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Woman Spotlight Wednesday: Amna Al-Qubaisi

Written by Ramiza Donlic, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


Women have played an influential role throughout the history of motor racing. Many have taken to the wheels of motorsport machines, while numerous figures have worked tirelessly on the sidelines in various roles, shaping the racing world to the present day. Woman Spotlight Wednesday aims to take a look at the tales of these superwomen, who have surpassed various hurdles to reach where they are today.


Today’s article takes a look at the tale of an Emirati racing driver, currently racing in F1 Academy for MP Motorsport. She is one of the sisters to have taken motor racing by storm.


Image Credits: F1 Academy

Amna Al-Qubaisi has emerged as a trailblazer, shattering stereotypes, and paving the way for women in a male-dominated sport. Born on March 28, 2000, in Washington; Virginia, United States, Amna's journey to becoming the first female Emirati racing driver is nothing short of inspiring.


From a young age, Amna was passionate about racing, inspired by her father Khaled Al-Qubaisi, an acclaimed Emirati racing driver himself. He was the first Emirati to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, claiming two class podiums. 


Her elder sister Hamda also competes in F1 Academy for MP Motorsport. In June 2021, Amna became the first woman in the history of Italian F4 to score a podium, achieving third place in the season opener at Misano. 


Amna attends Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, completing a degree in physics, and her interests include karting, gymnastics and jet skiing. 


Fuelled by her determination to break barriers and challenge societal norms, Amna commenced her racing career at the age of 14, competing in karting events across the UAE. 


She is the first Emirati woman to participate in motorsports, taking part with Daman Speed Academy and competing internationally. 


Amna also pioneered with her participation at the Rotax Max Challenge (RMC) World Finals — a kart-racing series owned and organised worldwide by BRP-Rotax, once a year. 


In 2016, she was the first Arabic girl to win the UAE RMC Championship, while also being the first one to be sponsored by Kaspersky Lab. In addition, Amna won the GCC Young Drivers Academy Programme. 


Amna and her sister Hamda participated at the X30 Euro Series in Wackersdorf with Team Driver. She showed great pace being amongst the top five. Amna finished 16th overall out of 54 drivers in total, and she was also the only female to reach the Final. 


Image Credits: Grazia Magazine

Despite facing scepticism and resistance due to her gender, Amna remained undeterred, honing her skills and proving her capabilities on the track. Her talent and dedication soon caught the attention of motorsport enthusiasts, earning her recognition as a rising star in the industry.


Amna made history in 2018, becoming the first female Emirati driver to compete in the prestigious Italian Formula 4 Championship with Prema Racing, a significant milestone in her career. 


Her participation in the series not only showcased her racing prowess but also served as a symbol of empowerment for women in the Middle East and beyond. She competed in six of the seven rounds, bringing home a highest finish of 12th. 


Al-Qubaisi was one of nine female drivers to take part in a test session on 16 December 2018, after the first round of the 2018-19 Formula E season at the Diriyah E Prix on the Diriyah Street Circuit. 


She drove for Envision Virgin Racing, an Audi-powered Formula E car — an initiative by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. This was just a few months after a ban, prohibiting all women from driving, was lifted within Saudi Arabia on the 24th of June, 2018. 


Continuing to defy expectations, Amna continued her ascent in the world of motorsports, securing a seat in the Formula Regional European Championship. She took the place of her sister Hamda for the Barcelona round with Prema Racing, in the 2022 Formula Regional European Championship. 


In 2023, Amna signed with MP Motorsport in the newly launched all-female F1 Academy championship. She ended the season with two wins, finishing sixth in the driver standings. 


Amna will continue with MP, backed by the recently-established Visa Cash App Racing Bulls Formula One Team, previously known as AlphaTauri. Additionally, her sister Hamda will join her, alongside Emely de Heus, as the team retain the same trio of drivers from last season. 


Hamda Al-Qubaisi (left), with Emely de Heus and Amna Al-Qubaisi (right); Image Credits: MP Motorsport Instagram

Sarah Harrington, Red Bull Academy Programme Manager expressed: “We are thrilled to be welcoming Hamda, Emely and Amna, three incredibly talented drivers, into the Red Bull Academy Programme and are looking forward to working with them closely this season. This is a landmark moment for us and is a testament to our complete commitment to the future of women’s motorsport.”


Beyond her achievements on the track, Amna is a vocal advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment in the Arab world. Through her platform, she strives to encourage young girls to break free from societal constraints, and pursue their passions fearlessly.


Amna's remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, courage, and resilience. By fearlessly challenging conventions and pushing boundaries, she has not only carved out a place for herself in a male-dominated sport, but has also opened doors for future generations of female racers.


Amna's impact extends far beyond the confines of the racetrack. As a role model and ambassador for women in sports, she actively engages with communities, schools, and organisations to promote inclusivity and diversity in motorsports. 


Through initiatives such as mentoring programs and motivational speeches, she empowers young girls to pursue their passions, and embrace opportunities in male-dominated fields. Amna's dedication to driving positive change both on and off the track underscores her commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world for future generations.


“I hope I get to see more women in male-dominated fields in general, not just in sports and breaking that stereotype.”


In addition to her advocacy, Amna is also a symbol of national pride, representing the United Arab Emirates on the global stage with grace and determination. 


Her achievements have not only elevated the profile of Emirati motorsports but have also inspired a sense of unity and pride among her fellow countrymen.


As she continues to make strides in her career, Amna remains a symbol of hope and inspiration for aspiring athletes across the Middle East, proving that, with perseverance and passion, even the sky is not the limit.


 


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