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Driver's Education

June 18, 2012
June 18, 2012

Table of Contents
June 18, 2012

SI.com
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
NBA FINALS
TENNIS
BOXING
BASEBALL
REVOLUTION GAMES
  • THE 1956 MELBOURNE OLYMPICS WERE PLUNGED INTO COLD WAR INTRIGUE AS DOZENS OF HUNGARIAN ATHLETES, UNWILLING TO RETURN HOME AFTER SOVIET TANKS CRUSHED A POPULAR UPRISING AGAINST COMMUNIST RULE, DEFECTED TO FREEDOM—WITH HELP FROM A YOUNG SPORTS MAGAZINE

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Driver's Education

Ferrari is banking on turning a young Canadian into a Formula One star of tomorrow

Amid the high-tech glamour of the Ferrari garage at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday, a 13-year-old boy stood with a headset pressed to his ears and listened to the voice of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso crackling over the radio. "It's crazy to hear the drivers," he said. "I know exactly what they're saying." Young Lance Stroll is no casual fan. He's not racing in F1 just yet, but the Montreal native represents the coming generation—and an ambitious experiment for the sport's oldest team. He was just 11 when he signed on with Ferrari after dominating the Canadian go-kart circuit. "A huge jump in the dark," says Luca Baldisserri, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy in Maranello, Italy. Yet for Ferrari, the math is clear: Hiring top drivers costs tens of millions of dollars; kids are low-risk, potentially high-reward investments.

This is an article from the June 18, 2012 issue

Lance now races karts full time in Europe, making monthly visits to Maranello for strategy sessions, reflex drills and breathing exercises. In 10 races this year he has three podium finishes, including a win. At 15 he'll make the jump to cars. For now, though, listening to Alonso's voice through the headphones, Lance hears one sound: "Myself in 10 years," he says, "on that grid."

PHOTOGIORGIO BENVENUTI/FERRARI/EPA (STROLL)