F1 Academy Discover Your Drive launched with Motorsport UK and TeamSport
F1 Academy launched F1 Academy Discover Your Drive to media and industry stakeholders at an event in London’s Docklands yesterday evening.
Announced in June, the global initiative aims to increase the female talent pool in motorsport. It will offer girls and young women the opportunity to take part in entry-level programmes and professional schemes to promote female participation in the sport both on and off track.
The evening marked the launch of the first talent identification programme, F1 Academy Discover Your Drive Karting UK, a national programme in the UK to find and nurture the next generation of young female karters, operated by Motorsport UK and TeamSport.
At the event, held at TeamSport Docklands, a group of nine girls aged 8-12 who have been selected to participate in the pilot programme, took to the track for the first time in front of Susie Wolff, Managing Director of F1 Academy, Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK, Dominic Gaynor, CEO of TeamSport, and Greg Smith, Co-Chair of APPG for Motorsport.
They also received valuable tips and advice from F1 Academy drivers Abbi Pulling, Jessica Edgar, Chloe Grant and Chloe Chong.
The pilot programme will be rolled out at six TeamSport venues across the UK for the remainder of 2023. The participants will be supported through the qualifying stages of the British Indoor Karting Championships – an entry level for many British drivers – after completing their training. The programme will scale up to 35 venues across the next year.
Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK, said: “I think history will relay that this was the turning point when we gave an opportunity for young girls to get involved in motorsport like never before. I think this is the most exciting initiative that I’ve seen in female participation in motorsport in my career.”
Managing Director of F1 Academy, Susie Wolff: “It’s great to see F1 Discover Your Drive come to life for the very first time. This is the start of our journey to increase female participation in motorsport. Seeing the young girls out on track, and the potential this programme can have makes me really positive about what we can achieve with this initiative.”
Dominic Gaynor, CEO of TeamSport UK: “To get this programme kicked off is incredibly exciting. It’s been amazing to see the girls who have already signed up to the programme and are going to be going through the driver development training meeting with the F1 Academy drivers and Susie. I’m extremely proud of the part that TeamSport are playing in this amazing initiative.”
Abbi Pulling, Rodin Carlin: “It’s been a really great event. F1 Academy Discover Your Drive is an amazing initiative, and it’s great to see so many smiles on young female faces while behind the wheel of a go-kart. I think it will inspire more girls to enter the sport and have fun while doing so.”
Chloe Chong, PREMA Racing: “As F1 Academy drivers we are very passionate about this, so to see F1 Academy launch the Discover Your Drive Karting UK programme for girls in their first years of karting at an accessible venue like TeamSport is great. Walking through the doors and seeing all the young girls with smiling faces, you can tell they are all super excited to be here and to show off their skills.”