Providing a pathway for women drivers

Debuting this year, the F1 Academy is the latest addition to the sport, focused on developing young women drivers for higher levels of competition. As the new women’s series gets under way, we thought we would give you a run down on what it’s all about:

What is the series about?

Featuring 15 of the best up-and-coming talents through five veteran teams from the single-seater ladder, the purpose of the F1 Academy is to maximise the opportunity and potential of young women drivers so that they can reach the highest level in motorsports.

How long is the season?

The season will consist of 21 races across 7 race weekends, with the final race in Austin, Texas, forming part of the Formula 1 weekend.

When is the next race taking place?

The series kicked off with a double header as we saw the first race take place in Spielberg, Austria on 28-29th April, followed by a race in Valencia, Spain, 5th-7th May. The series stays in Spain for the next race weekend, which will take place in the beautiful surrounds of Barcelona, 19-21st May.

What does the race weekend format look like?

There are three races per event and each round features two 40-minute free practice sessions, followed by two 15-minute-long qualifying sessions.

The first qualifying session sets the grid for race 1, while the second sets the order for race 3. The drivers who achieve pole position in each of these sessions receive two points. Race 2’s grid is set by reversing the top eight drivers from qualifying 1, with ninth and below lining up in the positions they qualified in.

Races 1 and 3 are 30 minutes long and award 25 points to the winner, while race 2 is a slightly shorter 20 minutes, with 10 points up for grabs for the victor. One point for the fastest lap time is also on the line in each race, provided the driver finishes within the top 10.

Which teams are competing?

Five different teams have stepped up to the new challenge:

  1. ART Grand Prix
  2. Campos Racing
  3. MP Motorsport
  4. PREMA Racing
  5. Rodin Carlin

Who are the drivers?

There are some familiar faces competing in the all-woman category, many of whom you will recognise from the well-received W Series.

Here is the full list of F1 Academy drivers confirmed:

DriverF1 Academy TeamAgeNationality
Léna BühlerART Grand Prix25Switzerland
Chloe GrantART Grand Prix17UK
Carrie SchreinerART Grand Prix24Germany
Bianca BustamantePREMA18Philippines
Chloe ChongPREMA15UK-Canada-China
Marta GarciaPREMA22Spain
Jessica EdgarCarlin17UK
Abbi PullingCarlin19UK
Megan GilkesCarlin22Canada
Nerea MartíCampos Racing21Spain
Lola LovinfosseCampos Racing17France
Maite CaceresCampos Racing19Uruguay
Amna Al QubaisiMP Motorsport22Emirati
Hamda Al QubaisiMP Motorsport20Emirati
Emely de HeusMP Motorsport20Netherlands

Who are the ones to watch?

We suggest looking out for the Al Qubaisi sisters Hamda and Amna, who are known for making history during their journey in single seaters – Hamda for being the first Emirati and woman racer to compete in the Formula 4 UAE Championship, and Amna for becoming the first woman racer to claim a podium in the Italian F4 Championship. Both have made a strong start to the season, with Amna currently sitting 5th in the standings, and Hamda in 2nd.

They currently trail the spaniard, Marta Garcia, who has made a flying start to the campaign, winning three of a possible six races so far.

Besides those three, we believe that Nera Marti is another one to watch. She comes off the back of two highly competitive W Series seasons, in which she earned several podiums as well as her maiden pole position in 2022.

We expect that this will be an exciting series so be sure to watch this space!