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Feeder Series Weekly Round Up

Written by Sophie Harvey, Sean McKean, and Ellie Nicholls

Another week ticks by, and one of the three feeder series grids for 2024 has been completed, with the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle being inserted. Here's what unfolded over the past week on the Road to F1....

Image Credit: Red Bull Racing

MP Motorsport to Retain Their 2023 F1 Academy Lineup

MP Motorsport have chosen to continue into the second F1 Academy season with their initial three drivers: Hamda Al Qubaisi, Amna Al Qubaisi and Emely De Heus.

Although a bold decision for the Dutch team, the trio were regular visitors to the podium and collectively earnt enough points to secure a runner-up position in the constructors championship, narrowly missing out to the Italian outfit, PREMA Racing.

Finishing the driver’s championship third last time around, Hamda Al Qubaisi is the highest-placed candidate returning to the series. She will do this as one of Red Bull Racing’s nominations, no doubt entering with the intention to win the title.

With three race wins in F4 UAE and prior contention in Italian F4, the 21-year-old already houses the experience that will give her the competitive edge against her rivals.

Amna Al Qubaisi will act as Visa Cash App RB’s candidate for the upcoming season. With previous appearances in the Formula Regional European Championship, F4 UAE and F3 Asia, the 23-year-old Emirati will hope to add to her tally of two wins and two podium-finishes in F1 Academy.

Emely De Heus will also contend under Red Bull’s banner. At 20-years old, the Dutch driver will be the youngest member of MP Motorsport’s F1 Academy roster. From her Spanish F4 campaign to scoring points on her W Series debut, De Heus will have another chance to collate her experience to contend at the forefront.

MP Motorsport’s Team Principal, Sander Dorsman, shared his happiness regarding the extension of their partnership:

"I'm happy to confirm Hamda, Amna and Emely as our F1 Academy line-up for 2024 and as members of the Red Bull Academy programme. This means we will stick with the drivers whose talent we are familiar with — all three have already become true members of the MP Motorsport family in recent years.

“Hamda proved to be one of the title favourites while Amna and Emely each took their wins. And since we narrowly missed out on the teams' title last year, we hope to go one better this year! Also, I'm grateful for Red Bull's unwavering support of our efforts.”

Nikita Bedrin Embarks on Sophomore Campaign

Credit: FIA Formula 3

On Wednesday, PHM AIX Racing confirmed their last driver as being Nikita Bedrin. Last season, the Italian-licensed Russian secured two podiums with Jenzer Motorsport in the Budapest sprint race and Spa-Francorchamps feature race. He was also with PHM for FRMEC in 2023, where he won two races.

When asked about the upcoming season, Bedrin appeared ecstatic at the unexpected opportunity. “I am really happy to get this opportunity. Very last minute news and very unexpected, so a lot of hard work will have to be done. Big thanks to PHM and AIX for making it happen, I’m ready to give it my all.”

Sporting Director Roland Rehfeld also expressed excitement for the 18-year-olds campaign:

“Welcome back to the team, Nikita. Besides Taylor Barnard, PHM AIX Racing is supporting and educating Nikita in the third season now. No doubts about his raw speed and talent, Nikita matured on and off track and convinced us to give him another chance to prove himself, after a difficult first season in 2023.

Although being compromised by some bad luck, he was able to show some respectable highlights last season with two podiums under very difficult conditions in F3.

“No doubts, with Nikita, his former FRMEC Teammate Joshua Dufek and Tasanapol, we have a very promising driver line-up, and I am sure, that with all the effort and work the team has done through the winter break, we will compete consistently for points and podiums.”

Dunne Makes the Long-Awaited Step Up

Credit: Jakob Ebrey / GB3 Championship

With tons of hype around him, Alex Dunne is the final driver confirmed by MP Motorsport for the 2024 Formula 3 season. The Irishman comes off a campaign in GB3, where he finished second overall to now-Rodin Motorsport driver Callum Voisin.

Considering the financial issues that surrounded Dunne, he expressed how excited he is to get going:

“I’m thrilled to start my first full season of FIA F3 with MP Motorsport. They are proven winners in every category that they compete in, and I’m sure that they will use their experience to help me build on my initial experiences with the F3 car in the post-season FIA F3 test at Imola and then at Macau.

I will be up against the best drivers at this level of single-seater racing, but that’s what I’m here for. I relish the challenge ahead and can’t wait to get started!”

Team Principal Sander Dorsman added to the hype for this season:

“We are truly excited to welcome Alex to our FIA F3 team. He has had an outstanding year in GB3 and then, fresh into an FIA F3 car, proved his innate pace at Imola and Macau. His Macau performance in particular was hard to overlook, so we were happy to pounce and snap him up for our final FIA F3 seat.

Along with Tim and Kacper, we will have three very quick young drivers all eager to prove their point. I’m confident that they will all shine in their debut seasons.”

Image credits: Formula Two

Taylor Barnard fills the final spot on the 2024 Formula Two grid, joining PHM AIX Racing for his rookie season. 

The 19-year-old boasts both an impressive junior career and an established relationship with PHM, having competed with the team in 2022 following its creation.

During his time with PHM that year, Barnard proved himself to be a very competitive driver, earning the team’s very first win in Formula 4 UAE, where he finished ninth overall in the standings despite facing technical issues across the season. The same year, he went on to secure eighth place in Italian Formula Four with a podium finish at Vallelunga. 

His most impressive campaign for the team in 2022, however, was a season in ADAC Formula Four that saw him finish runner up to only Andrea Kimi Antonelli — his fellow 2024 Formula Two rookie.

Earning a total of five wins and ten podiums across the season, Barnard proved to not only PHM but also the rest of the motorsport world that they should keep a keen eye on him in the future.

Roland Rehfeld, sporting director for PHM AIX Racing, said that the team are extremely happy to have Barnard back racing with them in 2024, and believe that the Brit deserves the promotion to Formula Two after more than fulfilling their expectations over his career so far.

“He has pure dedication, will, natural talent, speed and increasing technical precision,” said Rehfeld. “All of these efforts brought up good results [in Formula Three]. 

The British driver moved to Jenzer for his rookie season in Formula Three, and despite a slow start and some mistakes across the season, Barnard made obvious improvements across the year and showed impressive pace on many occasions.

Consistently outscoring his teammates Nikita Bedrin and Alex Garcia, Barnard claimed tenth place in the standings, aided by a spectacular win in the feature race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Following the announcement, Barnard shared that he is delighted to be competing for the team in 2024, and aims to hit the ground running next year in Formula Two.

“It is another step up the ladder towards my dream, and of course I wish to be more prepared, but I will do everything in my power and more to perform.”


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