Plans for a major European selection program for young female drivers in 2018 have been outlined by the FIA’s Women in Motorsport commission.
The project was revealed during the opening day of the second FIA Women in Motorsport seminar, currently being held in Lisbon, Portugal, by the commission's president Michele Mouton.
Based around the concept of a 'karting slalom', where go-karts and the other necessary equipment is provided by the local federation, the scheme is intended as a pilot program that can then be used as a model for selection processes elsewhere in the world.
"We have a big project for 2018 that we are working on," Mouton told Motorsport.com.
"I just can say that it's related to young driver selection in Europe. If you want to find good drivers to go to the top, you have to start with the grassroots."
Mouton, however, wouldn't be drawn on the number of girls it would involve, or how the selection process would work, saying that it was "too early" to decide on such details.
"The base for girls is too narrow"
Speaking about the progress of the Women in Motorsport commission more generally, Mouton was eager to highlight the successes of Marta Garcia and Lucile Cypriano, two former CIK-FIA Academy Trophy winners who are present in Lisbon.
But the former WRC vice-champion stressed the need to widen participation among girls at the grassroots level in order to improve the chances of more drivers rising to the top.
"We have made a lot of progress with drivers," said Mouton. "We are active in nearly all disciplines.
"I think I always explain the difficulties we have. If you look at the base of the pyramid and how many men are at the top level, we can say 20 or 30.
"The base for girls is so narrow. Of course it makes it more difficult, we need more volume.
"And we cannot have success on the top if you don't start at the national and regional level; all our ASNs [national federations] need to support and encourage young girls."