2023 PREVIEW - F1 academy

The inaugural, female drivers only, F1 Academy will start their season supporting the P9 Challenge at the Red Bull Ring on the last weekend in April. In this preview I will introduce you to all the teams and their drivers. You will also get an overview of the race calendar, the weekend format, scoring system and pre-season testing. At the end you will find my predictions for the drivers and team championships.


In the first season, five teams with three drivers each will take part in the championship. All teams come from Formula 2 and FIA F3 and are among the most experienced teams in junior single seater racing. The 15 drivers come to the F1 Academy with different backgrounds in motorsport. Let's get to know them a little better.


Prema Racing

Bianca Bustamante, Chloe Chong, Marta García


The Italian Prema Racing team has been the top team in Italian F4 and F4 UAE in recent years. Bianca Bustamante will contest her second full season in single-seater Junior classes. Last year, the 18-year-old competed in the W Series and USF Juniors, among others. In the W Series, a ninth-place finish in the first race in Miami was her best result. Earlier this year, the driver from the Philippines also competed in F4 UAE, where she managed to finish in the top ten in the points twice. The British-Canadian dual citizen Chloe Chang is the only driver in the starting field who does not yet have any experience in car racing. The 15-year-old comes directly from karting, where she raced in the X30 Junior class of the British Championship last year and was selected for the third edition of FIA Girls On Track - Rising Star. There she was among the four finalists and was given the chance to test a Formula 4 car at the FDA Scouting Camp in Fiorano. The team is completed by Marta García. The Spaniard has competed mainly in the W Series in recent years, where she won a race in 2019 and finished on the podium a total of four times. The 22-year-old also competed in Formula 4 from 2016 to 2017.


ART Grand Prix

Léna Bühler, Carrie Schreiner, Chloe Grant


The French ART Grand Prix team will be competing with three female drivers who have already gained experience in car racing. Léna Bühler has been competing in single-seater feeder series since 2020. The Swiss racer competed in the Spanish Formula 4 as well as in the Formula Regional EU by Alpine. In preparation for the new season, the 25-year-old also competed in the F4 UAE Championship, where a twelfth-place finish in Abu Dhabi was her best result. Carrie Schreiner had not competed in a single-seater racing series since 2016. At that time, the German racer competed in ADAC F4 and British F4. In 2018, she won the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe - Pro-Am class. Last year, the 24-year-old raced in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. Completing the team is Chloe Grant. The Scot made her debut in car racing last year in the British GB4 Championship. Her best race result was at Brands Hatch, where the 17-year-old finished fourth.


MP Motorsport

Amna Al Qubaisi, Hamda Al Qubaisi, Emely de Heus


At the Dutch team of MP Motorsport, the two Al Qubaisi sisters and Emely de Heus enter the first F1 Academy season. Amna Al Qubaisi competed last year in Formula Regional Asia and on two weekends in Formula Regional EU by Alpine. The 23-year-old from the United Arab Emirates was also the first woman to win a Formula 4 race. At the end of 2019, she won the first race of the F4 UAE Trophy Round at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Her younger sister Hamda has also won Formula 4 races in the F4 UAE later. She was also the first woman to make it onto the podium in Italian Formula 4. In 2021, the 20-year-old finished third in the first race in Misano. The team is completed by Emely de Heus. The Dutchwoman competed in the W Series last year. Her best result was a tenth place at the first race in Miami. In 2021, the 20-year-old also raced with MP Motorsport in Spanish F4.


Rodin Carlin

Jessica Edgar, Abbi Pulling, Megan Gilkes


The British team Rodin Carlin also relies on young and experienced female drivers. Jessica Edgar already contested the British GB4 with Fortec Motorsport last year. The 18-year-old Brit finished the championship in seventh place and was able to claim a podium finish as runner-up at the Oulton Park Circuit. Before that, she mainly competed in kart races in the British Mini X-30 categories. In 2021, she also took part in the FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars program. Abbi Pulling already has four years more experience in car racing than Edgar. In recent years, she has raced in the W Series and British F4. The Brit finished the 2022 season of the W Series in a strong fourth place with two podiums and two pole positions. In British F4, the 20-year-old also claimed seven podiums in two years. The third woman in the team is Megan Gilkes. The now 22-year-old has been competing in car races since 2017. In her home country, she managed to win the runner-up title in the Canadian Formula 1200 Championship in 2018. In 2019, she competed in the W Series where she won the only reverse grid race ever held. Last year she competed with Hillspeed in the British GB4 and finished sixth in the championship with two wins and another podium finish.


Campos Racing

Nerea Martí, Lola Lovinfosse, Maite Cáceres


With Campos Racing, a Spanish team is also taking part in the inaugural staging of the F1 Academy. Nerea Martí has competed in the W Series for the past two years, where she has claimed a total of three podium finishes. In 2019, she also made it to the podium as second place in a race of Spanish F4. In 2022, she was able to finish the GT CER - D1 championship as runner-up with six race wins. Lola Lovinfosse has competed in F4 Spain for the last two years. The Frenchwoman achieved her best result in 2021 when she finished thirteenth in the third race at the Algarve International Circuit. The 17-year-old also took part in the FIA Girls on Track - Rising Star program in 2020. The team is completed by Maite Cáceres from Uruguay. The 19-year-old driver, after her debut in the Uruguayan Formula 4 Championship in 2021, made her way to the United States to participate in the USF Juniors season in 2022. During that year, she was able to achieve her best result with two eleventh place finishes.


