Ferrari has a healthy roster of talent in its prestigious young driver programme, but one thing is missing according to Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto: a female member.

The House of Maranello’s FDA (Ferrari Driver Academy), which was instrumental in guiding Charles Leclerc on the path to F1, currently includes leading young guns Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman, who will be competing in F2 next season along with fellow FDA members Giuliano Alesi, Callum Ilott and Marcus Armstrong.

But at last week’s media lunch in Maranello, Binotto said that the FDA was set to expand its assembly of young talent.

“We are increasing the number of drivers of the Ferrari Driver Academy next year,” said the Scuderia boss, quoted by Reuters.

“A few other drivers will join. I’m not in the position to tell you how many and who, but it’s something on which we are working very hard.”

“The Academy also looks for women in the future — women should be part of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

“That’s something on which we are working right now to make sure that it may happen very soon,” he added.

Despite the in-house talent Ferrari has nourished and mentored over the years, Leclerc remains the only FDA member to have been rewarded with a seat at the Scuderia.

But many believe 20-year-old Schumacher is next in line to follow in the footsteps of Leclerc, and in those of his legendary father Michael Schumacher.

Binotto won’t put the cart before the prancing horse however when it comes to the young German driver’s prospects, insisting Mick will need to deliver the goods next year in his second season of F2.

“I think that next season will be key for him to understand how much he’s progressing,” said the Swiss engineer.

“We are expecting much from the next year because he will have one season of experience and we are pretty sure he’s a good candidate for F1 in the future.

“Will he be a candidate for the Ferrari either in the future? It’s really too early.

“But again, the aim of the FDA is to find the next talent for Ferrari and he is part of the FDA, because finally, we believe he’s got the talent to stay in this group.”

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