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F1 Academy Takes Steps to Empower More Women in Motorsports

Written by Phoebe Hope, Edited by Meghana Sree

The grid for the first ever F1 Academy season; Image credits - F1 Academy

F1 Academy is taking some huge steps forward with new changes for 2024 that will help the series in its goal to send more women into the pipeline towards Formula 1.

Formula 1 established the F1 Academy as a single-seater racing series exclusively for women to bridge the gap between karting and single-seater junior championships. By eliminating the worries of sponsorship trouble and high costs, it aims to help young women step into junior series.

In the same year that the W Series was forced to end its 2022 season early due to lack of funding, Formula 1 announcing that they will be covering the cost of each car with a grant of £150,00 in the F1 Academy was a huge step in the right direction.

The cars supplied for the 2023 season were the Tatuus F4-T421 chassis used in Formula 4 championships, with tyres provided by Pirelli.

Currently, five teams - ART Grand Prix, Campos Racing, Rodin Carlin, MP Motorsport, and Prema Racing - support three drivers each throughout seven race weekends. However, this is set to change in 2024.

One of the biggest changes the series will see in 2024 is the introduction of the ten current F1 teams. All F1 teams will nominate one driver in the lineup and will have their livery on their car. This will hopefully see more women entering junior academies for F1 teams, therefore opening them up to more opportunities and further sponsorship, and will also be useful in getting more F1 fans interested in the series.

On the line of further bridging the link to Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali (current CEO of the Formula One Group) announced in March 2023 that in 2024, F1 Academy events will officially become support races for Formula 1 along with Formula 2, Formula 3, and the Porsche Supercup. This should once again encourage more buzz and support for the series as a whole and the young women racing in it.

Fans will soon be able to watch some fine talents in action in 2024; Image credit - F1 Academy

Furthermore, one of the fans' biggest grievances with F1 Academy in its first season was the fact that the races, qualifying sessions, and practice sessions were neither broadcasted nor uploaded anywhere to watch. Instead, fans had to follow along with live Twitter updates or results on Instagram. This has led to fans feeling less involved and therefore potentially less interested. Thankfully, the whole of next season (and the last race of 2023 to be held in Austin in October) is planned to be broadcasted on the same platforms which have the rights to broadcast F1 in each country. For example, in the UK it will be available on Sky Sports.

Fans of the series now have a way to keep up with the races and watch these 15 drivers show off their talent and grow in confidence and skill over the season. Hopefully this will attract more viewers and push the overall growth of the series. As the series develops, it will not only help in getting the young drivers the recognition they deserve, but will also inspire more and more young girls to pursue a career in motorsports. After all, you can’t be what you can’t see.

Moving into the future, there is strong hope that F1 Academy will continue to nurture the talents of these young drivers, and in the words of Susie Wolff, ‘advance our sport as a whole.’

These changes for the 2024 season seem incredibly positive, and one can’t help but feel excited for the future of women in motorsports.

In the meantime, make sure to catch the final round of this F1 Academy season in Austin on 20th to 22nd October to watch the culmination of the dramatic fight between Marta Garcia and Leha Bühler for the Driver's Championship, and also between PREMA Racing and MP Motorsport for the Constructors’ Championship.


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