The Ferrari Driver Academy has announced Tuuka Taponen as the winner of the FDA Scouting World Finals with the Finn joining in as a student.
Tuukka Taponen is now a Ferrari Driver Academy student. The 16 year old Finn was selected after the third edition of the FDA Scouting World Finals, when he was up against five other talented drivers. Tuukka had already taken part in the previous edition and throughout the 2022 season, while racing with Academy scouting partner and famous team Tony Kart, his progress was closely monitored by the FDA, which wanted to evaluate him further.
Living up to expectations. In the finals, Tuukka was competing alongside five other contestants from four countries and three continents. Rashid Al Dhaheri from the United Arab Emirates, the youngest of the finalists the Australians Jack Beeton and Gianmarco Pradel, Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi Jr and the Mexican Jesse Carrasquedo. All candidates showed good potential, but over the course of the days in Maranello and at the Fiorano track, the Finn emerged as the one who showed the most potential and thus won the 2022 FDA Scouting World Finals. Taponen follows in the footsteps of James Wharton, the winner in 2020 and Rafael Camara and Oliver Bearman, who both joined the Academy this year, having shone in the 2021 finals.
Effective system. Tuukka was chosen from over 200 drivers assessed by the Ferrari Driver Academy through its effective scouting system that works with a series of partners: the aforementioned Tony Kart, ACI Sport, who monitor racing in Europe, Escudera Telmex for Latin America and Motorsport Australia for the Asia-Pacific region, including Oceania.
Karting front runner. Tuukka Taponen was born on 26 October 2006 in Lohja and got himself noticed in 2020 in the OKJ category, finishing third in the finals of the FIA Karting European Championship as well as being runner-up in the world championship at Portimao, Portugal. In 2021, on his debut in the OK class, he took the world championship at Campillos, Spain, on a weekend where the weather was changeable. He demonstrated his skills in both the wet and the dry. This year, he also obtained good results in the KZ gearbox class, up against the best professionals from the karting world. In the next few days, Tuukka will be in Maranello to start his work at the Academy and his programme for 2023 will be announced shortly.
Marco Matassa, Head of Ferrari Driver Academy: “I am very pleased to welcome Tuukka to the Ferrari Driver Academy. We watched him carefully last year and we sensed he had the potential that he then went on to confirm this season. One year on, he is more mature, so that apart from his pure speed, he has other key qualities, such as the ability to interact with the engineers, giving precise feedback and also being able to take on board the instructions he is given.
“On track, at the wheel of a Formula 4 car, Tuukka impressed us immediately with his performance and how quickly he learned, given his limited experience in single-seaters. He also proved to be down to earth and willing to work hard, qualities shared with the most talented drivers. I thank Tony Kart who have done a great job of running him so far. This famous marque is one of the Ferrari Driver Academy’s long standing partners and many of its drivers have joined our programme. Now Tuukka is going to embark on a new chapter in our history together.
“I also take this opportunity to thank our other partners – ACI Sport, Escuderia Telmex e Motorsport Australia- with whom we have put together a scouting programme that works very well and is extremely effective. With it, we have identified all of the most recent drivers who have joined the Academy, coming from several different continents.”
Tuukka Taponen, Ferrari Driver Academy driver: “I am really happy to have been selected to join the Ferrari Driver Academy. Spending a week in Maranello and driving at the Fiorano track was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to start work in the Academy with the other guys and the engineers that I was able to meet at the track. I am very proud to wear the uniform with the Ferrari Prancing Horse.”
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[Note: The story is as per press release]