Abbi Pulling intends to be back in F1 ACADEMY with a vengeance, but knows she has to be ready for whatever comes her way on track this season.

There were plenty of positive signs in the Alpine junior’s performances last year, but a handful of off days ultimately held her back from extracting all her potential.

Finishing inside the top five with seven podiums and two pole positions, Pulling acknowledged that whilst dealing with the inevitable setbacks was difficult, she’s been determined to become more resilient at overcoming them.

“Really excited to be back with F1 ACADEMY,” she said. “I’m hoping to do a bit better than last year. I think sometimes we had a bit of bad luck and sometimes I made mistakes myself, so it’s tidying all that up and hopefully I’ll be smiling at the end of the year.

“Last year, there were a lot of things out of my control. There were also a lot of things in my control, but when things are out of control, it’s not ignoring them but not focusing on them. Then, (it’s about) focusing on the things that you can change and how you can make yourself better, even if it’s just the reaction to the things you can’t control.”

Pulling explained: “I’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes with that. I’ve got a mental performance coach Martin from Gazing that I do a lot of work with on how you keep that productive mindset and don’t latch on to things too much.

“It’s a hard thing as a racing driver – you’ve got to go round to round, weekend after weekend and you’ve got to completely forget what happened last weekend, whether it was good or bad, because it’s a new weekend. It’s a new day and it can all change and all be different.”

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Two things that haven’t changed for Pulling this year are her Rodin Motorsport team and the backing of the Alpine Academy. Chosen as the French outfit’s nominated driver, she praised the level of support within their junior stable and is excited to have her support network close at hand over in the Formula 1 paddock.

“I’ve been with them for three years now and they’re so supportive,” Pulling noted. “There are so many people behind the scenes that genuinely care about me as a person, as well as a driver. I’m so thankful that I’ve got that connection with them and I don’t know if I’d have that anywhere else.

“When I initially became a junior driver, it added a bit of pressure. I wanted to get the results and impress, but at the end of the day, it’s the process and focusing on the controllables, the things you can do and making the most out of every situation. So, I think as long as I’m reacting positively and putting the work in, everything else should come.”

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Four months on since the 2023 season finale in Austin, Pulling is hungrier than ever to get back behind the wheel. Although her previous experience around four of the venues this season will give her an initial advantage over most of the field, she’s not underestimating the careful balancing act needed to manage the various demands throughout each circuit.

“The winter break has been pretty long for me. It’s been a lot of simulator work with the team and also training. It’s been quite intense. It’s been a lot of days at Rodin Motorsport, especially putting in the time on the simulator. We’re going to Jeddah. Jeddah is a new circuit, a very hard circuit for a first race – a very fun circuit as well. I think that will test a lot of us.”

She added: “A lot of them aren’t too new to me, but I’m very lucky that I’ve raced at Miami and Singapore before. The ones that I’m looking forward to the most are definitely Jeddah and Singapore. They’re both street circuits.

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“I think as a British driver, a lot of the tracks you grow up on, there’s no room for error. I think street circuits that’s what they are and you can’t put a foot wrong, else it will go pretty wrong.”

Although naturally keen to shine a second time around, Pulling is refusing to be drawn into specific target setting. Learning from her experiences last season, the Briton is looking to build stability with important points hauls – alongside that highly sought-after maiden win.

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“I’m very guilty of putting too much pressure on myself and setting my expectations quite high,” she admitted. “I think I’m capable of getting results, but sometimes maybe overthink it. So, just focusing on the process and what it takes to get that done. It’s a similar approach that I’ve had in the past, but it’s reinforcing it.

“The first half of the season I’m just aiming to be consistent and be there or thereabouts every race. By the time I’ve got through a bit more seat time in the car this year, also I’m racing with Rodin Motorsport in British F4. Hopefully, by halfway through the season I’ll be getting those wins and bringing home some big points. That’s the aim and I think just keep it as consistent as possible is a big thing.”