week from team principal Stefano Domenicali, and has now been substantiated by a new joint announcement from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in conjunction with Gino Macaluso, head of Italian racing federation ACI-CSAI. The Scuderia will offer test drives to Mirko Bortollotti, Edoardo Piscopo and Salvatore Cicatelli – the top three finishers in this year's Italian Formula 3 championship. If Ferrari decides to contract any of the drivers for a future race seat, they would be the first Italian driver for the Scuderia since the colorful Ivan Capelli (who, incidentally, won the Italian F3 title in 1983) raced the crimson cars way back in 1992. Now excuse us while we go sign up for next year's Italian F3 season.

[Source: Autosport]