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5 storylines we're excited for as F1 ACADEMY battle it out in Barcelona

F1 ACADEMY Content Editor

Hannah Prydderch
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Summer is here, as the 2024 F1 ACADEMY field kick off their European leg with a trip to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

A clean sweep for Abbi Pulling last time out has extended the Alpine driver’s lead out in front to 34 points. But with last year’s visit delivering two first-time winners, don’t be surprised to see a few more names in the mix out front.

READ MORE: Pulling extends title lead with back-to-back Miami victories

Can anybody catch Pulling?

Three wins in four races, there’s no doubt Pulling has earned herself a sizeable advantage at this early stage of the campaign. Sitting one point off breaking the 100-point barrier, the Alpine driver is buoyed by her success during the break, as she became the first female winner in British F4.

However, the Briton isn’t out of touching distance yet and by the time the chequered flag flies on Race 2, our leading title protagonists should become clear.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Race winner Abbi Pulling of Great Britain and Rodin Motorsport (9)

Abbi Pulling has a sizeable advantage at this early stage of the F1 ACADEMY campaign

Her nearest rival Doriane Pin will be looking to return to the top step for the first time since the opening race of the year, with her PREMA Racing teammate, Maya Weug a further 14 points behind.

After their storming performances in Miami, keep a close eye on Chloe Chambers, who brought home her and Haas’ maiden podium, and McLaren’s Bianca Bustamante, who will be looking to move up from fifth into the top three.

READ MORE: F1 ACADEMY docuseries produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to launch globally on Netflix in 2025

A shake-up in the order?

In contrast to Jeddah and Miami, the Spanish circuit is a return to more familiar surroundings. Well-versed around the track thanks to pre-season testing and its presence on many junior series calendars, the drivers can immediately get stuck into working on their set up and comparing their development after two rounds.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Williams’ Lia Block predicted that a shake-up of the order could be on the cards. After earning her maiden point last time out, could the ART Grand Prix driver be one of the ones to throw her hat in the ring this weekend?

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 20: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) Lia Block of United

Lia Block predicted a shake-up of the order could be on the cards in Barcelona

PREMA and Rodin neck-and-neck

Whilst one Rodin Motorsport car might have a sizeable lead in the Drivers’ Standings, the New Zealand squad are playing catch up to PREMA Racing in the Teams’ table. Rodin’s Miami efforts certainly helped their mission to overhaul the reigning Champions, securing 62 points to the Italian’s 51.

However, last year neither team stood on the top step in Barcelona – something Pulling will be hoping to rectify, whilst her team mates Jessica Edgar and Charlotte Tilbury driver Lola Lovinfosse are also searching for their first wins of their sophomore campaigns.

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Marti making her mark on home terrain

Nerea Marti and Campos Racing have an extra helping of support this weekend, as both the Tommy Hilfiger driver and her team aim to give their home fans plenty to celebrate. The momentum has been with them recently, with the Spanish team earning podiums in both the opening rounds.

Recording two P6 and a P7 finishes there last year, Marti will be keen to add some silverware to her collection but will need to continue her strong Qualifying pace to make that dream a reality.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 20: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) Nerea Marti of Spain

Nerea Marti will hope to give home fans plenty to celebrate

A turn of fortunes at MP

Runners-up in the 2023 Teams’ Standings, MP Motorsport’s 2024 campaign hasn’t quite matched the same level so far. Eight points finishes out of a possible 12 has left them bottom of the order, but hope is high that the Dutch team can turn things around.

Hamda Al Qubaisi, Amna Al Qubaisi and Emely De Heus all scored top three finishes at the Barcelona circuit last year. The Red Bull Ford driver’s maiden single seater victory spurred an upturn in results, with De Heus going on a run of seven consecutive points finishes and she’s confident she can taste success again.

Lastly, Spain is a poignant place for F1 ACADEMY to go racing, as it’s the last and only place a woman has ever scored points in F1. Lella Lombardi finished sixth in 1975, at the Montjuic circuit, as this field write their own places in motorsport history.

READ MORE: ‘We want to be the rocket fuel for progression’ – Susie Wolff on F1 ACADEMY’s mission as it enters a new era

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