F1 Academy has announced the launch of a new junior series which aims to get more women karting at a young age.
The all-female series is in its maiden year of competition but away from the main series, the organisers have been working on establishing a clearer route into Formula 1.
To that end, they have announced the launch of a new junior series called Champions of the Future Academy Program (COFTA) which will see young girls given F1 Academy backing.
Susie Wolff wants to build on ‘momentum’ of F1 Academy launch
The new competition, which has been launched in collaboration with existing karting series Champions of the Future, will have three mixed gender categories: Minis (ages 8-11), Juniors (ages 11-14) and Seniors (ages 14-17).
Within those categories, F1 Academy will support three drivers with each beginning given an F1 Academy branded kart and race suit as well as financial support with entry fees. The best three female drivers in the Seniors category will then be invited to an official F1 Academy test.
F1 Academy also says the aim is to have six double-header race weekends around the world with at least one taking place outside of Europe.
Susie Wolff, F1 Academy’s managing director, said they wanted to build on the momentum grown this year and “strengthen the pipeline of talent” coming into the sport.
“With so much momentum building around F1 Academy, we must continue to strengthen the pipeline of talent coming into our sport,” Wolff said.
“We look forward to this collaboration with Champions of The Future which will create a clear pathway from karting into F1 Academy.
“COTFA will operate a lottery system for the chassis and engines plus implement a fixed budget, giving us the opportunity to identify the top talent across all age groups. We will also provide the best in the senior category with an F1 Academy test, giving them a chance to prove themselves to our teams.
“Champions of the Future shares F1 Academy’s vision to increase female participation, create opportunity and allow clear progression up the motorsport ladder.”
James Geidel, president of Champions of the Future, said: “We are pleased to have a collaboration with F1 Academy, both series have similar goals and ambitions for the future of motorsport.
“COTFA will provide the base of the pyramid with a more affordable and level playing field, that aims to expand the driver pool and highlight the drivers’ talent over technical aspects.
“F1 Academy Discover Your Drive will provide the ladder needed for the most talented participants to take the next steps into single seater racing, with our common goal to increase female participation and inclusion in the world of motorsport.”