F1 Academy: What to know about the new female feeder series

Hungary W Series - Female Feeder Series - F1 Academy

Formula 1 has revealed a new female feeder series to commence in 2023 aimed to promote more women in motorsports – the F1 Academy.

F1 has announced the creation of the F1 Academy, a junior all-female series that is set to commence in 2023. It will not be directly linked with the W Series, pending its return.

The announcement came following the news earlier in the season that the W Series could not finish the 2022 campaign. The late withdrawal of contracted funds left the series unable to race in Austin, TX. As a result, Jamie Chadwick was prematurely announced as the champion for the third time. The series is expected to return in 2023 and work alongside the proposed feeder series.

Stefano Domenicali (CEO of Formula 1) released this statement:

“I am delighted to announce the F1 Academy that will give young female drivers the best chance to fulfil their ambitions through a comprehensive programme that supports their racing careers and gives them everything they need to move into F3 and hopefully to F2 and then the pinnacle of Formula 1. The more opportunity there is the better and this is designed to provide another route for the drivers to succeed.”

A New Female Feeder Series

The idea of the proposed feeder series is to aid young females with their dreams of entering Formula. With 15 young drivers in the first season, the pyramid will provide the opportunity to graduate to Formula 3 and F2. Existing teams from both of these series will join and manage new F1 Academy teams.

The all-female feeder series was also proposed due to the consideration that many of the W Series drivers are deemed too old to enter Formula 2 or 3. The exact connection between the feeder series and the W Series will be clarified in the future. While most W Series drivers will be unlikely to join this new series, some of the 2022 rookies and young drivers could be an option. A few options might include Alpine academy driver Abbi Pulling (19), Juju Noda (16), American driver Chloe Chambers (18), and Bianca Bustamante (17).

The head of F2 and F3, and new Manager of the F1 Academy, Bruno Michel, commented,

“I am very excited to launch this new category. Diversity is extremely important in motorsport, and with the F1 Academy we will prove that female drivers have what it takes to compete at high levels. I am absolutely convinced that if young women are given the same amount of experience as any other driver, they can successfully make their way through the pyramid. Our goal is to see female drivers on the F3 grid in the next two to three years, and for them to quickly challenge for points and podiums. The aim is to increase the field in the near future, because we hope that this category will inspire more young girls to compete in motorsport at the highest of levels.”

What’s confirmed?

It’s been confirmed that the females who participate will be part of a brand-new F1 Academy. The initiative will focus on teaching young drivers how to technically, physically, and mentally prepare themselves for the higher series. Each driver will be given €150,000 to supplement their budget but required to supply an additional €150,000 to enter the series.

The new series will include a seven-round calendar with three races during each round for a total of 21 events. There will be five teams from Formula 2 and 3 managing, each with three drivers for a total of 15 in the first season. Bruno Michel, CEO of F2 and 3 will serve as the CEO of the F1 Academy as well. For one round in 2023, the F1 Academy will run as a support series during an F1 weekend.

The drivers will compete in a Tatuus T421, which is also used in the F4 Championships. The car features 165 horsepower and thirteen-inch tires. Drivers who are successful in the championship will ideally progress onto Formula 3 and eventually F1.

Featured Image Credit: W Series Media.