With the Toyota Racing Series now finished, Kiwi driver Marcus Armstrong will head to Europe as he embarks on the first steps towards a dream of Formula 1.

The 16-year-old, who finished fourth in his maiden TRS campaign and bagged three race wins, has been handed a place in the Ferrari Young Driver Academy this year.

He is one of three drivers that raced in New Zealand this summer to be signed to a Formula 1 team - Jehan Daruvala is with Force India and Richard Verschoor with Red Bull Racing.

"It is a responsibility to wear the Ferrari badge," said Armstrong.


"We worked hard to get the opportunity and to finally get it is relieving.

"We will do a lot of simulation work at the factory and I will be living near enough at the factory.

"We will work close with mental trainers and what the Ferrari Academy has to offer."

Armstrong's ultimate goal is to crack Formula 1 and become the first New Zealander since Mike Thackwell in 1984 to race in the sport's premier category.

"That is the goal," Armstrong said. "This [Ferrari Driver Academy] is definitely the way to go if I want to get there."

A number of talented New Zealanders have attempted to crack Formula 1 in recent years - Brendon Hartley, Richie Stanaway, Mitch Evans and Scott Dixon all demonstrated the talent but weren't able to force their way into a drive.

With a high percentage of the seats in Formula 1 being essentially paid drives - where drivers bring enormous sponsorship packages with them - Armstrong will have his work cut out for him.

But he optimistically believes there is no need to think of alternatives to Formula 1 at this point in his career.


"Obviously there is always the thought of plan B but at this stage it is certainly not on the cards. We are working extremely hard to make plan A work."

Meanwhile Verschoor will head to Europe where he will begin work with the Red Bull Formula 1 team and compete in Formula Renault.

The Dutch teenager led the Toyota Racing Series for much of the campaign before eventually falling to third at the completion of the final round last weekend.

He says the experience has been great however.

"I have learned a lot in the Toyota Racing Series and I will take this to this year," he said. "I think it helped me a lot.

"It has been a good choice to do the TRS."