Driving change: Inside the revolution of the F1 Academy

With Suzie Wolff at the helm, can F1 Academy be the one turn the tide?

Megan Grimston
9th April 2024
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons (Lukas Raich)
Formula One Academy is the females-only sister of Formula One. Run by ex-racing driver, and Managing Director Suzie Wolff, F1 Academy races at a Formula Four level across the globe. In its second year of existence, the academy is set to race across three continents in seven races, all following the F1 calendar. Being linked to F1, the academy has undoubtedly been faced with a plethora of expectations and assumptions. However, this relation to the world-famous motorsport might not have any boundaries on the academy, with its own aims and goals; can F1 Academy live up to expectations?

The F1 Academy was established in 2023 with one simple goal: make progress in motorsport. The aim of the academy is to be the first to head change and introduce, foster, and support the population of women in motorsport. With motorsport fostering masculine dominance, the F1 Academy is of great importance in order to inspire young women and remind them that change is on the horizon. To Wolff, the academy is much more than “a woman running a thing for women” and is about authenticity and changing preconceptions about women in the field. On a racing level, the goals of F1 Academy are "to give drivers access to more track time... it will provide access to the fundamental level of experience needed" as Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team described it.

With being related to F1, the academy expectedly had the influence of the motorsport category; for good and for bad. Wolff explained "it was clear that two things had to happen - racing with F1 and having F1 teams onboard" both of which the F1 Academy now successfully has access to. Every race throughout the 2024 season is at an F1 race also, starting with Jeddah between 7th-9th March. Beyond that, every F1 team is represented by one driver in the academy, presenting their livery and branding: Doriane Pin with Mercedes, Maya Weug with Scuderia Ferrari, Abbi Pulling with Alpine, and Hamda Al Qubaisi with Red Bull Racing to name a few. The participation from the teams is full of enthusiasm in promoting women in motorsport. However, perhaps with no fault from F1, the sheer scale of popularity the category faces across the globe stints the development of the F1 Academy; forcing them into a loop of not having the financial backing the academy deserves, making it harder to advertise the academy to a wider audience.

With motorsport fostering masculine dominance, F1 Academy is of great importance to inspire young women and remind them that change is on the horizon.

What does this all mean for the future of the academy? If the support of F1 and fans of motorsport continues, it's likely that the F1 Academy will only grow larger; hopefully breaking out of the loop of overshadowing. The academy has already seen a 25% increase in female participation in the sport for the 2024 season while only being one weekend in and with an increase in support from all corners, this percentage is only going to grow. External to F1, the academy has had a 265% increase in females participating in the BIKC (British Indoor Karting Championships) after their karting business opened in 2023.

Despite all the odds of a masculine-dominated sport, the Formula One Academy has exceeded expectations. There is now a strong and successful community of women who have the time, room, and track to develop and enhance skills in motorsport like never received before. The academy also fosters safety for female audiences to the sport, encouraging enjoyment and enthusiasm without judgement.

(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ReLated Articles
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap