F1 Academy begins pre-season testing in Barcelona

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A total of 900 laps were completed by 15 drivers at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the 2023 F1 Academy’s opening day of pre-season testing on April 11. The first of two days in Spain was described as a positive start to the testing program, as the female drivers got to grips with the race cars ahead of the campaign’s first race on April 28-29 in Spielberg, Austria.

“It was super exciting this morning to get out on track and discover the new car,” said Lola Lovinfosse of Campos Racing. “I already knew the track at Barcelona, but still, it’s super exciting to get out for the first time this season, to drive with all the other girls and to work properly with my new team. The car was very good, I felt good in it. It took me a little bit of time to get used to a few things, but we ended the day in very good shape. It’s very reactive and aggressive with the front, so I really like it.”

Emely de Heus of MP Motorsport said, “I’m really happy I drove today. I made a lot of improvements and also, it’s my first time on Pirelli tires. It’s really fun because they have a lot more grip than I’m used to. I’m really happy about my improvements. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and let’s see what we can do.”

The test, which lasted for six hours, was vital for the all-female series’s two youngest drivers – ART Grand Prix’s Chloe Grant and Chloe Chong for PREMA Racing who explained that they were keen to increase their understanding further in the second and final day of testing at the Spanish circuit.

“I was a lot more nervous than I expected to be, but it’s been a good day,” commented Grant. “The biggest thing I learned was the limit you can actually push the car to and the tires reacting differently in different conditions with the new and the old, so it’s been a really good learning experience and it’s a learning year.”

“It was great,” said Chong. “We’ve all seen the photos and to see it in real life is amazing. Also, it’s my first time at Barcelona. It’s a nice track, it’s very flowy and I was really excited to get out today, especially in the nice weather. I take a lot out of every day that I run in a car because it’s all still quite new to me. So, the aim is just to keep improving and every minute of track time is valuable. To have the track time is great and we learned a lot here. I’m just learning how to manage the tires better.”

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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