Formula One has announced that it is launching an all-female driver category – the F1 Academy – which will make its debut in 2023.
In a bid to develop and prepare young female drivers to progress to higher levels of the competition, including W Series, Formula One, Formula Two, and Formula Three, the series will contain five teams run by current F2 and F3 teams, each entering three cars to make up a 15-car grid.
The first season will consist of seven events, with three races each – amounting to a total of 21 races – plus 15 days of official testing, with the 2023 calendar set to be released in due course.
The organisation has reiterated that the aim of the series is to ‘maximise the opportunity and potential of young female drivers to reach the highest level in motorsport’, as well as to provide young talent currently in go-karting or other junior categories with access to the experience needed prior to racing in F3 and joining the pyramid to Formula One.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their potential, and Formula One wants to ensure we are doing everything we can to create greater diversity and routes into this incredible sport,” said Formula One’s President and CEO, Stefano Domenicali.
“That is why I am delighted to announce the F1 Academy that will give young female drivers the best chance to fulfil their ambitions through a comprehensive programme that supports their racing careers and gives them everything they need to move into F3, and hopefully to F2, and then the pinnacle of Formula One.
“The more opportunity there is, the better and this is designed to provide another route for the drivers to succeed.”
Furthermore, as the new avenue intends to add an extra route for the next generation of young female drivers, the news follows F1’s claim that females do not have the same amount of experience as their male counterparts at the same age.
The new series follows the sport’s 2019 sustainability, diversity and inclusion strategy, where it made a commitment to build a more diverse and inclusive sport.
“Over the past few years, we have been making strong progress on these important issues within our own business and across the sport,” added Formula One’s Head of Sustainability, Ellen Jones.
“Today’s announcement is a very important commitment that will ensure young female drivers get the very best opportunity to begin their professional motorsport career and climb the ladder to the top by developing their skills and experience in the right way and with the right level support.”