IT’S RACE WEEK! We’ll finally see F1 cars back on track this weekend in Azerbaijan; goodbye social life. It’s been fun. But it’s also an exciting week for F1 in other aspects, with the F1 Academy’s inaugural season kicking off.
The new series is designed to prepare young female drivers for a career in motorsport and maximise the opportunities they are given. The category is intended to provide more track time, racing and testing access. It’s hoped that it will become a part of the ‘feeder series’ ladder and help drivers progress to F3, F2 and then F1. Five teams, 15 drivers and seven exciting race locations. Want to know more? Keep on reading.
WHAT CAR WILL THEY DRIVE?
A spec series? Yes, please. All drivers will race in identical cars – a Tatuus T421 chassis also used in F4. The cars will be powered by turbo-charged Autotecnica engines, capable of up to 174 horsepower and a top speed of 240km/h. Pirelli will supply their tyres.
— F1 Academy (@f1academy) April 21, 2023
WHAT IS THE FORMAT?
Each weekend will feature seven sessions of track action.
- Two 40-minute practice sessions
- Two 15-minute qualifying sessions
- Two 30-minute races
- One 20-minute reverse-grid race
Qualifying 1 will set the grid for Race 1, and Qualifying 2 will set the grid for Race 3. But what about Race 2? That grid will be formed by reversing the top eight drivers from Qualifying 1. It sounds a bit confusing when written down, but you’ll soon get the hang of it!
The F1 Academy will have the same points scoring system as F1 for Race 1 and Race 3, awarded from P1 to P10, going from 25 to 1. The shorter race will see 10 points awarded to the race winner and will go down to P8.
There will also be an extra point for the driver who sets the fastest lap as long as they finish in the Top 10. And those who claim pole position will be awarded two extra points.
F1 Academy 🤝 @Circuitcat_eng
— F1 Academy (@f1academy) April 12, 2023
The official calendar for the F1 academy was announced in February. The all-women series is set to feature in seven race locations with 21 races in total – including a season finale alongside an F1 weekend.
28TH – 29TH APRIL: SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA
5TH – 7TH MAY: VALENCIA, SPAIN
19TH – 21ST MAY: BARCELONA, SPAIN
23RD – 25TH JUNE: ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS
7TH – 9TH JULY: MONZA, ITALY
29TH – 30TH JULY: LA CASTELLET, FRANCE
20TH – 22ND OCTOBER: AUSTIN, USA
While only the finale of the inaugural season is part of an F1 weekend this year, Stefano Domenicali has already confirmed that the F1 Academy will be held exclusively at F1 race weekends in 2024.
Seven rounds ahead. First stop, Spielberg!
— F1 Academy (@f1academy) April 23, 2023
TEAMS AND DRIVERS?
Five teams, 15 drivers.
ART GRAND PRIX
– Lena Buhler
– Carrie Schreiner
– Chloe Grant
– Megan Gilkes
– Abbi Pulling
– Jessica Edgar
– Emely de Heus
– Hamda Al Qubaisi
– Amna Al Qubasisi
– Nerea Marti
– Maite Caceres
– Lola Lovinfosse
– Bianca Bustamante
– Chloe Chong
– Marta Garcia
You may recognise some of these names already. Nerea Marti was in W Series in 2021, she finished the season in fourth and was the best-placed rookie with points in every race that year. She stayed with the series in 2022 and went on to get her maiden pole position in Miami. Abbi Pulling is a big up-and-coming talent, signed up to Alpine’s junior driver programme this season, and has achieved podium finishes in every Championship she has raced in so far, including W Series in 2022.
Looking fresh in my new threads 🧵 🔥
Very good two days in the car coming away fastest on both days, still more time to find in putting everything together. So more work to do!💪🇫🇷
— Abbi Pulling (@AbbiPulling) April 20, 2023
WHERE CAN WE WATCH?
Probably the biggest flaw in this idea is that there has been no news yet on whether there will be television coverage of the F1 Academy. Fans can follow the action online via social media and live timing.
Will you be supporting the F1 Academy? Let us know in the comments.