21 races spread over seven weekends are scheduled for the first season. The F1 Academy will be taking part in the supporting program of a wide range of racing series. These include the DTM at Zandvoort, the FIA WEC at Monza and F1 at the Circuit of the Americas. From the coming season onwards, the F1 Academy will run exclusively in the Formula 1 supporting program.


Round 1: Red Bull Ring, Spielberg (28-29 April)


Round 2: Circuito Ricardo Tormo, Valencia (6-7 May)


Round 3: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona (20-21 May)


Round 4: Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort (24-25 June)


Round 5: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza (8-9 July)


Round 6: Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet (29-30 July)


Round 7: Circuit of the Americas, Austin (21-22 October)


Three races are held on each race weekend. In the first and third races, which last 30 minutes plus one lap, the top ten drivers receive points, as in Formula 1. 25 for the race winner, 18 for the runner-up, and so on. The second race is started in the reversed grid order, where there are points for the top 8 at the end, as in Formula 2. 10 points for the race winner, 8 for second, 6 for third, 5 for fourth and so on.


Race 1/3 = P1: 25, P2: 18, P3: 15, P4: 12, P5: 10, P6: 8, P7: 6, P8: 4, P9: 2, P10: 1

Race 2 = P1: 10, P2: 8, P3: 6, P4: 5, P5: 4, P6: 3, P7: 2, P8: 1


There will also be two points for the pole setter of races 1 and 3, as well as an extra point for the fastest race lap in each race for a driver in the top 10.


Pole Position (Race 1/3) = 2

Fastest Lap (Race 1/2/3) = 1


Two test days each were held in Barcelona and Le Castellet before the season. In addition to these tests, there were other F4 tests and race series like Formula Winter Series or F4 UAE to prepare for the new year.




Over the first two days in Barcelona, Prema driver Marta García was the fastest driver. No one came close to her best time of 1m40.748s. The busiest of all on the first test was MP Motorsport driver Emely de Heus with a total of 152 laps.


Overall Results:

P1: Marta García - Prema / 1m40.748s

P2: Abbi Pulling - Carlin / +0.271s

P3: Amna Al Qubaisi - MP / +0.353s

P4: Bianca Bustamante - Prema / +0.771s

P5: Nerea Martí - Campos / +0.771s

P6: Léna Bühler - ART GP / +0.812s

P7: Lola Lovinfosse - Campos / +0.842s

P8: Jessica Edgar - Carlin / +0.938s

P9: Emely de Heus - MP / +0.996s

P10: Chloe Chong - Prema / +1.153s




On the two days of testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, Rodin Carlin driver Abbi Pulling was the fastest. She set her best time of 1m26.163s in the second morning session of the second day. With a total of 145 laps over both days, Carrie Schreiner was the busiest of all drivers in France.


Overall Results:

P1: Abbi Pulling - Carlin / 1m26.163s

P2: Marta García - Prema / +0.067s

P3: Nerea Martí - Campos / +0.333s

P4: Léna Bühler - ART GP / +0.339s

P5: Lola Lovinfosse - Campos / +0.430s

P6: Bianca Bustamante - Prema / +0.462s

P7: Hamda Al Qubaisi - MP / +0.534s

P8: Jessica Edgar - Carlin / +0.866s

P9: Chloe Chong - Prema / +0.931s

P10: Chloe Grant - ART GP / +0.977s


As I already did with some other racing series, I dare to make a little prediction for the inaugural F1 Academy championships as well.


Drivers Championship Prediction


P1: Marta García

P2: Abbi Pulling

P3: Nerea Martí

P4: Megan Gilkes 

P5: Hamda Al Qubaisi


The battle for the very first championship title in the F1 Academy could well be exciting. For my taste of an "academy," there are too few younger female drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 on the grid. But there are some of the best female Formula drivers in the world in this starting field, which in turn creates an exciting starting point for the season. For me, there are several drivers who will be fighting for the title. This includes Marta García, Abbi Pulling, Nerea Martí, Megan Gilkes, Hamda Al Qubaisi or her sister Amna Al Qubaisi. Any of them can win races. Carrie Schreiner and Chloe Chang are difficult for me to assess. Schreiner hasn't raced in a Formula car for several years and Chang is contesting her first ever season in a Formula car. For me, both have the potential to be surprises.


Teams Championship Prediction


P1: Rodin Carlin 

P2: Prema Racing

P3: Campos Racing


In the team championship, too, it's hard to say which teams will come out on top in the inaugural season. My favorite for the title is the Rodin Carlin team, as they have the strongest drivers out of all teams in my view. Behind them I expect a close fight for the other places and see teams like Prema or Campos just ahead of the rest. However, the teams from ART Grand Prix or MP Motorsport could also get involved in the battle for the title. Cause every team has already proven in other series that they can win championships. Exciting races are guaranteed.

written by Claudio Graf  / 20th April, 2023