JANUARY 8, 2024

Ferrari appoints Jock Clear as head of driver academy

There has been a change of guard at the Ferrari Driver Academy, with the departure of Marco Matassa, who had been leading the young drivers’ program since the start of 2018, the Italian expected to return to his previous team, Faenza-based AlphaTauri – racing under a new name this year – with his position in Maranello being taken over by the highly experienced Jock Clear.

Oliver Bearman, Abu Dhabi GP 2023
© Haas F1 Team / LAT

The change of leadership in the FDA coincides with a streamlining of the group that is supported by Ferrari and, also, with the clear indication British driver Oliver Bearman is considered the next man to make the move to Formula 1, after a vvery impressive debut season in Formula 2 last year.

Clear is no stranger to the Scuderia’s young drivers’ program, as he’s been assiting Bearman and the other drivers involved in Formula 2 and Formula 3 with his input when their championships are part of the program of the Grand Prix and is a regular presence celebrating under the podiums when one of his charges ends a race in the top three.

With Matassa’s departure being known to Ferrari since the middle of 2023, as he’s set to follow former Sporting Director Laurent Mekies as the two move back to the Faenza-based team. Frédéric Vasseur immediately appointed Jock Clear as his successor and the British engineer started working cllsely with the Italian, to get up to speed as soon as the officialy handover of position would be made.

It was already Clear that spent most of the time working with Bearman in preparation for his FP1 outings with Haas in Mexico and in Abu Dhabi, and it will now be his full responsibility to support the youngster in his second Formula 2 season with Prema.

And Clear will also be at hand to support Dino Beganovic in his second Formula 3 season, as well as Rafael Camara, who headis into his second season in Formula Regional Europe, where he’ll be joined by Formula 4 graduate Tukka Taponen. As for the two young ladies that are part of the Italians driver’s program, that are yet to have their racing plans for 2024 finalized, but it’s widely expected the more experienced Maya Weug will join the other two FDA youngsters in Formula Regional Europe, while Brazilian Aurelia Nobels is very likely to make her debut in the new Formula 1 Academy, although a second season in European Formula 4 is also under consideration, as she now heads to the Middle East to take part in the five rounds of the UAE Formula 4 series.