For the first season, five teams with experience in junior categories, including F2 and F3, will field 15 drivers. The first season features 21 races held on seven weekends, starting April 28-29 at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria, and wrapping up Oct. 22-23 at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, as part of the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Each race weekend will feature two qualifying sessions and three races, which means that managing the weekend in order to maximize points will be crucial for the first ever F1 Academy Champion.
The F1 Academy car specs are: a Tatuus T421 carbon-fiber chassis with an Autotech-prepared turbocharged 4-cylinder engines rated at 165 horsepower, capable of pushing the cars to a top speed of 149 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration of 3.6 seconds.
As such, the cars are similar to Formula 4 machinery — and slightly less powerful than the W Series cars — and slot in below Formula 3 on the FIA's Road to F1 pyramid.
"Diversity is extremely important in motorsport, and with the F1 Academy we will prove that female drivers have what it takes to compete at high levels. I am absolutely convinced that if young women are given the same amount of experience as any other driver, they can successfully make their way through the pyramid," Bruno Michel, general manager of F1 Academy, said.
"Our goal is to see female drivers on the F3 grid in the next two to three years, and for them to quickly challenge for points and podiums. The aim is to increase the field in the near future, because we hope that this category will inspire more young girls to compete in motorsport at the highest of levels."
Pirelli, the designated tire supplier to the FIA Formula 1, 2 and 3 racing series for the past dozen years, recently disclosed its interest in continuing in that role after the Federation International de l'Automobile published a tender offer for the 2025-27 seasons.
Pirelli has been active in motorsports since in 1907 and currently is involved in roughly 350 car and motorcycle sporting competitions worldwide. It makes racing tires at plants in Slatina, Romania, and Izmit, Turkey.
The company recently upgraded the motorsports-related assets at its Milan, Italy, research and development facility with the addition of a tire-testing wheel capable of speeds up to 310 mph.