In 2020, FIA launched FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program. Maya Weug came the first female driver to join Ferrari Driver Academy as a result of the Rising Stars selection. This year, the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program continues for a 3rd edition. 14 young women, 6 in the Senior Category and 8 in the Junior Category, went through the Shoot-out and Training Camp in August at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Four finalists from each category came out of the Shoot-out and will go into the Final at Maranello in November.
We are continuing with the profile series of drivers participating in the program. Today, we give you Alice Buckley, one of the Senior Category finalist.
Alice Buckley is 15 years old from Australia. She is one of the four Senior Category finalists in the 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program. Alice started karting at the age of six. She is currently racing in Australian Circuit Excel Nationals.
Paddock Sorority (PS): What was your first exposure to motorsport and how did you start karting? How was your first experience in a go-kart?
Alice Buckley (AB): My father raced go-karts and would tell me stories about the fun he had racing and being at the track. When I was 6, dad took my sisters and I to the local track to see if we were interested in driving karts. My sisters didn’t like the karts but myself, on the other hand, loved it instantly.
PS: What made you decide you want to be a professional driver?
AB: Ever since I started driving, I loved it so much that I just want to race as much as I can. I am very passionate about motorsport!
PS: From whom did you learn the most about racing and driving?
AB: I Learned the most about driving from my dad, he has always been at the track with me from day one. He has also been my mechanic and driver coach.
PS: Is there a racing idol for you?
AB: I have three main racing idols. Daniel Riccardo, Jessica Dane (team owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering) and my father. These three people have been my idols for a long time for many different reasons, Daniel Riccardo showed me that it’s not just about performance on track but having fun off track and that being a good person is important. Jessica Dane taught me that women can have important and influential roles and that there are more opportunities to work in motorsport than being a driver. My dad has taught me how to drive from a very young age and he was the Australian champion when he raced in karts and was a very well respected driver and now mechanic.
PS: How are your family supporting your racing career?
AB: My family are supporting me in racing through emotional and physical support, such as taking me to an event and making sure I am prepared and making suggestions on my driving or their opinions on a situation on track, but they also help me express my ideas and help me plan and set my goals.
PS: Have you ever considered moving to Europe for your motorsport career?
AB: Yes I have, I have considered this personally a lot, especially if I want to race open wheelers.
PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?
AB: My best memory has to be when I participated at the FIA Girls On Track event at Circuit Paul Ricard. Going to another country to race is an amazing experience, but to participate in a kart and also a F4 car was incredible.
PS: Has there been a very difficult time in your career? How did you get through it?
AB: There has been difficult times in my racing career, such as crashing or not getting the result that I wanted or hoped for. I got through these times by moving on and trying to stay focused for the next heat or debriefing with mechanics and family and by working forward with their support to get over what happened so we can keep progressing with my racing.
PS: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a driver?
AB: I believe my strengths are focusing on a goal and achieving it as well as being willing to learn and adapt to new things. One of my weaknesses is that I worry too much about the mistakes I make.
PS: You were listed in the 20 drivers in Rising Stars selection in 2020, but was not able to go due to travel restrictions, did this missed opportunity affect you in any ways? How do you feel now finally going into the final 2 years later?
AB: Obviously at the time I was very disappointed but there was a lot of ups and downs for everyone during COVID. I feel like the added time gave me more experience as a driver and a different perspective being 15 rather than 12. I also appreciate and am so excited to be involved with the cars as well as the karts which wouldn’t have happened two years ago.
PS: What are your takeaways from this year’s Rising Star selection? How are you preparing for the final?
AB: I learned so many little things from such an experienced and helpful team from the FIA Women in Motorsport team, Winfield Racing School, 321 Perform, Kart Republic, Pirelli and the other participants. From preparing better physically and mentally, organising myself and using the team around me to progress, new ways of improving my driving, tyre management in the car particularly, social media and marketing tips, dietary suggestions, and meeting so many incredible people. I have taken these things and am working on and off track to try to improve before the final. I am also testing in Italy prior to the event as there are no second generation F4 cars currently available for testing in Australia.
PS: More in the long term, if you want to keep going up the ladder, what do you need to still work on?
AB: Experience is the biggest thing at this point in my career. I am learning so much every time I drive and compete in the car, and I hope my willingness to learn and apply will help me embrace everything I need to become the best driver that I can be.