Formula 1 driver manager Nicolas Todt and sponsor Richard Mille will run a shootout for kart drivers at the end of this year to select a driver to contest French Formula 4 in 2019.
The Richard Mille Young Talent Academy will take place over two days at Paul Ricard for around 20 drivers, who will be evaluated on their physical and mental abilities as well as their driving skills in FIA F4 machinery.
The participants will be selected from those competing around the world in Birel ART karts, or those from sister brands Ricciardo Kart and Kubica.
?Firstly, I want to thank Richard Mille for his support,” said Todt, who manages Charles Leclerc and Felipe Massa through his company All Road, and is the co-owner of Birel ART.
“We will have an original and specially adapted formula to reinforce our mission of detection of drivers with strong potential.
“This is fully in line with our overall strategy and it makes perfect sense for us to be an active partner.”
Eponymous watch brand founder Richard Mille, the main sponsor of Leclerc’s junior single-seater career, commented:??I am a true sports enthusiast. In particular, there is a strong synergy between the watches we manufacture and motor racing. I am delighted that our company has the opportunity to play an active role in the emergence of young talent alongside Birel ART.?
Ronni Sala, President of Birel ART, added: ?We are very pleased to be able to share our partnership with Richard Mille and our proximity to All Road Management with our drivers.
“It seemed to us to be essential to offer to our drivers a real bridge between karting and cars. We now have the opportunity to do this in a unique way through our entire network within the Birel ART group.
“It was important for us to open this operation to all Birel ART drivers, without question of budget. Although the idea is very simple, it is also revolutionary in its implementation. Everything will be done to open the doors of car racing to the best hopefuls.”
The creation of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy follows the first running of the revived Volant Winfield last month, where Todt’s latest protege Caio Collet won a shootout at Paul Ricard for a supported season in French F4.