As we approach the eve of Formula One’s return, the unfortunate realisation that there is not a woman on the grid becomes apparent. But is the new F1 Academy here to fix this?
The F1 Academy was announced in late 2022, stating their aim was to help female drivers with their progression into higher levels of competition, such as Formula 3, Formula 2, and ultimately Formula 1.
After it was revealed that female drivers are not offered the same experiences as their male counterparts, Formula One president, Stefano Domenicali announced that ‘everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their potential.’
With that, the F1 Academy revealed there will be 15 women on the grid racing in 21 events across the season, giving the women a chance to race at a multitude of challenging circuits.
This week, Susie Wolff was announced as the new managing director of the F1 Academy series, a perfect fit for the all-female series.
Susie brings an abundance of experience and is a great idol for the women wishing to progress towards Formula One.
Starting in the early 2000’s Susie was named the best female kart driver in the world. She progressed into British Formula 3 in 2005, DTM in 2006, and became a development driver for Williams in 2012.
She became the first woman since 1992 to partake in a Formula One weekend, when she was entered into FP1 on behalf of Williams Formula One team.
Wolff has dedicated a wealthy amount of time to help women break the barriers and succeed in Formula One, earning an MBE for services to women in sport.
She is an incredibly passionate and vocal role model for women in the sport, telling the BBC that the Academy ‘is not tokenism’, instead a real step forward for women’s chances in single seater racing.
Susie Wolff said that the academy ‘presents an opportunity to promote genuine change in our industry by creating the best possible structure to find and nurture female talent on their journey to the elite levels of motorsport.’
The Academy comes after W Series, the former all-female racing series, ended its third season early due to lack of funding, it is unclear if the series will continue.
The F1 Academy’s action kicks off in Spielberg, Austria on the 28-29th of April.