F1 backs new, all-female junior series dubbed F1 Academy

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Formula 1 is set to launch an all-female driver category, the F1 Academy, in 2023 to develop and prepare young female drivers to progress to higher levels of competition – including W Series, Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3.

The series will consist of five teams run by current F2 and F3 teams, each entering three cars to make up a 15-car grid. The first season will comprise seven events with three races each, plus 15 days of official testing.

The drivers will all run Tatuus T421 chassis, with Autotecnica supplying engines and Pirelli providing tires. The series will be managed by the CEO of Formula Motorsport, Bruno Michel. Formula 1 will subsidize each car with a budget of €150,000, and the drivers will be expected to contribute the same amount.

The stated aim of the series is to maximize the opportunity and potential for young female drivers to reach the highest level in motorsport, and to provide young talent currently in go-karting or other junior categories with access to the fundamental level of experience needed before going racing in F3 and joining the pyramid to Formula 1.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their potential. Formula 1 wants to ensure we are doing everything we can to create greater diversity and routes into this incredible sport,” said Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Formula 1’s head of sustainability, Ellen Jones, added, “In 2019 we launched our sustainability and diversity and inclusion strategy and made a commitment to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, breaking down the stereotypes associated with a career in motorsports and encouraging people from all backgrounds to get involved.

“Over the past few years, we have been making strong progress on these important issues within our own business and across the sport. Today’s announcement is a very important commitment that will ensure young female drivers get the very best opportunity to begin their professional motorsport career and climb the ladder to the top by developing their skills and experience in the right way and with the right level of support.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. 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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