Alex Dunne. Photo:

Alex picked for Ferrari camp in boost for F1 dreams

The Formula 1 ambitions of Offaly's Alex Dunne have been given a boost after he was selected to join the Ferrari Driver Academy scouting camp.

The talented Clonbullogue teenager is one of four drivers picked for the scouting camp, and assessors from the academy will decide if one of the four candidates has done enough to earn a place in the scouting world finals at the end of the year.

Alex won the Italian Formula 4’s final race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria recently, and he tested a Formula 3 car last week at Snetterton in England.

The Offaly driver is currently racing with the Hitech GP outfit in the UK series and the US Racing team for his Italian campaign.

Dunne has won 11 of the 24 races so far in the British F4 series and it too has six races to go, three at Silverstone this weekend, September 24-25.

The 16-year-old will aim to wrap up the series at Silverstone ahead of the final round at Brands Hatch in October. At the last round at Truxton, Dunne and set a new record for most victories in a single season, and it also moved him 106 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings.

A son of Elizabeth and Noel Dunne, Alex started off as a kart racing driver from a young age and has made remarkable progress since then. Noel is a former Irish champion car racer and he manages Alex's racing commitments.

Speaking to RTE Sport, Noel talked about his role as Alex's manager and the need for considerable financial support in sponsorship due to the high costs involved.

"It’s pretty much a full-time role now, but look, with Alex producing the goods, it’s a bit of easier sell, but the costs involved are eye-watering," he said.

Alex described competing in Formula 4 as "like the start of the path all the way to Formula 1".

In an interview last year, Alex said that getting to compete at Formula 1 level was his "ultimate goal" in the long term.

It’s been a long time since Ireland had a F1 driver, with Eddie Irvine the most high profile Irish competitor at that level.

Following a number of seasons as Ireland’s top international kart racer, Alex made his car racing debut in 2021 in the Spanish Formula 4 Championship.

Dunne enjoyed a successful 2021 season which was capped off by winning the Motorsport Ireland 'Young Driver of the Year' award, becoming the youngest-ever winner of the prestigious honour.

In 2022, he has competed in Formula 4 in the British and Italian championships, where he has continued to excel.