Jacques Mizzi features in the FIA shortlist for 2013 Academy selection process

Thursday, July 18, 2013, 11:54

Young Jacques Mizzi will be competing against another 24 talented young racing and rally drivers from all over Europe at the Road Safety Training Centre in Teesdorf, just south of Vienna, Austria, between 21 and 24 July, in a selection process that could make him eligible to participate in the 2013 Young Driver Excellence Academy of the FIA.

The Malta Motorsport Federation (MMF) has correctly nominated Jacques for the 3-day European event – one of a series of 5 qualifying events in regions across the world. In the absence of a racing circuit in Malta, MMF did not have much choice.

Although a number of other very talented Maltese drivers are competing in circuit racing in Sicily, and a few more in karting races in Sicily, none of these have participated regularly – 10 races so far this season – at such a high level as the very competitive British racing championship. Among the competitors are drivers who are taking part in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Incidentally, 22-year old Ignas Gelzinis who was nominated by the Lithuanian Automobile Sport Federation competes in the same Renault UK Clio Cup as Jacques. To be accepted by the FIA Institute, Jacques’ strong performance in competition had to be assessed and he had to meet a set of minimum criteria. The fact that Jacques has passed such an assessment and been selected to participate in Austria is already an honour for him. He is the first Maltese driver to reach such a stage based on his performance so far. The European selection process will be led by FIA Institute Academy manager Alex Wurz, the former Formula One driver and two-time Le Mans winner who was invited to Malta earlier this year by the MMF. Former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid will be the other FIA Institute fellow manager who together with Alex, will supervise the exercises designed to evaluate fitness and driving performance, media techniques, teamwork and psychology.

Given that most racing drivers have a team to back them up, they can hardly be expected to be an expert in every field, but it would of course be better for the sport if they have a friendly personality in addition to racing skill. Fair play, observance of the regulations,discipline and safety are of course important qualities of a racing driver and these elements need to be tested. As Robert Reid has said, this selection event is a mini-Academy in itself, and for Jacques this will be an excellent learning experience that will help him in his racing career, even if he is eventually not selected to pursue the FIA training programme.

Malta’s auto racing fans wish Jacques the best of luck and success in Teesdorf.

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