Tech, Track and Technique

What are the rules of F1 academy and why they matter -

Tech, Track and Technique
(L-R) F1 Academy Drivers Abbi Pulling, Doriane Pin, Maya Weug (Picture Credit: F1 Academy)

F1 academy is a first of its kind series, mitigating the challenges and problems faced by its predecessors. For this it's important to understand how Tech, Track and Techniques play a vital role.

F1 academy is a one make series i.e, all drives compete in the same chassis with the same engine and tyres. All feeder series from Formula 4 to Formula 2 are one make series. Tatuus Automobile, which makes racing cars for F4 provides the chassis for F1 academy. All the cars feature an Autotecnica 4 cylinders turbo charged 1.4 litres engines at a 174hp and 5500rpm. F1 academy matches F4 levels of car complexity and technicals. Pirelli, which supplies tyres to Formula 1, provides the tyres for F1 academy as well.

Using reliable partners to provide technical assistance, the series ensures reliability. W-series was plagued with reliability issues. It made audiences not watch the series as many drivers couldn't start the races due to technical failures. In partnering with respected brands in motorsport, F1 academy remains technically advanced, while, crucially remaining affordable.

The following article by F1 academe explains more about the car -

F1 Academy gears up for inaugural 2023 season with brand new car
F1 Academy gears up for inaugural 2023 season with brand new car

All drivers competing in f1 academy must be between (and equal to) 16-25 years of age. All drivers are only allowed to compete in two seasons of the series. This is a very crucial rule as it forces drivers to seek opportunity in other championships and progress, instead of repeating in the same series. This also paves the way for new talent every year.

With its rules and regulations, F1 academy is designed to give drives a challenging car, and let them have more track time to develop their mental, physical and technical skills. Participating drivers are also eligible to get FIA super license points with the winner of the 2024 season bagging 10 followed by 7 for 2nd and 5 for 3rd position and 3 points for 4th and 1 for 5th. Super license points are important for drivers to enter higher levels of competition. This also ensures the best of the best come to the series to seek super license points, increasing competition and driver development through the series.

To give a proper competition and to help developing drivers get accustomed to higher standards of racing the series competed on F1 grade circuits - the best and most challenging. For the 2023 season, F1 academy went to Red Bull Ring in Austria, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, Zandvroot in Netherlands, Monza in Italy, Le Castellet in France and COTA in Texas, US. Throughout the season the series supported many other championships i.e, was held on the same weekend as other series. These include NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Formula Regional European Championship, DT and FIA WEC. For the last race of the 2023 season, the series met up with Formula 1 at Circuit of the Americas in the US. The last race was also the only race of the season to be broadcasted.

F1 Academy created a lot of buzz when it was announced. Fans were eager and supportive of the series. The series however did not broadcast six of seven races in 2023. While the reasons for this were never really explicitly explained, racing community accepts that due to either broadcasting rights or to protect the series from negative publicity in its beginning, this was done. The last race, which was broadcasted alongside Formula 1 garnered much support and excitement.

In 2024, the series is set to visit Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Miami in US, Barcelona in Spain, Zandvroot in Netherlands, Marina Bay circuit in Singapore, Lusail in Qatar and Yas Marina in the UAE. This season all the races are set to be broadcasted and all races supporting Formula 1.

Being held at the same weekend as Formula 1 makes sure there's high visibility of the series. This helps drivers garner public support and seek sponsorship, which ultimately helps them progress in their career.

This article is part of series titled "The long road to seeing a woman drive in Formula 1". What happened in F1 Academy Season 1 and what impact did it leave - Find out in the next Article.