What comes next ?

What's next for F1 Academy 2023 drivers -

What comes next ?
F1 Academy 2023 Winner, Marta Garcia (Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES)
"I’m feeling really good, amazing. When I won, when I crossed past the chequered flag, I didn’t really feel it, I don’t know why! But after that, during the cool down lap, I started being a bit emotional, thinking of everything, all of the hard work we’ve been doing this year with the team. It’s great to obviously win the title, being the first champion of F1 Academy it feels amazing." - Marta García, F1 Academy Champion 2023

15 drivers participated in F1 Academy's inaugural season. The series set out to help drivers transition into F1 feeder series and move up the ladder. Marta García emerged as the Champion of the F1 academy 2023. But what comes next? Many other that performed well, what's in store for them next season? According to F1 Academy rules, the winner cannot join the series for another season and no driver can be in the series for more than 2 seasons. So what options did F1 academy open for these drivers -

Marta García

As a result of her victory in F1 academy, Marta García received a fully funded seat for FRECA 2024. FRECA or Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine is a prestigious higher level racing series. It's the next step in the ladder.

Marta García will also continue to race with Prema Racing, the team she won her title with in FRECA. The seat is being funded by F1 Academy, Prema Racing and Tatuus and Pirelli.

"So thrilled and excited to be racing in FRECA next year. Coming from F1 Academy, it’s going to be a big step. We know we will have to work a lot with the team to succeed but I’m really determined to do well. I can’t thank F1 Academy enough. It is such a fantastic initiative, and it is the right way to do it, trying to take drivers with the best results to the top level. What an amazing opportunity, I’m looking forward to it and to the work that we have ahead, inside and outside the track." - Marta Garcia
F1 Academy 2023 Champion Marta García with fellow Spaniard and F1 driver Carlos Sainz (Photo Credit: Mark Sutton, motorsport images)

This sponsorship redefines F1 academy's commitment to development and promotion of young women in motorsport. Jamie Chadwick who was a three time W-series winner didn't get what she deserved and what was due to her. She never got to advance in F1 feeder series and has since joined the INDY NXT, the INDYCAR feeder series in the US. F1 academy is starting to show what it intended to do differs from its predecessors and the real action they're putting towards it.

"I think it’s great for the opportunities for young women. Right now it’s just been the first year, but I think there is a lot to come. I’m sure it’s going to be great, and also with the programmes F1 Academy runs like Discover Your Drive and Champions of the Future. All of this is really good, and I think there are still more things to come, more things to be able to do. It will be mega." - Garcia

Léna Bühler

F1 academy Vice champion and Sauber academy backed driver Léna Bühler put on an impressive fight and a great stint throughout her season. She too is progressing to the next step in the ladder, joining Marta García once again, in FRECA 2024.

"Formula Regional was the natural next step after F1 Academy, and I am delighted and proud to make this progression. I want to thank Sauber Academy, my team and of course my sponsors for believing in me and for all their support last season – I cannot wait to get started again, and to achieve even greater results together." - Léna Bühler (Photo Credit: F1 Academy)

Joining Other series

Campos Racing's Maite Cáceres is set to race in Formula 4 US Championship for the 2024 season with Inter MS team. The Uruguayan driver has previously raced in US in 2022 before joining F1 Academy and is rejoining her team.

British driver Chloe Grant is leaving F1 academy to join GB4 championship in 2024 with KMR Motorsport. Fellow country driver Chloe Chong, who was youngest on the Grid of F1 academy, has also moved to British F4 with JHR Developments.

Returning Drivers

French driver Lola Lovinfosse, British drivers Abbi Pulling and Jessica Edgar, Dutch driver Emely de Heus, Emiratis sister Hamda and Amna Al Qubaisi, Filipina Bianca Bustamante, German driver Carrie Schreiner and Spanish driver Nerea Martí have returned to F1 Academy for a second season. This will be the last appearance for these 9 drives in the series as no driver is allowed to race for more than 2 seasons.

Other Paths

Rodin Carlin driver Megan Gilkes has retired from racing and has joined Aston Martin F1 team as an aeronautical engineer.

As all 15 drivers who participated in the inaugural season have a seat to drive in in 2024, the 2023 F1 Academy season is understood as a success both in driver development and in scripting a new path for women to reach higher levels of racing in Motorsports.

“I'm hugely proud of what we've achieved at this point. It's still just the beginning, I think there's a lot more we can do, but I can already see the positive impact we're having and that's something which is reassuring to know that we're on the right path." Susie Wolff, MD F1 Academy

This article is part of series titled "The long road to seeing a woman drive in Formula 1". Is F1 Academy the only path for young drivers? Find out in the next article.