Looking ahead to Round 5
The fifth round of the F1 Academy season kicks off in Monza this week as the drivers tackle the iconic Italian circuit. After an action-packed weekend in Zandvoort saw the lead at the top of the drivers’ standings narrow to just five points, Monza may bring us a new Series leader.
After becoming only the second driver to achieve two race wins in a weekend, Hamda Al Qubaisi has reduced Marta García’s advantage at the top of the standings to single digits. The MP Motorsport driver took pole in both Qualifying sessions before leading from lights to flag in Race 1 and Race 3.
ART Grand Prix’s Léna Bühler continued her excellent form as she sealed her highest points-scoring weekend of the season so far – with a triple podium adding 39 points to her campaign score card.
The Suisse driver’s ART teammate Carrie Schreiner also secured her first win of the season after an excellent defensive drive saw her claim the win in Race 2. The German racer has come into form at the best time possible as she looks to move up the standings.
In the Teams’ fight, MP Motorsport scored 94 points and extended their lead over PREMA racing to 66 points. The Dutch squad were dominant at their home race in Zandvoort, claiming three podiums and setting the record for the most points ever scored by a single team in an F1 Academy race weekend.
On the Grid – Bianca Bustamante, PREMA Racing
“Considering that Monza is one of my favourite circuits and I have done some good practice ahead of the race, I know I have a clear vision and goal ahead of me. All the tracks we’ve been to before I was coming to for the first time, but Monza is set apart form this. We know the track; we know our goals and targets and I think this mindset will lead to a good performance as long we put everything together and work hard like we always do.
“As it’s PREMA’s home track I put a bit of pressure on myself. It means that I need to put a really strong performance together. Ever since I started driving for PREMA, I’ve known I need to hold myself to a higher standard of performance. When I drive, I am never just driving for myself but also for the team.
“When the calendar was announced, Monza was the track I was looking forward to the most because I think there is so much joy driving on it. It’s the ‘Temple of Speed’ where the machinery is always put to its maximum performance with a completely different setup of the car due to how fast the track is.
“Racing at the same weekend as WEC is a really cool experience. I’ve never seen a WEC race in person, so I am really looking forward to this as well.”
From the Paddock – Adrian Campos Jnr, Mercantile Campos Racing
“Obviously our position in the series standings is not what we were expecting, but from our side I believe this doesn’t show our real potential. We arrive at an unknown track for our drivers, this time for all three, so it will be a challenging weekend, but I trust them, and I hope we will learn quickly and fight again for the podiums. The goal will be to climb some positions on the Team’s standings but also will be great if Nerea can finish the series in the top 3. She is now P4, and we believe it is possible!”
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“Monza is the fifth round of the F1 Academy. The Temple of Speed, one of the oldest circuits in the world, has four left-hand and seven right-hand corners but is best known for its fast straights. The average speed is very high, and the braking is hard, so the drivers will have to watch out for possible flat spots before the chicanes.
“The front axle will be the most stressed due to heavy braking and some fast corners. However, we expect low degradation, so the drivers can focus on reaching peak performance. As it’s a July weekend, the weather is expected to be good with high track temperatures.”
15: After Maite Caceres’ strong performance in Race 3 at Zandvoort, all 15 drivers on the grid have now scored points in the inaugural F1 Academy season.
5.793km: Monza, the location for Round 5 of the F1 Academy season, is a 5.793km track with a capacity of over 115,000.
17: Just 17 points separate 4th to 8th position in the standings. Nerea Marti, who sits in fourth place currently, will look to create a bigger gap in Monza.
94: MP Motorsport scored a record 94 points at their home race in Zandvoort thanks to two race wins by Hamda Al Qubaisi, including a 1-2 with teammate Emely de Heus in Race 3.
2: H. Al Qubaisi and de Heus’ 1-2 finish in Zandvoort is the second of the season, the first 1-2 took place in Race 1 at Spielberg when García and Bustamante finished on the top and second step respectively.
5: H. Al Qubaisi has scored the most points from fastest laps this season, scoring 5 points from fastest lap finishes.