MUMBAI: India’s Aashi Hanspal was named the Most Deserving and Impressive New Driver in the FIA Girls On Track – The Rising Stars Programme, held at Paul Ricard Karting Circuit in France, earlier this month. FMSCI’s women’s commission chairperson Ms Sita Raina revealed this on Wednesday, hailing the award as a milestone moment for Indian motorsports.
Thirteen-year-old Aashi was one of 70 young girls selected from different parts of the world for the Rising Stars Shootouts at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. Although she had taken up racing a little over a year ago and had no experience in driving Formula 4 cars, Aashi managed to impress the top honchos of FIA, the world governing body for motorsports.
FIAWIM chairperson Michele Mouton singled her out for special praise, complimenting Aashi for showing the highest improvement, fairness and for her fighting spirit. Apart from a certificate of merit, Aashi can avail of two paddock passes for any of the Formula 1 races in 2021 season.
The three-day programme pitted the young girl against the most promising talent in the 12-16 age-group across the world and she underlined her prowess in the shootout round. Aashi recorded four podium finishes in the JK Tyre FMSCI National Karting Championship 2019, beating many talented boys on her way, and was conferred the Outstanding Women in Motorsports Award 2020 by FMSCI for her remarkable progress.
‘I will cherish this experience all my life. I have come back with great memories, a fabulous racing experience and valuable exposure to the sport,’ Aashi, a grade 9 student of Bombay Scottish School in Mumbai, said.
‘I hope to improve over the years and carve out a career for myself in racing and make India proud in the near future,’ she added.
FIA’s Rising Stars initiative extended top-class training to all the girls before they participated in the Shootouts to be selected for further advanced coaching by the Ferrari Driver Academy, and potentially the chance to compete on the Formula 4 circuit.
Aashi had to overcome many obstacles, simply to make it for the Shootouts in France, thanks to the COVID-induced lockdowns. She trained with Rayo Racing Academy at Ajmera IndiKarting Track, Mumbai and also had to make multiple trips to Meco Kartopia-Bangalore, despite the various restrictions, to prepare for the big day.