With F1 Academy’s full line-up confirmed and the inaugural season set to begin on April the 28th, Females in Motorsport takes a look at what the series aims to do and who will be competing in its inaugural season.
Founded by Formula 1 in November 2022, F1 Academy is an all-female single-seater series. Its aim is to prepare young talent to progress to the higher levels of competition - from FIA Formula 3 up to, eventually, F1.
The 2023 grid will see five teams run by current F2 and F3 constructors, each entering three cars to make up the grid of 15 drivers.
Former ABB FIA Formula E World Championship Team Principal Susie Wolff will bring her wealth of motorsport knowledge and experience to the series as she takes on her new role as Managing Director.
In this role, Susie will be reporting to F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali whilst leading the championship’s development by creating successful pathways to higher categories of motorsport.
As the season-opener in Austria gets closer, let’s dive into which teams are taking part and who the 15 drivers are.
ART Grand Prix
Léna Bühler was the first driver to be announced for the new series and joins French team ART Grand Prix. She has previous experience in Formula Regional Asian and European championships as well as Spanish Formula 4. Léna made her karting debut relatively late at the age of 17 in the 2017 Swiss Karting Championship.
Schweizer Kart Meisterschaft X30 Challenge saw Léna take her best series finish, coming third before moving into cars in 2020.
Joining Léna is German racer Carrie Schreiner who has achieved success from early on in her career. In 2012, Carrie competed in X30 Junior where she claimed the championship title before making the switch to single-seater racing.
After campaigns in both ADAC Formula 4 and British Formula 4, Carrie’s motorsport journey continued into Lamborghini Super Trofeo and GT racing. In 2017, Carrie finished as the runner-up before winning the Pro-Am category a year later.
16-year-old Chloe Grant claimed her first motorsport title back in 2017 in the East Scotland Karting Club championship category, and again in 2019. She went on to take podiums in the North of Scotland Kart Club championship and the Grampian series.
Chloe’s successes continued into 2020 when she won the Cumbria Kart Racing Club championship as well as claiming third in NKF resulting in her becoming the BWRDC Kart Sport champion.
Chloe’s 2022 season in GB4 saw her confidence grow, achieving 10 top-10 finishes in the season’s last 12 races.
We look forward to seeing Chloe’s motorsport career continue into F4 machinery.
The first Campos Racing driver is Nerea Martì, a Spanish racer whose karting career started at nine years old. Nerea went on to race in Spanish F4 where she took a P2 finish on her debut. In 2021 it was announced that she would compete in W Series where she finished fourth in the drivers’ standings after scoring points in every race of the season.
Nerea’s W Series journey continued into 2022 where she claimed her maiden pole position around Miami International Autodrome.
Her single-seater experience makes her one to watch ahead of the championship’s inaugural season.
Joining Nerea is Uruguayan talent Maite Caceres. Maite made her single-seater debut in the 2021 Uruguayan non-FIA Formula 4 championship where she finished the season with a podium. She moved on to first-generation F4 machinery when competing in US Formula 4, in addition to a part-time campaign in USF Juniors.
Last year Maite took part in W Series selections in Arizona at Inde Motorsports Ranch but wasn't chosen to be selected in the new cohort of racers. She participated in some of this year’s Formula Winter Series in preparation for the F1 Academy competition.
Lola Lovinfosse takes the final seat for Campos Racing having stepped up to single-seaters in 2021. Lola took part in the IAME Winter Cup X30 Juniors as well as competing in the Trofeo delle Industrie where she took a top-10 finish.
During her time in Spanish F4 in 2021, she qualified for the Female Trophy winning 13 out of 21 races.
BWT Alpine F1 Team Academy member Abbi Pulling joins the F1 Academy grid after successful campaigns in W Series, where she scored points in her first ever race in the category.
Abbi scored her first pole position in the series at Circuit of the Americas, turning it into a second place podium finish the following day in 2021. Her impressive form automatically qualified her for 2022’s competition.
Her good form continued into the following year as she accumulated two podium results in the championship. Earlier in the year, she and Aseel Al-Hamad became the first women to drive an F1 car in Saudi Arabia.
