F1 Academy: First-ever season concludes on United States GP weekend

F1 Academy points leader Marta Garcia is looking forward to the “amazing” experience of racing at the Circuit of the Americas to a live global audience this weekend as the all-female series joins the Formula 1 support bill for the first time.

 

The final race weekend of the inaugural F1 Academy season will be shown live internationally, with Sky Sports F1 viewers able to watch practice, qualifying and the three races from Friday onwards.

 

Spain’s Garcia is in the box seat to become the series’ first champion, holding a 48-point lead with a maximum of 67 left up for grabs across the final weekend.

 

 

“Austin is going to be amazing,” Garcia told an F1 Academy-special edition of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.

 

“The fact they are going to broadcast in almost every country I think, that’s great also. Everyone is going to be able to watch F1 Academy, see how it is and know a bit more about it.

 

 

 

“Then from there for next year they are going to broadcast everything, all the races will be F1 [weekends] so that will be also quite good.

 

 

 

 

“I think it’s going in the right direction, is going pretty well, and is going to give a lot of opportunities to young women.”

 

The 23-year-old spent three years in the W Series, including racing at the Circuit of the Americas on the F1 bill in 2021, before it folded at the end of last year.

 

She has won six times in 18 races across six venues in F1 Academy this year, including the most recent two races at France’s Paul Ricard back in July.

 

Garcia holds a 48-point leader over Lena Buhler, with Hamda Al Qubaisi 56 points behind in third.

 

“It has been a good year,” said Garcia. “In W Series I had some bad years and some better [ones] but this year has been really good since the beginning. Really happy with it.

 

“I hopefully can win the championship this week and also it would be great to get an opportunity to drive in another category next year.”

 

F1 Academy has been established by Formula 1 to help prepare female drivers aged 16-25 for progression further up the motorsport ladder.

 

The inaugural season has featured five teams entered from established names in junior series – ART, Campos, Rodin Carlin, MP Motorsport and Prema – with each entering three cars to make up a 15-strong grid.

 

Next year, involvement from F1 teams ramps up, with all 10 outfits to enter one affiliated driver and have one car run in their livery.

 

All seven F1 Academy rounds in 2024 will also feature on F1 race weekends.

 

 

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Amna Al Qubaisi discusses the challenges of becoming a female racing driver in the UAE and how she’s inspired others to follow in her path

The UAE’s Hamda Al Qubaisi, who maintains an outside mathematical chance of the title, told the Sky F1 podcast: “It’s going to be really interesting because it’s the support of F1. It’s being broadcast on a lot of channels, and in my region.

 

“I think we’re going to get a lot of people from our region watching us and they can see what it’s really about. The coverage is amazing and thanks to F1 Academy for it because now people in my country can see what we are actually doing and how different it is.

 

“I’m sure the racing will be really close and very interesting. The season so far, race to race, everybody has been improving and the gaps are getting closer. So it’s going to be very challenging and tough – that’s what it’s all about. We’re happy to be a part of it.”

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