Arthur Leclerc, Prema, 2022

Arthur Leclerc and Wharton leave Ferrari Driver Academy as Clear takes over

Formula 2

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The only Ferrari Driver Academy member to win a championship this year will not be part of its programme in 2024.

James Wharton, who won the UAE Formula 4 championship in February, is one of two drivers who will leave the team’s junior driver scheme.

Formula 2 driver Arthur Leclerc, the younger brother of Ferrari’s Formula 1 ace Charles Leclerc, will also leave the FDA. The younger Leclerc joined the scheme in 2020 and finished 15th in his first season in F2 this year.

Oliver Bearman, who accompanied Leclerc in promotion from Formula 3 this year, enjoyed a more successful season, winning four times on his way to sixth in the standings. The team described him as the “outstanding FDA star” of 2023. Bearman also had his first run in an F1 car for Ferrari and drove for Haas in test and practice sessions.

Dino Beganovic will also remain an FDA member having finished sixth in his first season in Formula 3. Ferrari say he is “expected to be a title contender next year.”

Formula Regional racers Rafael Camara and Maya Weug, plus Formula 4 pair Tuukka Taponen and Aurelia Nobels, complete the slimmed-down six-driver FDA squad for 2024. Camara placed fifth in the European Formula Regional series and the team named him as another third driver they expect to fight for a title.

Taponen took fifth in the Italian Formula 4 series, one place behind Wharton. Nobels suffered a disrupted season after injuring her arm in an incident in the pit lane during the series’ Misano round, forcing her to miss the following event at Spa-Francorchamps.

There will also be a change at the top of the FDA next year following the departure of Marco Matassa. Jock Clear, who was Charles Leclerc’s performance engineer this year, will take charge for Ferrari’s young driver programme.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Arthur Leclerc and Wharton leave Ferrari Driver Academy as Clear takes over”

  1. It’s true that Arthur Leclerc had a very underwhelming season in Formula 2. I think he deserves a second season, after all Mick Schumacher finished 12th in his first campaign in 2019, and that was with the Prema team! The point is, a lot of drivers show marked improvement in the second season.

    As for the other drivers, Tukka Taponen is a very promising young talent, and I’m very keen to see how he goes in FRECA, as well as FR Middle East. James Wharton is also a promising young prospect, I’m not sure why he’s not staying. Dino Beganovic and Rafael Camara sure have the potential for title challenges, and they have seats at the Prema team, they just need the results and consistency.

    I think Maya Weug deserves better than being sent to F1 Academy; she really deserves a seat in FIA F3 – after all, she did score ALL the points for the KIC team, and finished a respectable 17th with six point scoring finishes (in a field of over 30 cars every race) in FRECA this year. That’s probably the best junior series season from a female competitor, at least anytime recently.

  2. As a Swede, I’m thrilled to see Beganovic remain. The title (or at least battling for it all season) is all that counts for him if he wants to remain now, and then hopefully he’ll race in F2 in 2025.

  3. I‘m astonished that Charles didn’t have the influence to keep his brother in the academy, regardless of his performance / potential.

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