Chloe Chong signs with Prema for F1 Academy
'Girls On Track - Rising Stars' finalist Chloe Chong is Prema Racing's second signing for the upcoming F1 Academy championship – effectively making the step up from karting in the all-female series.
After announcing Bianca Bustamante for a seat in its highly-coveted driver line-up, top team Prema Racing has signed 15-year-old Chloe Chong as its second signing for the upcoming F1 Academy championship, set to get underway in a month's time with collective testing and the first round.
Chong is by far the youngest driver announced to date in the new all-female series and also the only driver that will be contesting her first season in single seaters without previous racing experience: she will make her debut from karting to F4, in one of the best junior teams in the world for driver development.
The British driver – who also has Canadian citizenship – is no stranger to the F4 car though, having been among the four finalists of last year's edition of the FIA Girls On Track - Rising Stars programme. Chong was selected for the selection stage among the Senior drivers at Circuit Paul Ricard, where six young women were assessed through tests in karting and Formula 4.
Chloe – who was one of the least experienced in cars and had only driven the F4 car once before the selections – impressed the jury for her improvements and advanced to the final stage in Maranello, Italy, where she drove the Iron Lynx F4 Tatuus-spec car.
As per the series goals when announced in November last year, F1 Academy will serve as a platform to move her first steps in single seaters, providing Chong with a chance to prove herself on a global stage, on some of the most exciting racing venues and with visibility from the F1 brand.
“This will be my first year in cars and it’s a dream come true to have been given the opportunity to make my debut with such a renowned team as Prema", Chloe said.
"I look forward to working with them, both in and out of the car to form some solid foundations and results in F1 Academy.”
Chong has made her way up the karting ranks in the British Karting Championship in the last couple of years; she raced as well in the IAME Ladies Cup in France in the Junior X30 and Senior X30 classes, after a season in Rotax Max Euro Trophy the year before.
While it will certainly be a learning season for Chong, among some much more experienced drivers – several with seasons in Formula Regional machinery under their belt – Chong has time on her side and will focus on learning from one of the most successful teams in European feeder series.
“We always relish the chance to welcome new drivers from karting and having Chloe on board for her auto racing debut in our new F1 Academy team is particularly exciting" - added Rene Rosin, Prema's Team Principal.
"She has been impressive so far and she demonstrated it through the FIA Girls On Track - Rising Star selections and the FDA Scouting Camp. We think we spotted some great potential in terms of driving and mentality, and knowing that she has so much road ahead makes us confident about our future together.”
Collective testing will kick off in Barcelona on 11-12 April, with the first of the seven scheduled rounds going underway at Red Bull Ring, Austria, on 28-29 April.
The series will visit some of the most popular racing venues in Europe – including Valencia, Barcelona, Zandvoort, Monza and Paul Ricard - before the season finale at COTA, in conjunction with the F1 US Grand Prix. Chong is the tenth driver out of 15 announced for the inaugural season.