What is F1 Academy? Schedule, teams & all you need to know ahead of the inaugural season

A brand-new single seater racing series begins in 2023, boasting the full backing of Formula 1. Here is all the info about F1 Academy ahead of its inaugural season.

F1 Academy is a series that was created with the idea of providing a development route for female racing drivers. As a result, the championship boasts an all-female line-up. It will thus provide a platform for these drivers to showcase their talents and gain further opportunities to rise up to F3, F2, and maybe even Formula 1 in the future.

The championship has a direct connection to Formula 1, in both its presentation and finances. The pinnacle of motor racing will subsidise all 15 cars in the championship with a €150,000 cost cover for each racer.

But which teams and drivers are competing in this new competition?

F1 Academy: the teams and drivers

All five squads that will run in the 2023 championship boast motorsport pedigree from other disciplines. Each team has three cars, giving us a 15-strong grid for this year’s series.

Firstly, ART Grand Prix joins the F1 Academy with a storied past in F2. This team has developed the likes of Lewis Hamilton, who previously drove for ART in GP2. ART’s F1 connections now carry over to this new, all-female series. They have Lena Buhler in car #7, who is a Sauber Academy driver.

Also driving are Carrie Schreiner and Chloe Grant.

The first team to sign up for F1 Academy was Campos Racing. The team has been a prominent figure in various junior single-seater categories in recent years. Now, they expand their racing into F1 Academy, with W Series talent Nerea Marti in car #1. Joining her at Campos are Lola Lovinfosse and Maite Caceres.

ART and Campos’ F2 and F3 rival, Carlin, are on the F1 Academy grid as well. They have seen current F1 stars such as Lando Norris, George Russell, and Carlos Sainz drive their cars in the past. In this fresh championship, Carlin boasts Alpine Academy starlet Abbi Pulling in their team.

The squad also has Megan Gilkes, who was a W Series race winner. Jessica Edgar completes their three-car line-up.

The final two teams are MP Motorsport and PREMA Racing. Like the aforementioned outfits, these teams run F2 squads, too. PREMA has a W Series rookie from 2022, Bianca Bustamante, in car #16. In addition, they have the youngest driver on the grid – Chloe Chong – and Marta Garcia.

Meanwhile, MP’s team includes a pair of sisters – Hamda and Amna Al Qubaisi. Emely de Heus completes the grid.

F1 Academy Schedule

This year, the championship has seven rounds. Six weekends will be at tracks in Europe, with the final round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Five of the seven circuits featured in the 2023 calendar are also seen on the F1 schedule.

In its inaugural campaign, only the finale at COTA coincides with Formula 1’s weekend at the same track. However, for 2024, F1 have announced that this junior series will run all its rounds on the same weekends as the top class.

Before the season, testing is currently underway at the Circuit de Catalunya for two days (11-12 April).

  • Round 1: Austria, Red Bull Ring (28-29 April)
  • Round 2: Spain, Valencia (5-7 May)
  • Round 3: Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunya (19-21 May)
  • Round 4: Netherlands, Zandvoort (23-25 June)
  • Round 5: Italy, Monza (07-09 July)
  • Round 6: France, Le Castellet (29-30 July)
  • Round 7 (finale): USA, Circuit of the Americas (20-22 October)

Championship format

First of all, the cars used in this series are F4-spec racers. All teams will run identical cars, using the Tatuus F4-T421 chassis, Pirelli tyres, and 1.4L, 4-cylinder engines. This means that wins should come down to driver and team merit.

Now, the weekend format. Each round will have three races: the first and third races will be 30 minutes long, while the second race will be 20. Because of this, the points on offer vary slightly.

The 30-minute races will give points in the F1-style way (25 for a win, 18 for a second, etc.). In contrast, Race 2 of each weekend will dish out points to just the top eight drivers. The winner will receive ten, with points decreasing down to a single one for eighth place.

Read – Sebastian Vettel: the top 3 wins of his F1 career

So, how does qualifying work? Glad you asked. There will be a pair of qualifying sessions each weekend as well. One determines the grid order for Race 1, with the other sorting the grid for Race 3.

Meanwhile, Race 2’s grid will be based on the result of Race 1. Although the top eight from race 1 will be in reverse order to start the second race of the round.  

Overall, F1 Academy promises plenty of on-track action and a grid full of talented drivers that will definitely entertain fans.

Featured image credit: Getty