Ferrari Driver Academy heads to Florida for the winter

Retirees and Girls Gone Wild camera crews aren't the only ones who go to Florida for the winter. So is a contingent of aspiring formula racing drivers taking part in the new Florida Winter Series being set up by the Ferrari Driver Academy.

The program is being set up in response to a lack of suitable weather at circuits in Europe, which would otherwise keep rising stars in formula racing from honing their skills during the off-season. Toyota runs an off-season series in New Zealand, but Ferrari is heading to the most southern of these United States to give its prodigies some much-needed track time.

Set up as more of a training program than a competitive championship, the FDA Florida Winter Series is based around a field of 15 aspiring drivers piloting the Formula Abarth-spec Tatuus FA010B, with a 195-horsepower engine furnished by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and an engineer for every three cars in the series.

The drivers will take part in a practice session at Homestead before racing at Sebring and Palm Beach before two final rounds back at Homestead, all taking place in late January and February of the new year. The program is supervised by FDA chief and former F1 engineer Luca Baldisseri and is expected to attract Ferrari prodigies like Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi, F3 champ Raffaele Marciello and Formula Renault winner Antonio Fuoco.
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Florida Winter Series – First shakedown for the cars

Maranello, 11 November –Today at the Fiorano track, the first group of cars that will take part in the Florida Winter series, had their shakedown. The championship, which is supported by the Ferrari Driver Academy, is aimed at professional drivers who want to prepare on track for the 2014 season.

Eight of the Tatuus FA10B chosen for this championship, each with a distinctive base livery, had their track baptism before being freighted to Florida. Following the track action was Anton Stipinovich, who previously worked in Formula 1 with McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull, along with his colleagues, while also on hand was the Director of the FDA, Luca Baldisserri. Over the coming weeks, the second group of single-seaters will have their shakedown.

In the meantime, interest is growing in this brand new series, which inaugurates a new way of approaching a racing season at the highest level. There have many signs of interest from organisers on behalf of young European and North American drivers: in the coming weeks, an initial list of entrants will be published.

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