Mumbai-based racing driver Aashi Hanspal has been named the 'Most Deserving and Impressive New Driver' in the Girls On Track - Rising Stars Programme, organised by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The junior karting programme aims to encourage young women to join motorsport and was held at the Paul Ricard Karting circuit in France last week. The 13-year-old Aashi was one of the 70 young girls selected from across the globe for the FIA Rising Stars shootouts. The announcement does come as a big encouragement for aspiring young girls who want to make a career in motorsport. FMSCI's women's commission chairperson Sita Raina hailed the compliment as a milestone moment for Indian motorsport.
FIA Women in Motorsport (FIAWIM) chairperson Michele Mouton singled out Aashi Hanspal for special praise, complimenting her for showing the highest improvement, fairness and for her fighting spirit. Not just praise, but Aashi also comes back with a certificate of merit and two paddock passes for any of the Formula 1 races in the 2021 season.
The FIA Rising Stars initiative is a three-day programme that pits 70 young girls between the age of 12-16 years. The girls receive training for the shootouts and the finalists get a chance to join the Ferrari Driver Academy and potentially compete in Formula 4. Aashi also trained extensively with the Rayo Racing Academy at circuits in Mumbai and Bengaluru to prepare for the shootouts.
Speaking about the experience, the Class 9 student said, "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. I hope to improve over the years and carve out a career for myself in racing and make India proud in the near future."
Aashi started her motorsport career with the JK Tyre FMSCI National Karting Championship in 2019 and secured four podium finishes in her maiden year. She was also conferred the Outstanding Women in Motorsports Award 2020 by the FMSCI. Only a year-old in competitive racing, the racer had no prior experience with Formula 4 cars before participating in the Rising Stars shootout.