Exclusive: F1 Academy star shines light on Wolff’s influence


Abby Poling said she “wouldn't have believed” a Formula 1 Academy was possible 10 years ago, when she began her karting career.

The 21-year-old sits at the top of the women's championship standings after two rounds, following a dominant weekend at the Miami Grand Prix, where the Alpine junior took a double pole position and won both races.

Following this victory in Florida, Bowling became the first woman to win a Formula 4 race in Britain, on her way to scoring points in all three races at Brands Hatch last weekend. Having competed in the inaugural Formula 1 Academy season last year, finishing fifth after a string of podium finishes, Poling is splitting time between the two series this season.

The Formula 1 Academy was launched in the wake of the W-Series, a championship in which she also competed, in order to enhance the prospects of talented female racing drivers, who have long not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

Under the leadership of Managing Director Susie Wolff, the Formula 1 Academy is supported by five strong racing series to fill a grid of 15 full-time drivers, and all seven rounds of the series are part of the Formula 1 support bill – just like Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3. .

What's more, this year, it has the backing of every team on the Formula 1 circuit, as well as a host of high-profile brands – many of which adorn the liveries of the cars, including Tommy Hilfiger and Charlotte Tilbury.

“If you had told me 10 years ago that we would have this all-women's championship – racing with the support of Formula 1 and achieving so much and giving so many opportunities – I probably wouldn't have believed you.” Pull said Racing News 365 In an exclusive interview.

“But Susie [Wolff] I've identified and done that and created the F1 Academy, which gives us all a great sit-down time and also great exposure – the coverage is absolutely amazing, to be honest.

Wolff knows exactly what we need.

Wolff raced in Formula Renault and British Formula 3 in the early 2000s before moving to the DTM. After that period, she spent three seasons as a development driver at Williams, before retiring from motorsport in 2015.

The 41-year-old then joined Venturi's Formula E team as team principal in 2018, where she stayed until 2022 – before taking over the reins of the newly established Formula 1 Academy last year.

“Susie knows exactly what we need. She's been there and done that as a rookie driver,” Bolling explained, highlighting the experience the series boss has to rely on.

“I've known that track time and financial support is very important. So, by getting all the Formula 1 teams involved, it's difficult at the best of times to get them all to agree to one thing, but getting all 10 teams on board is achievable.” Formula 1 teams are on board for this which is great.

“It just helps us girls continue our careers and continue to grow and get better, and it puts us in front of the right people – the people who are watching us.

“I'm in the Alpine Academy, of course, but it's a great opportunity for others to also get into the junior program with the Formula 1 team.”



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