Formula 1: The big issue that F1 Academy drivers are facing

The F1 Academy was introduced in 2023, but its drivers face a rather big issue when it comes to their future progression.
Doriane Pin, Formula 1 Academy
Doriane Pin, Formula 1 Academy / Clive Rose/GettyImages

In early 2023, the official F1 Academy was introduced as an all-female circuit with Susie Wolff, wife of Mercedes Formula 1 team boss, as the director. It has proven to be a great initiative for the sport, as the consensus is that more women should be involved in FIA circuits as drivers.

There have been several prominent figures in Formula 1 who have voiced their support for women entering the sport through the F1 Academy. Lewis Hamilton has been one of those big advocates.

Max Verstappen recently made comments about how great it is for women to receive the opportunity to develop their driving skills. But he also mentioned how the F1 Academy is not providing these women with adequate resources for them to progress further.

What is the F1 Academy's big issue?

The truth is that the cars produced for the F1 Academy drivers are simply too slow, as mentioned by the Dutch driver.

“It's nice and nice that girls are now sponsored by Formula 1 teams, but what do we actually help them with?" Verstappen said. "There is no next step for them now. For example, the gap to a Formula 4 car is already too big.”

His stance is valid, as the whole point of this initial idea turning into a reality was to create a pathway for women to make it to the top. If these cars are too slow, then adjusting to faster cars will be far too difficult.

The skills necessary to be able to drive and control a car at such a high speed is no easy task. Even some of Formula 1's drivers struggled when they first entered, and that is after going through Formula 2 and Formula 3. So for someone as successful as Verstappen saying that gap is currently too big even to Formula 4, it should be paid attention to.

While the F1 Academy is still relatively new, this is something that can be explored further in the coming seasons. Slowly increasing the performance of these cars will give female drivers the ability to break through into circuits such as Formula 4 and beyond.

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All things considered, the F1 Academy is still off to a good start, and Susie Wolff has done well as director as these female drivers ultimately strive to make it to Formula 1.