Offaly teenager Alex Dunne has been picked up by the Italian automobile federation to join its annual Ferrari Driver Academy scouting camp.

Dunne, who can wrap up the British Formula 4 championship at Silverstone this weekend, tested a Formula 3 car last week at Snetterton in East Anglia.

The 16-year-old joins Brando Badoer, son of former Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer, along with Italian racer Sebastiano Pavan and the USA's James Egozi.

Assessors from the Ferrari Driver Academy will decide if one of the four candidates has done enough to earn a place in the scouting world finals to be held at the end of the year.

Dunne – managed by his father Noel, who is a former Formula Ford Festival and two-time Irish Formula Ford Championship winner – is on an upward curve after winning the Italian Formula 4’s final race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria earlier this month.

He held off his team-mate Kasper Sztuka to register his third victory of the campaign and to move into third place in the competitive series.

Noel Dunne describes his role managing his as "24/7".

"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 eyewatering," he said.

It’s been a long time since Ireland had a F1 driver, with the likes of Eddie Irvine, John Watson, and Derek Daly amongst only a handful making their way to the top echelon of the sport.

It takes massive amounts of funding and indeed luck to make it to F1, but Dunne is going the right way about it by being at the front of his F4 championship series.

"Formula 4 is like the start of the path all the way to Formula 1," the teenager said. "That is probably one of the worst things about motorsport, how hard it is financially.

"I know personally, as a family, we don’t have the millions you need to get to Formula 1, but we have a lot of loyal sponsors who are helping me along my journey, which is great."

The British F4 Championship came into being in 2015 with the support of Ford, and England’s Lando Norris – now with McLaren – won the inaugural championship.

Dunne is currently racing with the Hitech GP outfit in the UK series and the US Racing team for his Italian campaign, which has six more races to run – three at Monza and the final three at the Mugello circuit.

The Irish driver 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, home of the British Grand Prix on the weekend of the 24 and 25 September.

Dunne will be hoping 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, eclipsing the previous record of 10 shared by past champions Zane Maloney and Jamie Caroline.

It also moved him 106 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings.