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Aurelia Nobels moves to F1 Academy with ART Grand Prix in PUMA entry

Aurelia Nobels is set to move from Italian F4 to F1 Academy, as the Brazilian joins ART Grand Prix in a PUMA supported entry.

Michelle Gatting, Iron Dames
Photo credits: ACI Sport

Aurelia Nobels is set to switch from Italian F4 to the all-female F1 Academy championship in 2024, as the Brazilian confirmed a deal that will see her joining the ranks of ART Grand Prix for the series' sophomore season.

The 17 year old will therefore enter her third year of single-seater racing, having contested the Brazilian F4 in 2022 and both the Italian and Euro4 championships in 2023, once she was contracted to the Ferrari Driver Academy following her victory in the Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme.

Nobels has now been confirmed by Ferrari for a second season within the prestigious driver development programme, and will move from Italian F4 to the all-female F1 Academy championship, as previously hinted by Ferrari itself. After confirmation at the Jeddah pre-season tests, Aurelia is set to join the French squad ART Grand Prix for the 2024 season, racing under the banner of PUMA.

“I’m super happy! It’s a new opportunity and I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot,” Nobels said. “I’m going to do my best to represent Puma as well as possible. I love the livery. I think the car is very different and nice, I love the colours. It feels amazing, it’s a big brand and so special.”

Born in the US from Belgian parents and raised in Brazil, Nobels had a remarkable karting progression and soon became one of the most promising up-and-coming talents in Brazil. She then made her single seater debut in the inaugural edition of the Brazilian F4 championship, where she was the only female driver in 2022 and scored her first points in Interlagos on her third race weekend. She added a P9 and a P8 finish at Velo Città, before moving full time to Europe.

She in fact completed the 2022 season in Europe, with appearances in Danish F4 as well as in the Spanish F4 finale, before being announced as the winner of the third Girls On Track - Rising Stars selection. Having joined Prema/Iron Dames, Aurelia marginally missed out on a point scoring result at her debut in the hugely competitive Italian F4, but her season was also affected by a series of accidents and an injury at Misano that left her sidelined for two rounds. She battled in the midfield in the second half of the season, including strong showings at Monza and Barcelona in the Euro4 Championship, where again she almost finished in the points.

At the end of her first season within the Ferrari Driver Academy, Nobels was confirmed alongside Maya Weug as the two female drivers in the programme - and will now switch to F1 Academy for a new challenge in 2024, as Puma continues its support of female talents, having also previously sponsored two cars in W Series in 2021 and 2022.

For nearly 40 years Puma has been an industry leader in developing motorsport clothing – pioneering fireproof overalls, race shoes and other high-performance gear - before more recently designing team and fan clothing, as well as lifestyle collections that attract a new generation of fans.

“PUMA's collaboration with F1 Academy is so much more than just a sponsorship; it's a continued commitment to the advancement of female in sport, specifically Motorsport" Maria Valdes, PUMA Chief Product Officer, said. "This partnership feels natural to our brand as we continue to push sport and culture forward.”

Nobels is the third driver to join the category with a sponsorship deal, after Emely de Heus (Red Bull) and Lola Lovinfosse (with high end make up brand Charlotte Tilbury).

"Through its collaborations with the world’s biggest artists and creators, PUMA has been able to push the boundaries between sport, lifestyle, and fashion to create streetwear which reaches a wider and more diverse audience", added F1 Academy Managing Director Susie Wolff. "This, coupled with PUMA’s strong motorsport legacy and its commitment to innovation make it the perfect brand to collaborate with F1 Academy as the series looks to inspire a younger generation of fans.”

Second in the inaugural F1 Academy drivers' championship thanks to Sauber junior Léna Bühler, ART Grand Prix, the French outfit therefore completes its 2024 F1 Academy roster: Aurelia Nobels join McLaren Academy talent and 2023 race winner Bianca Bustamante, as well as Williams Academy new addition Lia Block.

“Aurelia is still very young, but she has shown her determination by racing on several continents and adapting to the European system", said Sébastien Philippe, team principal. "She is racing in the F4 UAE this winter, which will enable her to be in top form from the start of the F1 Academy season. The step is high, but it’s the kind of challenge ART Grand Prix likes to tackle to help young drivers build their careers.” 

The series is expanding to a 7 event calendar, always on the F1 support bill. The first round is scheduled for 8-9 March in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.



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