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F1 Academy: What We’ve Learned From Round 1

Doriane Pin after winning the F1 Academy Race in Saudi Arabia, 2024

F1 Academy is back for its second season, and after an exciting race weekend in Saudi Arabia, there has been a lot to uncover.

F1 Academy’s 2024 season started on a thrilling note. Despite their being a dominant driver, there was non-stop on-track action all over the grid throughout the weekend. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what F1 Academy is.

F1 Academy is an all-female category racing series designed to develop young drivers. It gives them the experience needed to progress through the single-seater rights. F1 Academy cars are F4 cars, therefore, the drivers can advance to F3 racing series following F1 Academy.

There are 15 drivers, all aged between 16 and 25 to make up the grid. There are 5 teams, each operating 3 cars for the respective 15 drivers. 10 of the drivers are backed by Formula One teams and racing in their 2024 liveries. Wild card entries have been introduced at select races this season with entries being offered to drivers from the host region for which Prema will have a fourth car. These entrants will be eligible to score points in the Driver’s standings, but will not count for the Constructor’s points.

Prema Racing won both the Constructor’s and Driver’s Championships in the inaugural season which was last year. Marta García was Prema and F1 Academy’s star last season and is set to compete in FRECA 2024 for Prema.

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Here is the calendar;

07 – 09 March, Round 1 – Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit

03 – 05 May, Round 2 – USA at the Miami International Autodrome

21 – 23 June, Round 3 – Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

23 – 25 August, Round 4 – Netherlands at the Circuit Zandvoort

20 – 22 September, Round 5 – Singapore at the Marina Bay Street Circuit

29 November – 01 December, Round 6 – Qatar at the Lusail International Circuit

06 – 08 December, Round 7 – UAE at the Yas Marina Circuit

Round 1 is complete, and we’re less than a month away from Round 2 which will take place in Miami.

Here’s what we’ve learned from Round 1

Round 1 is complete, and the pace is pretty much set for the rest of the season. We might have already seen who our top drivers and team will be this season.

Mercedes junior driver Doriane Pin, Alpine junior driver Abbi Pulling and Ferrari junior driver Maya Wueg have been the ones to watch all weekend as they’ve topped qualifying and both races in that order. Doriane Pin and Abbi Pulling were P1 and P2 respectively for the Free Practice session, with Maya Wueg only managing P5.

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However, for Race 2, despite Doriane Pin crossing the chequered flag first, she lost the win to Abbi Pulling in the stewards’ office. Doriane Pin had crossed the chequered line and went full pelt on the cooldown lap, with the red flag needing to be shown to stop her following miscommunication from her team at the pit wall. As a result, handed a 20-second penalty dropping her to P9 with Pulling promoted to winner. Pulling now sits P1 in the Drivers’ Championship, with Pin in P3.

Prema must be disappointed, seeing as Pin has been quite dominant and has controlled the pace the entire weekend, claiming her place right from the start. Pulling has been close, but never quite fast enough to get past the French driver. Pin’s fastest qualifying lap was 7 tenths faster than that of Pulling’s, whilst Pin finished the first race 8 tenths ahead of Pulling, and Race 2 an astonishing 1.9 seconds ahead of the Brit.

Prema have clearly got a strong lineup with Pin, Wueg and Aston Martin’s Tina Haussman. Haussman is currently 6th in the standings and could have been higher up had she not been involved in an incident during Race 2.

The Constructors’ Championship could be Prema’s once again. As for the Drivers’ Championship, we could have a title fight between Abbi Pulling and Doriane Pin. Come Miami, the two drivers will be looking to keep up the pace.

You can watch F1 Academy live on their YouTube Channel and on F1TV.

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