By Tara Feeney
Formula 1 is a European sport with a relatively small American audience for a long time. NASCAR has long since dominated our racing channels and interest. However, from 2018 to 2022, the average viewership for Formula 1 in America has grown from 500 thousand to roughly 1.4 million. Because of that increase in viewership, Formula 1 events and Grands Prix have started to pop up around the U.S., with the latest one being in Austin, Texas. This Grand Prix was more important than just your standard race as F1 Academy crowned its first-ever champion, Marta Garcia. F1 Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was one of the first to congratulate Garcia, showing support from within the highest levels of the sport toward female advancement in the field. In addition, fellow Mercedes driver George Russell was the one to hand out the trophies to the podium winners.
F1 Academy is an all-female Formula 1 academy formed with the intention of inspiring young women to explore their future paths in motorsport. The academy is starting strong, having been founded earlier this year. Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said, “We created F1 Academy to bring about real and lasting change to ensure young female talent have the right system in place to follow and achieve their dreams.” Undoubtedly, the future is bright for the academy and the future of women interested in getting involved in the sport. As for how the academy works – five teams race, each consisting of three drivers per team, and ages ranging from 16 to 25. Groups like the academy are essential for the future of the sport as they foster young talent and help to secure the future of Formula 1 itself. In 2024, F1 Academy will go international with races in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. To follow along on their journey, you can follow them on Instagram at @f1academy.