FIA Institute: Fitness First for New Academy Drivers

FIA Institute: Fitness First for New Academy Drivers


The 10 drivers selected for the 2013/14 FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy will begin their first workshop with a focus on sport science, fitness training and education at the University of Edinburgh on Sunday.
Delivered in partnership with Elite Sports Performance, each element in this workshop is designed to ensure that the building blocks are put in place for the drivers’ ongoing development throughout their time in the Academy.

Fitness testing will involve an extension of the field-based tests carried out at the selection events and will be used to tailor training programmes to each of the 10 drivers’ individual needs.

The drivers will face both temperature extremes; training outside in December in Scotland means temperatures close to zero, while the university’s heat chamber offers 40 degrees and high humidity. This will involve the drivers exercising in the heat and then attempting to complete some mental tasks when they are hot and dehydrated. It will emphasise the importance of maintaining hydration in an event and trying to cool down at every opportunity.

In addition to the physical work, there will be further classroom-based tasks specifically relevant for drivers in motor sport, looking at sport psychology, nutrition and media. Each driver will start to work on an individual career development programme that will be revisited throughout the Academy.

This first workshop will be led by physiologist Dr Tony Turner and psychologist Hugh Richards from Human Performance Science at Edinburgh University.

Turner said: “This is a great opportunity for us to lay some of the important foundations for the programme ahead, as well as the rest of the drivers’ careers, building on what they have already learnt at the successful regional training and selection events. The drivers will be pushed hard both physically and mentally, as would be expected in the high performance motor sport environment. There will be a lot of ‘hands-on’ work with the drivers learning about the physical and mental demands of motor sport through experience, followed by development of individual take-home strategies that they can start implementing straight away.”

Academy Performance Managers Alex Wurz and Robert Reid will both be on hand to guide the new recruits through all the sessions. This being the opening workshop in the programme, the drivers will get their first insight into the high level of training expected of them throughout the workshops and during their careers.

The Drivers

Van der Linde


Kelvin Van der Linde, 17, South Africa
Kelvin Van Der Linde has a strong family connection to motorsport, with his father Shaun, his uncle Etienne and his brother Sheldon all having competed in various South African motor sport categories. After winning the 2012 South African VW Polo Cup when he was just 16, Van Der Linde moved to Europe to compete in the European Scirocco R Cup. He claimed victory in the championship in 2013, winning four races along the way.


Bamogaddam Abdullah Bamogaddam, 19, Saudi Arabia
Abdullah Bamogaddam began his racing career relatively late, only starting to race karts in 2009 at the age of 15. But he quickly impressed and soon moved to single-seaters, where he was a member of the Saudi Formula BMW Championship winning team in 2011. With four podiums in six races this year, Abdullah went on to win the Saudi Formula 2000 Championship and also finished runner up in the Saudi Karting Championship.
Cevallos Jorge Cevallos, 19, Mexico
Part of the Escuderia Telmex young driver programme, which also boasts Formula One drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez among its members, Jorge Cevallos had a successful early career karting in North America. Having competed for the team of former Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice in 2011, he decided to train at the prestigious Skip Barber Racing School, breaking a number of lap records there in the process. For the past two years, Cevallos has competed in the Formula Renault UK Championship, finishing 12th in 2012 and third in 2013, claiming a race victory at Donington Park early in the season.
Ferreira Diego Ferreira, 19, Venezuela
A five-time Venezuelan National Karting Champion and two-time Latin American Champion, Diego Ferreira took to racing single-seaters in the US in 2012, finishing sixth in the Star Mazda Championship and claiming the award for Most Improved Driver of the Year. Graduating to the Pro Mazda Championship for 2013, Ferreira claimed victory at the Circuit of the Americas on his way to second in the overall standings.
Gatting Michelle Gatting, 19, Denmark
Michelle Gatting competed alongside fellow Academy driver Kelvin Van Der Linde in the Scirocco R-Cup in 2013, finishing fifth overall. She saw off 11 other contenders to secure funding from the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and Volkswagen Motorsport to compete in the series. Born in Aarhus, Gatting finished second in the German Kart Championships in both 2008 and 2009 before making the transition to car racing.
Gelzinis Ignas Gelzinis, 22, Lithuania
A three-time Lithuanian Karting Champion, winning the title in consecutive years from 2009 to 2011, Ignas Gelzinis graduated to the Renault UK Clio Cup. In 2012, he claimed a credible tenth place in the overall championship and third in the Rookie Cup whilst going on to finish 15th in this years standings. His older brother, Jonas Gelzinis, was a graduate from the 2012 Young Driver Excellence Academy.
Hernandez Mauricio Hernandez, 18, Costa Rica
Mauricio Hernandez has been competing in Costa Rica’s National Karting Championship and was the country’s pick to compete at the Americas Selection Event for the Academy. He missed out on winning the event but received one of the wildcard slots after impressing judges with his raw speed and potential. Hernandez has also raced karts outside his country, impressing in races in the United States.
Johansson Erik Johansson, 17, Sweden
Having watched his father compete in Historic Saloon racing in his native Sweden, Erik Johansson was always committed to becoming a racing driver. Starting karting in 2006, he went on to race all over Europe including stints in the British Super One Series and the Euro Challenge Series. In 2012, Johansson claimed the inaugural Formula Monza championship and went on to claim the 2013 Swedish Formula Renault 1.6 title by just two points in a dramatic finale.
Lategan Henk Lategan, 19, South Africa
One of two South African drivers in the Academy, 19-year old Henk Lategan has spent most of his career so far in the world of rallying, following in the footsteps of his father Heinrich. Competing as a factory driver for the Volkswagen team in the South African Rally Championship, the younger Lategan has focused on his domestic championship but also found time to claim an impressive fifth in the Croatian Leg of the European Rally Championship in 2013.
Rabindra Akhil Rabindra, 17, India
Akhil Rabindra was a top 25 finalist in the Force India F1 team’s One From a Billion competition in 2011, when he was just 15. He spent 2012 competing in the JK Racing India Series, previously known as Formula BMW Asia. In 2013 he competed in the Toyota Etios Motor Racing Trophy, narrowly missing out on the title but his performance won him the chance to compete in the Toyota Vios Cup in Thailand in January 2014.


2 thoughts on “FIA Institute: Fitness First for New Academy Drivers”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.