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‘Landmark’ second season of all-female F1 academy set to provide new opportunities

All ten F1 teams will be represented on the grid as some of the world’s best female drivers compete

Harry Whitfield
Tuesday 27 February 2024 09:46 GMT
Marta Garcia secured overall victory in the inaugural F1 Academy season
Marta Garcia secured overall victory in the inaugural F1 Academy season (Getty Images)

F1 Academy starts its second season with all 10 Formula One teams to be represented on the grid in what director Susie Wolff has described as a “landmark moment”.

Marta Garcia won the inaugural title, with Britain’s Abbi Pulling finishing fifth in the standings.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what has changed for the upcoming F1 Academy season.

What is F1 Academy?

The F1 Academy is a racing series exclusively for female drivers in a push towards improving female representation in motorsport. Born out of the previous W-Series, the championship features five teams - Campos Racing, MP Motorsport, Prema Racing, Rodin Carlin and ART Grand Prix - of three where each driver must be between 16 and 25 before entering their first race of the season. There are seven rounds, starting in Saudi Arabia on March 9.

What’s new about the 2024 format?

The new season brings plenty of changes as the series will now run alongside F1 races with each event being the support event for a Grand Prix weekend. All 10 F1 teams will support one driver with the remaining five drivers being sponsored by other partners.

Another change is the introduction of wild cards at selected races with entry being offered to a female driver from the host region for that specific weekend. At races where there will be a wild card entry, reigning champions Prema Racing will operate a fourth car. The wild card entrant will be eligible to score points in the drivers’ standings but will not score points for the team.

There are new tracks on the calendar including races in Saudi Arabia, Miami, Singapore, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, while the new race weekend format includes just one qualifying session, two races and the same scoring system as F1.

Are any British drivers competing?

Abbi Pulling will be supported by Alpine in 2024 (Getty Images)

British interest will again lie with Pulling, driving for Rodin Motorsport and supported by Alpine for the 2024 F1 Academy season. The 20-year-old from Lincolnshire achieved seven podiums and two pole positions last season having previously competed in the W Series and became a full member of the Alpine junior academy in 2023.

Who is favourite to win?

Emirati driver Hamda Al Qubaisi, who finished third in the drivers’ standings last season with four wins, is favourite to take the title for MP Motorsport. Hamda is supported by Red Bull while her sister and team-mate Amna is backed by VCARB and could also be in contention. McLaren’s junior driver Bianca Bustamante, Pulling and Ferrari’s Maya Weug will also be confident of challenging.


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