Abbi has experience with the old generation of F4 machinery, being a firm favourite in the 2020 and 2021 British F4 Championship, before budget constraints forced her to cut her title-assault short in 2021.
We look forward to seeing Abbi’s development with BWT Alpine F1 Team and her journey with Rodin Carlin.
Fellow British driver Jessica Edgar will join Abbi on the grid with British team Rodin Carlin. In 2017 Jessica was crowned the champion of Cumbria Kart Club in Rowrah, going on to win kart races in the Mini X30 Category the following year. Over the next few years Jessica had campaigns in the FIA Motorsport Games and X30 Junior Category.
Last year Jessica made the move into single-seaters as she joined the GB4 Championship with Fortec Motorsport. A weekend at Oulton Park saw her claim a podium finish, helping her finish seventh in the drivers’ standings.
Canadian racer Megan Gilkes makes up the Rodin Carlin squad after stepping into single-seater racing in 2017. In 2019 she became W Series youngest-ever event winner after claiming victory in the one-off reverse grid race in Assen.
Megan has raced in Formula 3 Americas and F2000 with her journey continuing into the UK's GB4 Championship with Hillspeed, where she finished the season with two wins and a further podium.
She’s undertaken driver development training with Hillspeed as well as studying Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, and we look forward to seeing her further development with Rodin Carlin.
Emely de Heus
20-year-old racer Emely de Heus will be joining MP Motorsport after making her debut with the Dutch team in Spanish F4, where she went on to secure the Female Trophy in 2021.
After claiming triumph in the 2020 Dutch Wintercup Senior Karting championship, Emely completed a campaign in W Series where she took a top-10 finish in the Miami season-opener.
Over the winter, Emely has been working with MP Motorsport in the F4 UAE Championship in preparation for F1 Academy.
Amna Al Qubaisi
MP Motorsport will also seat sisters Amna and Hamda Al Qubaisi, both coming from single-seater championships.
After securing the GCC Young Drivers Academy Programme, in 2018 Amna became the first Emirati woman to participate in a Formula E test in Saudi Arabia. A year later she became the first woman to win an FIA single-seater event when she turned her pole position into a victory at Yas Marina in Formula 4 UAE.
Amna has a plethora of experience under her belt having competed in Italian Formula 4, the Formula 3 Asian championship, Formula Regional championship and Formula Winter Series.
Hamda Al Qubaisi
20-year-old Hamda Al Qubaisi also made history when she became the first woman to score a podium in Italian F4 in Misano.
Hamda’s single-seater journey began in 2019 when she joined Italian F4, with a victory which made her the first female racer to secure a podium in the championship. She also has experience in F4 UAE and Formula Regional Asian and European championships.
Filipino driver Bianca Bustamante will continue her single-seater journey with Prema, a team she achieved her first championship points with during a winter campaign in 2023 F4 UAE. Bianca moved into FRECA machinery when joining W Series in 2022 with W Series Academy, scoring a P9 finish in Miami.
Prior to W Series there was a lot of excitement in Asia around the young driver after being selected for multiple scholarships as well as becoming 2018 and 2019 Philippines International Junior Karter of the Year.
We look forward to continuing to follow Bianca’s journey with Prema and seeing what she can achieve in F1 Academy.
Chloe’s karting career started back in 2013, moving up into international racing in 2021 when she took part in the Rotax Max Euro Trophy and the IAME Ladies Cup in France.
Chloe made it to the final four spots in the FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars programme after a successful stint in the British Kart championship’s X30 Junior Class.
She has experience with F4 machinery after testing at Fiorano in the FDA Scouting Camp and looks forward to Austria where she will drive the Tatuus-designed race car at the Red Bull Ring.
Taking the final seat is Spaniard Marta Garcia, who joins Prema Racing after three campaigns in W Series.
Marta took a win at Norisring in 2019, finishing her W Series stints with an additional four podiums and two pole positions.
She has shown her talents, winning titles including the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy in 2015 and the Trofeo delle Industrie of 2015 and we’re excited to see her push the limits with Prema Racing.
F1 Academy’s calendar will see the championship visit seven race tracks taking on 21 races, with the season ending by supporting the US Grand Prix in Austin. We look forward to seeing the progression of the championship and its drivers.