We don't know about you, but when we were 11 years old, most of us here at Autoblog were dreaming about one day driving a Ferrari. Never in our wildest dreams could never have imagined being signed to a contract with the Scuderia. Not at that age, anyway. But that's exactly what's happened for Lance Stroll.
An eleven-year-old racing prodigy from Montreal, Stroll has already been kickin' butt and taking names in pro karting series at home and around the world. He's won several karting races and titles, and was named Rookie of the Year and then Driver of the Year by the Fedération Sport Automobile du Quebec. Not bad for a kid who hasn't even reached his Bar Mitzvah yet.
As part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Stroll will be joining a rapidly growing roster of older drivers – including several European feeder formula champs – being supported by Maranello in their budding careers. Stroll's contract was announced in the ramp-up to the Canadian Grand Prix which returns to his home town of Montreal this weekend.
Against the backdrop of aspiring drivers being recruited by Formula One teams at decreasing ages, Ferrari's program was launched after Felipe Massa was sidelined last season and the team struggled to find a suitable replacement. Massa's contract, incidentally, was also officially renewed for another couple of seasons, confirming earlier reports. Both announcements can be found after the jump.
Lance Stroll: A talented young Canadian for the Ferrari Driver Academy
Maranello, 9 June – The Ferrari Driver Academy has taken on a new talent, this time coming from Canada. At just eleven years of age, Lance Stroll, born on 29 October 1998 in Montreal (Quebec), is the youngest driver to enter the Maranello program.
Although very young, Lance's karting curriculum is already impressive enough to have attracted the attention of the Ferrari Driving Academy: already on his record are two wins in the Canadian national championship in the Rotax Mini Max category as well as Coupe de Montreal and Coupe du Quebec Micro Max Championship in 2008 and both Mini Max Championships in 2009. Last year, Lance finished sixth in the World Finals at Lonato in the Mini Roc category and second in the Rotax Micro Max Florida Winter Tour, a series he won this year in Mini Max along with the championships for the Tag/Cadet Florida Winter Tour. It is no surprise therefore that Lance was nominated by the Fedération Sport Automobile du Quebec as Rookie of the Year in 2008 and Driver of the Year the following year.
"We are pleased to welcome Lance to our group," commented Luca Baldisserri, who runs the Ferrari Driving Academy. "He is very young, but he has already shown in karting that he is exceptionally talented. We will follow him step by step in his forthcoming events in North America and he will soon also take part in our courses at Maranello."
Ferrari's long and illustrious history in Formula One would never have happened if it didn't have a slew of excellent drivers racing their cars: the Scuderia has, without question, fielded some of the sports' best drivers. Now, the Italian supercar makers are taking their scouting and talent development to a new level as it formally launched the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Massa and Scuderia Ferrari together until the end of 2012
Maranello, 9 June 2010 - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that it has extended its contract with Felipe Massa, who will now drive for the team until the end of the 2012 racing season.
Felipe has been with the Scuderia since 2001. To date, he has competed in 69 Grands Prix for the team: he has taken eleven wins, 30 podium placings, 51 points finishes, fifteen pole positions and twelve fastest race laps, scoring a total of 360 championship points.
"I am happy to be given the opportunity to drive for Ferrari for a further two seasons," said Felipe. "Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an engine made in Maranello and it is a matter of pride for me to be able to continue working with a team that I regard as a second family."
"Felipe has been part of Ferrari for almost a decade and together with us, he has grown as a driver and as a man, going through some very difficult times as well as giving us moments of great happiness," commented Stefano Domenicali. "We wanted to show proof of stability for the future, believing in the worth of a driver pairing that is without equal in terms of talent, speed and its ability to work together for the good of the team."