F1 will start racing series for women in 2023

Formula One women
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Formula One is launching a new racing series for women that will start next year.

The series, to be known as the F1 Academy, will be subsidized by F1 and is likely to be a support series for one weekend of the F1 season.

F1 said it would contribute funding of 150,000 euros ($156,000) per car “and will require the drivers to cover the same amount, which represents a fraction of the usual costs in a comparable series.”

They will represent teams that are currently involved in Formula Two or Formula Three. Speaking at the launch, F1 Academy manager Bruno Michel defended the costs involved in the new series and said there could be funding from established F1 teams too.

“From the first feedback I have from the teams, I don’t think we’re going to have issues to find drivers with this kind of quite reasonable budget,” Michel said. “I am quite sure as well that some of the Formula One academies are going to start to work on that and help funding this kind of money for the drivers as well.”

There will be 15 cars on the grid for a 21-race season split across seven rounds. The series will aim to recruit “young talent currently in go-karting or other junior categories” in the hope they can later graduate to Formula Three as a next step, and eventually compete in F1.

The announcement comes less than two months after another all-female event, the W Series, cut its season short due to financial problems.

The W Series has been free to enter for drivers, unlike the F1 Academy and most other developmental series that require young drivers to bring their own financial backing from family money, investors or sponsors. It also uses Formula Three cars rather than the modified Formula Four-specification cars planned for the F1 Academy.

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said she believed the two events could coexist.

“W Series welcomes any initiative which shares our ambition to provide more opportunities for women in motorsport,” Bond Muir said in a statement.

“Our objective from the start has always been to increase the talent pool of women racing drivers, and the addition of the F1 Academy as a feeder to W Series and other series is a further step in inspiring the next generation to progress up the motorsport ladder.”

W Series ran into financial trouble this season and canceled its final three races in Mexico and the United States, to focus on raising funds for 2023. It has yet to publish a schedule for next season.

“We are looking forward to finalizing W Series’ plans for 2023 and beyond, providing exciting racing and entertaining our fans around the world,” Bond Muir said.

Five women have competed in F1, but none has done so for 30 years. Giovanna Amati was the most recent woman to officially enter an F1 event when she took part in qualifying for three races in 1992. Other female drivers have been involved in F1 testing since then. The last woman to start an F1 race was Lella Lombardi in 1976.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.