Formula 1 announces F1 Academy a new female driver series for 2023

Jaime Chadwick

Formula 1 have announced the launch of the F1 Academy, an all-female driver category which aims to develop and prepare young female drivers to progress to higher levels of competition including W Series, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1.

F1 Academy will begin racing in 2023 and will consist of five teams, which will be run by strong and experienced current F2 and F3 teams, each entering 3 cars to make up a 15-car grid. The inaugural season will comprise seven events of 3 races each, amounting to a total of 21 races, plus fifteen days of official testing. The 2023 calendar will be revealed in due course and is likely to include one Formula 1 event weekend.

The car used for the series will be a Tatuus T421 chassis. The turbo charged engine, delivering 165 horsepower, will be supplied by Autotecnica, and Formula 1’s Global Partner, Pirelli, will provide the tyres, as they already do in F3, F2 and F1. The series will be managed by Bruno Michel (CEO of Formula Motorsport Limited), who has the knowledge and experience of running successful junior categories for a reasonable budget and helping drivers to develop.

Most of the time, finding adequate funding for racing has been very challenging for female drivers. Therefore, Formula 1 will subsidise each car with a budget of €150,000 (€2.25m in total) and will require the drivers to cover the same amount, which represents a fraction of the usual costs in a comparable series. The teams will provide the rest of the budget.

The F1 Academy has been created to maximise the opportunity and potential of young female drivers to reach the highest level in motorsport. It will provide young talent currently in go-karting or other junior categories with access to the fundamental level of experience needed before racing in F3 and joining the pyramid to Formula 1.

During assessments of the barriers young female drivers face with entering the F1 pyramid, it became clear that they do not have the same amount of experience as their male counterparts at the same age. The goal is to fill this gap and offer them access to more track time, racing and testing. They will also grow by working with professional teams, who are renowned in motorsport for nurturing young drivers, and who will help them develop the crucial technical, physical and mental preparations.

Formula 1 say they want to ensure aspiring female drivers have the best opportunities to reach their potential with an important first step of getting into Formula 3 and progressing through the ranks. The W Series continues to provide a great platform for drivers and the F1 Academy is intended to add an extra route for the next generation of young female drivers, who will race in an environment that will allow them to gain fundamental experience thanks to a great amount of track time.

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