The time is now for Aurelia Nobels, as the PUMA driver believes she’s got what it takes to battle it out in the pursuit of victory this season.

Arriving on to the F1 ACADEMY grid after dual campaigns in the Italian F4 and Euro 4 Championships, the Brazilian racer says she’s embracing all that her new surroundings have to offer.

“I'm super excited because it's a new challenge, new opportunity, new team and a new category,” Nobels explained. “I need to get used to everything and I’ve already been going to the team to do sim. I really feel comfortable with the car and with everyone.”

She added: “I’m super happy! PUMA is a very big and important brand. To be able to represent them on track, it’s an opportunity that you don’t have every day so who knows what we can do.”

Settling in well at ART Grand Prix, Nobels spoke positively about her introduction into the team and acknowledges that the lack of a language barrier has made communication easier. The 17-year-old also recognises that having a strong understanding of each other will be essential as they both navigate several unfamiliar venues on the calendar.

Nobels made up two places in the opening race of the 2024 season
Nobels made up two places in the opening race of the 2024 season

“For me, it’s easier because they are all French and I speak French,” she said. “I really felt the connection and I feel super comfortable with everyone, which is important when you work the whole year with the same people.

“Of course, training in the gym is very important but in terms of technical things, the sim is really good. The simulator at ART is amazing and my engineer and the team manager, they work all together with the drivers. We can learn a lot from each other when we drive on the tracks before we go to them, so it’s super important."

READ MORE: Ferrari legends and F1 ACADEMY’s first-ever champion: Maya Weug’s Racing Idols

Nobels added: “I haven’t driven on many of the tracks (before this season), only Barcelona and Abu Dhabi, so it’s going to be hard. We’ll try to learn the tracks as fast as possible and to see what to do or not, where to go and where to brake. Then to adapt to this as fast as possible so I can improve much faster. We have time, but as fast as possible is better.”

Citing 2023 as a ‘preparation year’ after an accident compromised her season by forcing her to miss five races, Nobels is refusing to let any opportunities pass her by this time around. After getting points under her belt with a P7 finish in Jeddah, the Scuderia Ferrari Driver Academy member is confident that she’s well-equipped to prove that she’s one of the top drivers out on track.

Nobels will have her eyes set on a place on the podium when the field head to Miami next month
Nobels will have her eyes set on a place on the podium when the field head to Miami next month

“Last year was kind of a preparation for this year,” she reflected. “Now I feel ready, I feel I have the potential to be assessed as one of the top drivers. It won’t be easy because there are tricky tracks, but they’re new for everyone.

READ MORE: Amna Al Qubaisi says focus is on ‘driving not experience’ as field adapt to 2024 circuits

“Everyone will start from the same, so I will try to learn as much as possible with the team because they were in the same category last year. Then, we will see. Everyone wants to win, so everyone will do everything (to do so).

“I really want to win, but this is going to be very, very hard because the level is very high. But if I can show that I have the potential to be in the front and to fight for wins, that’s the most important and who knows if I can have another opportunity in showing this.”