The F1 Academy is a new all-female race series for 2023
Formula 1 will launch a new series to improve opportunities for young female drivers
It’s glaringly obvious that top-level motorsport has a gender inequality problem, and that isn’t going to change overnight. Formula 1 bosses are at least now looking to tackle the issue though, with the creation of the new ‘F1 Academy’ series.
According to F1 bosses, this new race series 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”.
It will kick off in 2023, with five teams that are run by current F2 and F3 teams. Each team will run three cars to make up a 15-car grid. There will be seven race weekends with three races at each, so a total of 21 races make up the season (yep, we can do maths too). An F1 press release states that the calendar will be revealed soon, with at least one of the race weekends taking place alongside Formula 1.
The cars themselves will be Formula 4-spec Tatuus T421s, with 165bhp Autotecnica engines and Pirelli tyres.
With funding often one of the main barriers for young female drivers, F1 will subsidise each car with a budget of €150,000 for the season, with the drivers having to match that amount. Each team will then cover the rest of the budget.
“Formula 1 wants 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,” we’re told. “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.”
“Everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their potential and Formula 1 wants to ensure we are doing everything we can to create greater diversity and routes into this incredible sport,” says F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “That is why I am delighted to announce the F1 Academy that will give young female drivers the best chance to fulfil their ambitions through a comprehensive programme that supports their racing careers and gives them everything they need to move into F3 and hopefully to F2 and then the pinnacle of Formula 1. The more opportunity there is the better and this is designed to provide another route for the drivers to succeed.”
Referencing the new series, W Series boss Catherine Bond Muir said: “W Series welcomes any initiative which shares our ambition to provide more opportunities for women in motorsport. Our objective from the start has always been to increase the talent pool of women racing drivers, and the addition of the F1 Academy as a feeder to W Series and other series’ is a further step in inspiring the next generation to progress up the motorsport ladder.
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