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F1 will launch F1 Academy, a new series of races for women

Jamie Chadwick celebrates after winning the previous W Series race F1 brother grand opening at Silverstone in July 2022. (Reuters)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Formula 1 is launching a new series of races for female drivers that will begin next year.

The series, known as the F1 Academy, will be subsidized by F1 and potentially a support series for a weekend of the F1 season.

F1 says it will contribute a grant of 150,000 euros ($156,000) per car “and will require drivers to pay the same amount, a fraction of the usual costs in a comparable chain.” .”

They will represent teams currently in either Formula 2 or Formula 3. Speaking at the launch, F1 Academy director Bruno Michel defended the costs associated with the new series and said there are also costs may have funding from established F1 teams.

“From the first feedback I got from the teams, I don’t think we’re going to have a hard time finding drivers on such a reasonable budget,” said Michel. “I’m also pretty sure that some Formula 1 academies will start doing that and help fund this kind of money for the drivers.”

There will be 15 cars on the grid for a season of 21 races divided into seven laps. The series will aim to recruit “young talent currently engaged in go-kart racing or other grassroots categories” with the hope that they can later move on to Formula 3 as a next step. and finally compete in F1.

The announcement comes less than two months after another all-female event, the W Series, had its season cut short due to financial problems.

The W Series is free to join for drivers, unlike F1 Academy and most other development series that require young drivers to support themselves financially from family money, investors. or sponsor. It also uses Formula 3 cars instead of the modified Formula 4 specification cars planned for the F1 Academy.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said she believes the two events can coexist.

“W Series welcomes any initiative that shares our ambition to provide more opportunities for women in sports car racing“, Bond Muir said in a statement.

“Our goal from the outset has always been to strengthen our team of talented female drivers and the addition of the F1 Academy as a feeder for the W Series and other series is another step in inspiring the next generation to move up the motorsport ladder.”

The W Series is in financial trouble this season and has canceled the last three races in Mexico and the United States to focus on fundraising for 2023. It has yet to announce a schedule for next season.

“We look forward to finalizing the W Series’ plans for 2023 and beyond, bringing exciting races and entertainment to fans around the world,” said Bond Muir.

Five women have entered F1, but no one has done so in 30 years. Giovanna Amati is the most recent female driver to officially enter an F1 event when she qualified for three races in 1992. Since then, other female drivers have entered the F1 test. The last woman to start a F1 race was Lella Lombardi in 1976. Her story is told in this F1 video:


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