The ‘Racing Star F4 Esports Competition’ actually evolved from a previous initiative conceived by The Fernley Foundation.
Two years ago, a ‘Fast Track to F1’ programme was developed to support graduates from the University of Bolton’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering. The Foundation’s aim is to enhance graduates’ degree qualifications to the point these students can become ideal candidates for employment within the world of Motorsport.
Whilst the Fast Track to F1 programmes provided education support for graduates, it did not address the need to find a cost-effective route to help young male and female aspiring drivers from all backgrounds the opportunity to determine if they have the potential to realise their dreams of becoming a professional racing driver which the Racing Star F4 Esports competition now provides for.
In addition to supporting the graduate and young driver STEM education and driving opportunities, the Fernley Foundation also recognised the need to introduce apprenticeship schemes within the Racing Star programme which would then meet the needs of aspiring young 15 year old drivers, 16/17 year old youngsters wishing to become technicians and 18/19 old graduates wanting to become the next generation of engineers and which is best explained in the Racing Star F4 Motorsports Pyramid below.
Bob has enjoyed a remarkable career in Formula One, Can Am and Indycar. In fact, he is arguably the only person to have had podium finishes in all three top-tier racing categories. He recently stepped down as President of the FIA Single Seater Commission.
Jonathan Kendrick is the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies. Jonathan is also Founder of the ROKiT Foundation, a charitable organisation established to help the most vulnerable people around the world.
Monisha has been engaged in motorsport since 1998. Starting her career in motorsports from the Fritz Kaiser Group she moved to the Sauber Formula One team in 2000 and subsequently, became the first woman to be appointed an F1 Team Principal.
Our mission is to give young people from all backgrounds, ethnicities and gender an equal opportunity to engage and work in the exciting world of motorsport.
The Fernley Foundation supports key educational and employment opportunities across motorsport that will give under-represented talent the chance to work in this incredible sport and build an exciting career. Together with our partners and friends, the objective is to create life-changing opportunities for youngsters with challenging backgrounds and situations. We believe everyone deserves a chance to succeed in the motorsport industry.
The Fast Track to Formula One project is geared to encourage more young people, particularly those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, to aim for the sky in motor sports.
Two benefactors, Kingfisher and ROKiT, have partnered with the University of Bolton to fund the cost of propelling two disadvantaged youngsters into the exciting world of Formula One.
Robert (Bob) Fernley, has enjoyed a remarkable career in Formula One, Can Am and Indycar. Over the past fifty years, Bob’s achievements in motorsports are most impressive. In fact, he is arguably the only person to have had podium finishes in all three top-tier racing categories. He recently stepped down as President of the FIA Single Seater Commission.
From a working-class background himself, Bob has first-hand experience with the seemingly insurmountable barriers confronting young people trying to enter motorsport.
Through his Foundation’s close association with the University of Bolton, a number of scientific, technical, and practical initiatives under the banner of “Fast Track to F1” were launched and subsequently enhanced by the donation of two F1 cars and an Indy car Fernley raced in the eighties. These were made available to ensure students received real-world hands-on operating experience.
Also needed was a solid scholarship component to help those unable to afford a University education. Consequently, the Not-for-Profit Fernley Foundation has attracted partners and friends who have generously funded two full scholarships to the UK’s only National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME) within Bolton University.
Jonathan knows what it’s like to struggle. Growing up in Bradmore, Wolverhampton, wasn’t easy. His dyslexia didn’t provide for the best educational experience, particularly in the 1970’s when little was understood about the condition. This saw Jonathan leave the schooling system prematurely at just 15 years old.
Added to this, he was only 16 when he lost his father and 4 years later, his mother tragically passed away. Quite a bit for a teenager to take on.
But his moto ‘Never quit, never give in’ survives even today and true to his word, he never did and never has. As a teenager and armed only with guile, determination and tenacity, he managed to get a job at Goodyear in Wolverhampton, a company which made tyres for the motor racing industry. Working his way up in the racing division, he talked himself into a position where he seized an opportunity to become the assistant to the racing Sales Manager. He continued pushing and was eventually chosen to become Goodyears tyre engineer in Formula One and was sent to South America to look after four Formula One teams.
This life experience allowed him to build up an encyclopaedic knowledge of grass-roots motorsport and when the company closed its UK competition department in 1979, that could have been the end of his journey. But undeterred and at only 21 years old, his ‘never quit, never give in’ moto kicked in. Rather than look for another job and armed with only £400, he set up his own business to become the European distributor for the little-known racing division of the Yokohama company from Japan, specifically to supply to the grass roots motorsport industry in Europe. It was a big risk. The tyres weren’t well known at the time and simply put, were not good enough.
Bringing in talent where he needed it, something Jonathan has always recognised is one of the keys to success, he employed, Derek Williams, who had been the chief compounder and Tony Chatterton, the chief designer at Goodyear racing division. Together they re-engineered the tyres and with what was now a competitive product, the business boomed and Jonathan was able to make his first fortune. He lost that fortune in 1988 but made it back by 1991. Still a young man with lots to learn, he lost that again but in typical fashion, made it back yet again and it is now in the safe hands of his wife Sally.
Today Jonathan splits his time between his bases in the US and UK, although his ROKiT group of companies also has a presence in Mexico, Los Angeles, Delhi, Germany, Japan and Hong Kong. The group has diversified over the years and now has interests in various business sectors including emerging technologies, drinks manufacturing with import and export, content creation and distribution for films, digital games and music, as well as E-bikes and mobile phones.
Jonathan is also Founder of the ROKiT Foundation, a charitable organisation established to help the most vulnerable people around the world.
ROKiT Racing Star is just another way Jonathan feels he is able to give back and help level the playing field for the young people who have the talent and motivation, but lack the opportunities afforded to so many others.
Monisha has been engaged in the motorsports industry since 1998. She completed her law degree at the University of Vienna in 1995. This was by a course in International Privat Law at the Hague Academy for International Law.
Monisha continued with a master’s degree in International Business Law at the London School of Economics.
Starting her career in motorsports from the Fritz Kaiser Group she moved to the Sauber Formula One team in 2000. From 2001 onwards acted as a member on the management board and subsequently, became the first woman to be appointed an F1 Team Principal.
In 2010 she was appointed as CEO of the Sauber Group and from 2012 onwards she held one third of the Sauber F1 Team. In 2017 Monisha left her position at Sauber.
Since July 2019 she is the CEO of the Racing Unleashed Group. Her ambition is to make motorsports accessible to everyone and transfer the tradition of racing into the future in a state-of-the-art manner.