‘It’s super important’ – Formula 1 drivers show support ahead of second F1 ACADEMY season

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - FEBRUARY 22: Jessica Edgar of Great Britain and Rodin Motorsport (17) drives

Several Formula 1 drivers have praised the return of F1 ACADEMY ahead of the category kicking off its second season this weekend in Saudi Arabia, with all 10 F1 teams backing a driver in the series this year.

After its inaugural campaign in 2023, F1 ACADEMY will race across seven different venues in 2024 and each event will support a Formula 1 weekend. The action begins in Jeddah on Thursday, when the 15 drivers – alongside a Wild Card entry, who will be Reema Juffali this weekend – will hit the track for free practice and qualifying before two races take place on Friday.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2024 F1 ACADEMY season

During the drivers’ press conference ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the likes of Charles Leclerc and George Russell spoke of the importance of F1 ACADEMY, which aims to champion the next generation of female talent within motorsport.

“It is super important to see this new series with all the Formula 1 teams involved,” said Leclerc. “I think it’s amazing, and also to give the chance to all these women that are hoping to one day join Formula 1, and to give them a platform in order they can show what they are really capable of, so I think it’s a great thing for sure.”

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 06: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari attends the Drivers Press

Leclerc was amongst the drivers to show his support for F1 ACADEMY ahead of the Jeddah event

Russell was in agreement, adding: “Following on from what Charles said, I think it’s really great that Formula 1 are giving the chance for these women to showcase their talents, and with all of the Formula 1 teams backing and supporting them, [providing] extra visibility, racing on Formula 1 race weekends.

“I think it’s just the beginning of a lot of great things to come.”

READ MORE: Inaugural F1 Academy champion Marta Garcia to receive fully funded FRECA seat for 2024

Nico Hulkenberg commented that it would be “interesting and fascinating” to see how the F1 ACADEMY races unfolded in Jeddah, while Lance Stroll added: “It’s great for the sport, it expands the sport, and I’ll be, like Nico, watching the race this weekend.”

Valtteri Bottas also hailed the “platform” that F1 ACADEMY provides.

“I think it’s awesome,” the Finn stated. “It’s really great to see and a great platform, so [I] will be watching.”

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 06: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff poses for a photo with

Every F1 team's livery will feature on an F1 ACADEMY car in 2024, with Doriane Pin supported by Mercedes

And with each Formula 1 team’s livery featuring on the cars raced by the drivers they are respectively backing – while the others will be supported by F1 ACADEMY's Official Partners – Yuki Tsunoda is amongst those looking forward to seeing this on track.

“[I] can’t wait to see our livery racing,” the RB driver said. “I think it will be a great series.”

READ MORE: Saudi Arabian racer Reema Juffali announced as F1 ACADEMY Wild Card entry for Round 1 in Jeddah

After Marta Garcia was crowned the inaugural F1 ACADEMY champion in 2023, this year’s 15 drivers will kick off the competition to become the next championship winner this weekend in Jeddah.

The category will then race alongside F1 in Miami, Barcelona, Zandvoort, Singapore and Lusail before concluding in Yas Island as part of the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.



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