F1 Academy runner-up Léna Bühler moves up the ladder and lands a seat at ART Grand Prix in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, where she'll represent once again the Sauber Academy.
Léna Bühler will make her return to Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine in 2024, having graduated from F1 Academy. Bühler will continue to represent Sauber Academy and, after her vice-champion title with ART Grand Prix in the inaugural season of the all-female championship promoted by F1, she will stay with the French squad.
“Formula Regional was the natural next step after F1 Academy, and I am delighted and proud to make this progression", said Bühler, who became the first ever female driver supported by Sauber Academy last year. "I want to thank Sauber Academy, my team and of course my sponsors for believing in me and for all their support last season – I cannot wait to get started again, and to achieve even greater results together."
"Over these past few months, I trained hard preparing for my debut, and I am highly motivated – it won’t be an easy task, but I am ready for the challenge.”
Léna had a remarkable season in F1 Academy, collecting 13 podiums, two victories, two pole positions and a fastest lap. The Swiss driver was one of the most consistent throughout the year and scored three podiums in her first two race weekends. At Barcelona, Bühler was about to take her first ever win in single seaters - when a technical issue denied her the success with a handful of laps to go. She would bounce back one day later, taking her first win in race 3.
That sparked a six-race streak of uninterrupted podiums that lasted until Monza's second race, when she stood again on top of the podium, having also missed a win at photofinish in race 1. With three second places and a P3 at Paul Ricard and COTA, Bühler established herself as the closest rival of eventual series champion Marta García, conquering 222 points.
As F1 Academy announced a deal with Formula Regional European Championship to facilitate the progression of its top drivers up the single seater ladder, García was the first F1 Academy alumni to announce her step up. In yet another development for her career, Bühler is now set to contest the 2024 season with ART Grand Prix, where she will team up with the previously-announced Alessandro Giusti and Yaroslav Veselaho.
“We are proud to see Léna making a step forward in her career, which is a confirmation of the importance of driver development programmes, and we are delighted to continue working with her this season", commented Beat Zehnder, Sauber Academy Director.
"Léna’s F1 Academy stint was impressive, with a record 13 podium appearances, and we are looking forward to seeing what she can achieve this year. Formula Regional will be an interesting new challenge, and we know she has the talent and the expertise to keep on achieving great things, proudly representing Sauber Academy’s programme all around Europe.”
Despite a late start into karting, Bühler quickly established herself as one of the most exciting karting talents in her home country before graduating to race cars in 2020, when she raced in the Spanish F4. In her first year of single seaters, Bühler soon showed great speed and scored points on six occasions, including two top-5 finishes.
Léna moved up to FRECA in 2021 and contested two rounds in 2022, alongside a partial campaign in the Formula Regional Asian Championship - where she was close to the top ten in a highly competitive field. At the launch of F1 Academy she was one of the two drivers racing under the banner of an F1 team.
Her single seater journey will therefore continue in one of Europe's top series, which is set to get underway on May 11-12 at Hockenheimring. Ten double-header rounds are scheduled, on some of the most prominent racetracks in Europe: Spa Francorchamps, Zandvoort, Hungaroring, Mugello, Le Castellet, Imola, Red Bull Ring, Barcelona and Monza.