UNITED KINGDOM: The F1 Academy, Formula 1’s own all-female driver division, has been announced. The sport hopes this will eventually result in a female racer on the Formula 1 grid.
The series will begin in 2023, and F1 claims it will provide young women an “extra route” up the motorsports pyramid alongside the W Series. This all-female championship will return for its fourth season next year despite financial difficulties cutting short its 2022 season.
Lella Lombardi was the last female F1 driver in 1976
With the introduction of F1 Academy, Formula 1 hopes to help women drivers to get into Formula 3 and nourish the drivers in their goal of progressing into Formula 2 and then Formula 1.
Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1 said everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential. He added that Formula 1 wants to ensure greater diversity in the sport while creating more routes into the “incredible sport.”
Domenicali said providing young female drivers with more opportunities would be better. According to him, the design of F1 Academy will provide drivers with another route to success in the competitive world of motorsports.
Five teams with three cars each from the current F2 and F3 teams will compete in the F1 Academy, which will have a 15-car grid. There will be 21 races in the inaugural season, with seven three-race events, and will likely include at least one Formula 1 race weekend.
All drivers will compete in the same Tatuus T421 Formula 4 chassis, just like in the W Series. Autotecnica will supply the engines, which will be a 165 BHP turbocharged engine. Formula One’s Global Partner, Pirelli, will supply the tires, as in Formula 3, Formula 2, and Formula 1.
Bruno Michel, the CEO of Formula Motorsport Limited, will be in charge of the series. He has the knowledge and experience of running successful junior categories with a reasonable budget and assisting drivers in their development.
Each car will receive €150,000 (£130,000) in funding from Formula One, which drivers must match to participate in the series. Formula 1 claims the amount is “a fraction of the usual costs to enter comparable series.” The teams will contribute the remaining budget.
It became clear during assessments of the obstacles young female drivers face in entering the F1 pyramid that they lack the same amount of experience as male drivers their age.
The objective of the F1 Academy is to fill this void and provide them with more track time, racing, and testing opportunities. Working with professional teams which are renowned in motorsport for nurturing young drivers will assist them in developing the essential technical, physical, and mental preparations and will also help them develop.