F1 logo, Yas Marina, 2022

F1 announces new all-female series “F1 Academy” to start in 2023

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1 is launching a new all-female racing series which is intended to help promote women racers.

The new championship, F1 Academy, will run across seven triple-header race weekends next year. A total of 15 cars will contest the 21 rounds.

Each seat will be partly subsidised by F1, which will provide €150,000 (£130,000) per car. Drivers, who are expected to be drawn from go-karting and other junior series, will need to provide the same amount and the remainder of the budget will be covered by the teams.

F1 says five “strong and experienced current F2 and F3 teams” will run the cars. Drivers will race Tatuus T421 chassis using 165bhp turbocharged engines provided by Autotecnica, running on Pirelli tyres.

F1 Academy is not intended as a rival to the existing all-female championship W Series, which has raced on the Formula 1 support race roster since last year. W Series cut its 2022 championship short last month after running into financial trouble.

Only one of the seven F1 Academy rounds will be held on a grand prix weekend. The rest will run at grand prix venues but outside of F1 race weekends, allowing drivers to benefit from more track time. Each weekend will include two 40-minute practice sessions, qualifying, two regular races and one reverse-grid race. There will also be 15 days of official testing during the season.

F1 expects the series will provide a pathway for competitors to “progress to higher levels of competition including W Series, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1.”

“F1 Academy 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,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “The more opportunity there is the better and this is designed to provide another route for the drivers to succeed.”

Formula 2 and Formula 3 CEO Bruno Michel has been appointed in charge of the new championship. He hopes the series will expand beyond its initial 15 entries in the future. “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,” said Michel. “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.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    25 comments on “F1 announces new all-female series “F1 Academy” to start in 2023”

    1. With W Series having no more money “but definitely coming back next year” as if we haven’t heard such things from many racing series that never returned from running out of money, I’m glad FOM is stepping up with a proper financed series. Nice to see that they’re focussing on young talent with a chance of moving up. Lets hope it leads to some more opportunities for these drivers further up the ladder.

      1. I hear A1 is just a little short of liquidity and plans to come back any year now too

    2. Good!
      Our counterparts had been held back in the past for literally just driving and were and still often are shunned for having opinions on racing. A dedicated series to reignite and foster that passion we all have is great.

      It is my hope the W Series also finds funding to open up more avenues as well. The more the merrier!!

    3. They went with the F4 platform, tho slightly detuned ?

      1. A sensible level considering it will feature entry-level drivers.

        W Series should have been F4 level too, it would have stood a chance of being able to have a driver move up a level then, because it won’t in it’s current form. It’s drivers are not F3 Regional level drivers to begin with so they certainly won’t get F3 drives

    4. This makes no sense whatsoever.

      Instead of funding the existing female series that races on F1 weekends to help it succeed, F1 is going to fund a new series at an even lower level that won’t appear on F1 weekends so that women have the opportunity to progress to the soon-to-be-dead W series?

      This can only be based on internal politics and a dislike of the way that W-series has been run.

      I still think that gendered race series are a dead end, this doesn’t change my opinion. If you’re fast enough, you’re good enough. No point creating a special environment that offers funding to almost every female racer who is at the bottom of the ladder, instead of encouraging them to race against a strong mixed-gender field.

      1. you don’t understand the underlying fact, that not many girls go beyond carting, that’s something this will help to resolve.

        1. @jehannes actually that was something that the W Series tried to resolve too. The main issue is that not many women are winning at the highest end in karting, which is why there are not many who progress into singleseaters.

      2. W Series has too many problems for it to be an option. The main problem is that they would have to spend £8m just to clear W Series’ huge debts before they could contemplate spending money on any further seasons.

        The series has far too many flaws, it is too expensive to run, it has a pitiful number of races in a season, the process of choosing drivers is shrouded in a cloud of secrecy. It tries to present itself as a higher level series than it really is, has tried to emulate F1’s worldwide scope despite being a regional series.

        Then there is the problem of it’s drivers, they are all not good enough to progress higher which is why they haven’t and the W Series is fairly geriatric in age, only a handful of the drivers are of the age you would expect at that low level on the ladder. The W Series’ grid is older than the F3 grid despite realistically being 2 levels below it.

        It is much simpler & cheaper to create a new series from scratch that will far surpass W Series if it manages to con someone in to bailing it out of the hole it has created for itself through incompetence.

    5. How is this not a rival to W series?
      Only one way. This is the final nail in the coffin of W series and essentially takes over.

      1. Because W Series is dead. It is highly unlikely someone is going to be willing to spend £10m to pay of it’s debts and give it money to run another season. It is a money pit that won’t achieve anything ever.

    6. Instead of putting 150k each toward a field of women drivers plus the overhead of a whole series, why not just fully fund the most exceptional women talents you can find into f3? It would be much cheaper.

      1. Agree. This is treating women as women and not as racers.

      2. Because they’d get thrashed, like every other woman in Euro F3

        1. Well the point would be to not just have any woman with the money for a seat. You choose the best prospects regardless of finances.

      3. Yeah, I don’t get the logic from this either @dmw, @jimfromus, apart from maybe F1 “being seen to do something” at a time when they might not be too certain about W-series really being able to get things together for the next few seasons.

      4. The female drivers around at the moment are not good enough for F3 Regional never mind F3.

        Dorianne Pin may be the exception but she is driving tin tops not open wheel.

    7. FIA’s massive contribution to “WOKE”.
      Mummy, what’s woke? Mum replies to the little girl…….
      Woke is when a fat bloke in a frock wins the beauty contest!

      1. This comment is trash.

        Exactly what is woke about a female series? Whenever someone incites wokeness it’s usually just aimed at a group of people for merely existing, which is what this reads like. How does this affect you, or F1, or anything really..?

        1. David, I agree. When people use words like woke, policially correct, greenwashing, virtue signalling, etc, it is usually because they think it makes their argument sound more highbrow, when the reality is they are usually spouting prejudices.

          1. When people use words like woke, policially correct, greenwashing, virtue signalling, etc, it is usually because they think it makes their argument sound more highbrow, when the reality is they are usually spouting prejudices.

            Their labelling of people with working braincells as “woke” has, for me, echoes of the school yard bullies who disliked and abused the “swots” to soothe their own fragile egos and seemed to take pride in their stupidity. The decades pass, and they have a new label to use, but no evidence of any improvement in their thinking ability.
            We can only guess where they got the label, as independent thought inside their camp is unlikely.

    8. The fact that they’re focussing on the lower levels of F4 kind and taking girls from karting level is a big plus
      Plus the increased track time at a developmental stage will be beneficial

    9. I’m not sure why so many people are choosing one over another. W Series’ loss of funding may mean it won’t continue, but it did raise awareness and showed a bunch of drivers who don’t constantly crash into other.. F1 Academy is a worthy idea if F1 feels it can finance it. Financing female F3 drivers is a good idea. The world needs all these and more.

    10. Girls don’t need more privilege, they just need a level playing field. Which they had already in karting. If they are good enough they’ll be more than enough interest and sponsorship available to propell then towards F1.

      However what about a poor boy from a council estate who will never get a chance to ride in a fairground kart let alone a real one! Surely they need just as much of a leg up or even more so than a girl who is already racing.

      1. Le sigh 🙄

        If that were even close to true we might actually have a competitive female in F1. Or F2… or F3.

        For those about to jump on me for missing Calderon—please refer to the adjective preceding “female”. As much as I’d like to see her fighting at the top, the stopwatch disagrees.

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