F1 Academy champion Marta García announces step up to FRECA via fully funded seat
F1 Academy announced a progression path for its inaugural champion Marta García, who has received a fully-funded opportunity to step up to Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine with Prema.
After clinching the first ever F1 Academy title last weekend at COTA, Marta García will step up to Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine with Italian team Prema Racing, thanks to a partnership between F1 Academy, Prema Racing, Tatuus and Pirelli that highlight the commitment to provide the series' winner with a pathway to progress.
The FRECA seat will in fact be a fully funded opportunity - in possibly one of the most significant steps forward for female drivers to date.
After her win in Formula 4 machinery, FRECA was in fact the most natural level of progression for the F1 Academy champion, who will therefore have the chance to prove herself in one of the world's top mixed-gender feeder series.
“F1 Academy is all about progression and creating more opportunities for young women across motorsport, so to offer a fully funded seat in FRECA for our inaugural champion is a significant moment" - commented Susie Wolff, Managing Director of F1 Academy. "The fact that she will also continue to race with PREMA, whom she has built a relationship with and are current team champions in this category, will also aid in her future development."
Progression up the ladder was in fact one of the most crucial points for the all-female championship to introduce real change within the industry and this development highlights a real effort to support its top drivers.
The partnership between F1 Academy and FRECA will also include the amendment of FRECA's sporting regulation regarding the teams' fourth car reserved for female drivers. The rule was in place until 2022, but was cancelled in 2023. From 2024, FRECA's top teams will be able to line up a fourth full-season entry if they sign one of the drivers that finished in the F1 Academy top three standings.
Further improvements include the reduced budget that drivers are required to cover for an F1 Academy season - from €150,000 to €100,000 for the 2024 season, with the rest of the budget being subsidized by F1 and its partners.
This reduction is also a positive step towards a more accessible entry level in formula cars for female drivers, paired with a significant amount of track time from testing and within the racing weekend.
"I am proud of the progress we have made in our first season, and as we begin to build for our 2024 season where we will join the F1 calendar, this announcement, alongside the decision to further subsidise the 2024 F1 Academy driver contribution to €100,000, is a statement of our continued commitment to make motorsport more accessible and break down the barriers faced by female drivers” - Wolff continued.
This milestone agreement means that Marta García will make a further step up in her career, joining Prema Racing in the team's Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine's roster. After seven wins, five pole positions and 12 podiums, García secured the F1 Academy title with two races to spare at COTA, preceding Léna Bühler and Hamda Al Qubaisi in the championship standings.
“So thrilled and excited to be racing in FRECA next year," Marta commented. "Coming from F1 Academy, it’s going to be a big step. We know we will have to work a lot with the team to succeed but I’m really determined to do well."
"I can’t thank F1 Academy enough. It is such a fantastic initiative, and it is the right way to do it, trying to take drivers with the best results to the top level. What an amazing opportunity, I’m looking forward to it and to the work that we have ahead, inside and outside the track.”
García, 23, has been a big name of international karting competitions in the past, including a breakthrough victory at the 2015 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy and Trofeo delle Industrie. The Valencian was rightfully regarded as one of the most exciting karting talent and stepped up to single seaters in 2016, as she contested the Spanish F4 championship. Having struggled to secure funding, she would return behind the wheel in 2019, when she was selected for the inaugural season of the all-female W Series championship. After a highly impressive campaign, García took two podiums and a race win at Norisring, finishing fourth in the standings.
She returned to W Series in 2021 and 2022, collecting two more podiums at Spa and Singapore. Marta then joined Prema for the first F1 Academy season in 2023 - and immediately became the first ever driver to score a pole position and a race win in the series.
Her consistency and speed at every round visited translated in the title winning performance at Circuit of the Americas last weekend.
"We are really happy to continue working with Marta for 2024", Rene Rosin, Team Principal at Prema Racing stated. "We were really impressed by her approach and professionalism, and the progress she made throughout the year showed that she is ready to take the next chapter of her career. This step is also a great testament to the work done by F1 Academy in the development and promotion of young woman talent in motorsport."