Maya Weug secured in Monza her sixth point-scoring finish of the season in her rookie Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine campaign, marking another outstanding weekend for the young FDA racer.
Ferrari Academy driver Maya Weug conquered in Monza her sixth point-scoring finish of the season in her rookie Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine campaign, marking another outstanding weekend for the young racer competing for Finnish squad KIC Motorsport.
After two highly promising seasons in Italian F4, Weug made the step up to FRECA, one of the most competitive junior single seater championships globally. Having won the inaugural edition of the FIA Girls On Track Rising Stars programme, Maya became the first female driver to enter the prestigious FDA and received support in her climb up the ladder from the Italian team. In 2023, the Belgian-Dutch driver became the eighth woman to enter Formula Regional European Championship since its inception in 2019.
After a couple of rounds where she adapted to the new car – famously a heavy and very physically demanding one – Weug showed impressive development and claimed points in both races at Spa Francorchamps. She would return to the top 10 - in an over 30 car field - at Mugello and Paul Ricard, carrying momentum in a spectacularly impressive season.
For the eighth round of the season at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Maya was eager to return to the points-scoring positions after an unfortunate round at Red Bull Ring – and she soon confirmed her great form in wet weather conditions on Friday at the Temple of Speed, slotting in the top-10 in FP1. In a dry second session, Maya continued to run in the top half of the classification, as times remained very tight throughout the day.
Q1 went underway on Saturday morning, with Weug posting a 1:47.698 that put her eighth in Group A. Despite all cars being separated by literally thousandths of a second, the result meant she would line up from P16 on the grid for race 1, which got underway later in the afternoon in sunny conditions.
Having led the Group A in qualifying, Marcus Amand slotted into second place but took over the lead from pole-sitter Rafael Camara after a great start, with a few cars running deep into turn one. Weug retained P16 after a hectic start in the crowded midfield, but a few skirmishes at the second chicane dropped the KIC Motorsport driver to P19.
From third, Antonelli cleared both Camara and Amand in a matter of a few corners and grabbed the lead – moments before the safety car was deployed when Jesse Carrasquedo and Giovanni Maschio came to a halt on track at La Roggia. There was more drama when pole sitter Rafael Camara also limped back to the pits with a terminal issue for the #8 Prema car.
The race was back underway with 20 minutes to go and Maya Weug was eager to recover from P18. Antonelli defended from Amand and Giusti – but the action was short lived, as Meguetounif, Capietto and Tramnitz made heavy contact at the first chicane. Back in P15, Maya kept it clean and was right in the slipstream of Durksen and Fittipaldi at the restart on lap 7. Amand and Belov collided at the second chicane – in a non-stop sequence of major moments that led to yet another neutralization.
Weug made her way back up to P13 and, with 5 minutes left on the clock, picked up a position on Revesz at the restart; she then attacked Durksen but had to back off. Antonelli was unchallenged ahead, while three Frenchmen battled for second: Amand, Giusti and Bernier were separated by tenths of a second and the Sauber junior set the fastest lap of the race as he defended the runner up spot.
Weug overtook Durksen on lap 12 but the Paraguayan fought back and reclaimed eleventh.
Having crossed the finish line in P12, Maya Weug was then promoted to P9 after penalties hit race winner Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Marcus Amand and Santiago Ramos. With a very solid showing, Weug therefore recovered seven places from her starting position despite the limited green flag running time – and claimed her sixth point-scoring finish of the season.
The second qualifying session was an extra challenge for the FRECA drivers, who were welcomed by damp track conditions after heavy overnight rain.
The early starting time meant that the track had a huge development through the 15 minute sessions and KIC Motorsport attempted a bold strategy: running alone – on a track which notoriously rewards slipstream – Maya attempted to be the last driver to take the chequered flag.
The strategy was perfectly executed and, while Weug was consistently around the top eighth after every attempt, she managed to cross the line 3 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack.
In the extra lap, Maya improved to sixth in the group A and, thanks to a couple of grid drop penalties, she would line up from P10 in race 2 in the afternoon.
Antonelli had to try to make up for Saturday’s penalty and, by starting from pole, the home hero held off Santaigo Ramos into turn 1 once the lights went off for Monza's race 2; Maya Weug got stuck at the tricky first chicane and had to give up a few positions, slotting into P15 after the first lap, but could recover to 12th one lap later. A contact in the infamous first corner took out Joshua Durksen after being hit by championship contender Martinius Stenshorne – and the latter had to pit with damage once the safety car was deployed.
At the restart, Roman Bilinski battled for second and Ramos was spun around at the first chicane, which ended up giving an advantage to race leader Antonelli. Camara was now all over the back of Bilinski, who eventually lost second.
Maya Weug had a great restart and moved up to P11, but the Ferrari Driver Academy driver was then shuffled back to P15 as she had to briefly go off track to avoid contacts.
Positions ahead settled, with Antonelli and Camara gapping the rest of the field. Weug gained yet another position and got ahead of Esteban Masson’s Sainteloc Junior machine; having moved up to P14, she chased Maceo Capietto closely.
Seconds after Rafael Camara took the lead at first chicane, a big crash at Serraglio involving Tom Lebbon and Pierre Alexandre Provost brought out the safety car – and then the red flag, which declared the early end of the race. With the result being taken to the previous lap, Andrea Kimi Antonelli took victory, ahead of Rafael Camara and Tim Tramnitz.
A P14 was then converted into P13 for Maya Weug, which represented another positive recovery after the chaotic first laps. Maya was third among the rookies and always kept her cool on a track that traditionally rewards patience. With 27 points to her name, Weug moves up to 17th in the drivers' championship standings and keeps third in the rookies classification. Next up will be one of her home tracks at Zandvoort on 14-15 October – where she will aim to continue the spectacularly positive season in its penultimate round.