Marta García got her quest to be crowned the 2023 F1 Academy Champion off to an ideal start at the final round of the season in Austin. Trading personal bests with Nerea Martí in Free Practice 1, the PREMA Racing driver would assert her place out front with a 2:08.000.
That pace would continue into Free Practice 2, but it would be Jessica Edgar who took the honours as the fastest driver of the afternoon. A late flying lap in the #11 Rodin Carlin car put her three tenths ahead of the Spaniard at the chequered flag.
FREE PRACTICE 1
After a few exploratory laps around the Circuit of the Americas, Martí quickly got up to speed, setting the initial benchmark at a 2:11.249. Léna Bühler and Hamda Al Qubaisi interrupted the Campos Racing driver’s early hold on the top spot, with the #4 MP Motorsport breaking into the 2:09s.
Launching clear of the pack, Martí went quickest once more with a 2:09.043, seven tenths ahead of García. With 10 minutes remaining, Rodin Carlin took over the helm of the timing sheets as Edgar’s 2:08.782 edged her just in front of teammate Abbi Pulling.
García put herself to the front of the field on a 2:08.452, before being momentarily demoted by Pulling. Reclaiming the fastest time with a 2:08.000, she concluded the morning three tenths quicker than Martí and Pulling, with her nearest title rivals Bühler and Hamda Al Qubaisi in seventh and fifth, respectively.
FREE PRACTICE 2
Greeted by warmer afternoon temperatures, Emely de Heus got things back up and running to lead a MP Motorsport 1-2 ahead of Hamda Al Qubaisi in the opening phase of running.
As times began to tumble, García returned to the front of the field on a 2:09.406. From there, the PREMA driver continued to better her previous efforts, dropping into the 2:08s and building a four tenths advantage over Edgar.
The Red Flag was flown with 16 minutes on the clock after Martí stopped on track with suspension damage.
Green flag conditions resumed with just under 10 minutes remaining and Edgar had her eye on Qualifying preparations. Setting back-to-back personal bests, the Briton posted a 2:08.473 at the chequered flag to go 0.308s faster than García, whilst Martí held on to third a further four tenths back.
Friday’s action continues with the double Qualifying session this evening. Qualifying 1 gets underway at 17:30 local time to set the grid for Saturday’s Races 1 and 2, followed by Qualifying 2 at 17:55, which sets the grid for Sunday morning’s Race 3.