Garcia clinches F1 Academy title with victory in first race of Austin finale

F1 Academy

Posted on

| Written by

Marta Garcia has clinched the first ever F1 Academy championship after winning the opening race of the season finale weekend.

She secured the title in the all-female series by increasing her advantage over second-placed Lena Buhler to 61 points, with 37 left available across the final two races at the Circuit of the Americas.

Garcia claimed pole position for race one before overcoming an early Safety Car period and thwarting late pressure from runner-up Abbi Pulling to take the victory.

Buhler and Hamda Al Qubaisi, who both had slim chances of claiming the title heading into the final weekend, can no longer catch the championship leader in the season’s final two races after finishing third and ninth respectively in race one.

Garcia started her campaign with a dominant weekend in Austria and never lost the championship lead from that point. The Prema driver won two of the opening three races at the Red Bull Ring, before taking another victory in the following round at Valencia.

Hamilton was among the first to congratulate Garcia
She was winless in the next round at Circuit de Catalunya, but stood on the podium in each race. The following round in Zandvoort also passed without another win.

However Garcia returned to winning ways in race one at Monza, then took two more wins in the penultimate weekend at Paul Ricard.

That consistent run left Garcia with a 48-point advantage going into the final weekend with 67 available.

She secured her maiden single seater championship, having previously achieved a best of fourth in the 2019 W Series. Having won this title, Garcia cannot return to F1 Academy in 2024 under the series’ rules.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

F1 Academy

Browse all F1 Academy articles

Author information

Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Garcia clinches F1 Academy title with victory in first race of Austin finale”

  1. Nice job.
    So have they said what the expected career path is after F1 Academy? Is this equivalent to an F4 series?

    1. She said F1 Academy is working on a seat for her in either Regional or F3 proper.

      1. A seat in FRECA is realistic but considering just how weak the competition is in F1 Academy, the 2nd place & 3rd place drivers in F1 Academy are 33rd & 20th in F4 UAE, getting a drive in F3 is delusional.

        No F3 team is going to sign up to fielding a midfield (being very generous) F4 driver. We see top FREC(A) drivers drown in F3 and they are significantly more capable that the F1 Academy drivers are.

    2. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      21st October 2023, 19:42

      According to that other motorsports blog with the word “race” featured prominently in its name, the next step for García will most likely be the Formula Regional European series, which, apparently, falls somewhere in between F4 and F3.

      Whether or not she manages to impress in that series, my own personal guess is that she will probably get promoted to F3 within the next year or two, at which point she will be pushing 25 years old and be deemed too old for F1. Then, as a token gesture, one of the F1 teams – though probably not one of the top teams – will graciously allow her to drive one of its cars during a test, thus ensuring that the F1 Academy will in a sense have lived up to its name. And that will be that, as far as driving in F1 goes. From there, García will have her pick of any one of a number of GT racing series, or potentially Indy NXT, before eventually becoming a commentator on Sky F1.

      None of this is intended to mock García, by the way. I have nothing against her, and I hope she ends up proving me wrong. I guess I’m just not fully buying into the notion that these new steps on the motorsport ladder – i.e., the F1 Academy and the W Series before it – actually help any of their drivers in any meaningful way. The W Series, certainly, turned out to be nothing more than a dead end with extra … well … steps. As for the F1 Academy, I suppose it’s early days still. Again, I’d love to be proven wrong. And like I said, even if that never happens, I still have nothing against García – nor any of her fellow drivers, for that matter.

    3. She and many others are now in “Nomansland” The good seats at F3 are already taken by the prospects from F1 teams. FREC is generally for younger drivers. That means that if she wins in FREC it won’t be considered an achievement because of her experience and it’s going to be hard to compete in F3 with a team that is in the middle of the pack and others with a lot of money backing them.

      1. The good seats weren’t going to go to them anyway, those teams seek out the best from Formula Regional and F4. It’s not as if she has put in a performance worthy of an F3 seat, let alone a good seat. She has only beaten drivers that are 33rd & 20th in F4 UAE, hardly top F4 talents. Chadwick showed in FREC and IndyNXT that female privilege can get you top drivers but you will still finish at the bottom when you aren’t good enough.

        FRECA is a series in the middle of F4 & F3 due to the big difference in competitiveness between them. Why would it not be considered an achievement? She would be facing far more competition than she has in her career, her age may be an issue but that is a result of her not really improving above F4 level in the last 5 years.

        People really need to stop deluding themselves about the levels of these drivers just because they are female drivers and can’t accept that they are just not good enough, like most drivers!

  2. Congratulations to her, and hopefully more wins where ever her next step is.

  3. Congratulations Marta. The racing is quite good in F1 Academy. I still don’t understand why they don’t use existing F3 cars. Also looking at Jamie Chadwick’s career, she is doing very well in the Indy NXT series. Hopefully they can keep this series going now that it is part of F1. They need more powerful cars though, these are to junior for the talent.

    1. They don’t use F3 cars because has been made intentionally to be the only series that uses that specification of car, the same as F2 & F1.

      Also, given most of the drivers are F4 grade drivers (look at their results outside of F1 Academy & W Series, neither of which were high quality grids) why would they be given F3 cars? It would be creating a disconnect between their actual level and the cars they were driving.

      Jamie Chadwick in 2020 showed that the level of racing in W Series was nowhere close to that featured in FREC by being one of the lowest place drivers that did the entire series.

      Hamda Al Qubaisi, Bianca Bustamante & Léna_Bühler in 2023 showed the level of racing in F1 Academy was nowhere close to that featured in F4 UAE by finishing in 20th, 27th & 33rd respectively. 2 of these 3 are the drivers 2nd & 3rd in the F1 Academy standings…

    2. “very well”? From drivers that started to every single race, she’s… last.

    3. They don’t use F3 cars because then times could be compared to regular F3.

  4. It was quite a good race wasn’t it. And nice interviews. What ARE they doing with that complete shambles of a website though? Commercial support is so vital and it’s still headed about qualifying and counting down to Race3 at the wrong time!

  5. I’m all in favour of elevating women in motorsport but I still don’t believe these female only series are the best way to do it.

    Jamie Chadwick for example pretty much dominated W series & was by far the best all round driver in that category for the 3 years it was around yet not only did her success in that category ultimately not help her within the F1 ladder but she went to Indy NXT this year & was consistently slowest of what was a small field that doesn’t exactly feature the same depth of talent as you would find in FIA F3 or F2.

    She ended the season 12th in points with only 5 top 10 finishes from 12 races & was last of the drivers who competed in every race although also managed to finish behind drivers who didn’t do the full season.

    One of her team mates Hunter McElrea was 2nd in the championship having only finished outside the top 5 twice with 2 wins & won 2 races while her other team mate Louis Foster (Who was also a rookie) finished 4th in the championship with 6 podiums including 2 wins.

    In terms of Marta García. She was racing with Jamie in W Series & finished 6th in standings in 2022 with just a single podium and she was 12th in 2021.

    It’s easy to look good in a championship with a smaller field that doesn’t have much depth to it’s talent level but when you move into a category with more depth they don’t look as impressive.

Comments are closed.