The F1 Academy season is fast approaching and the car in which the 15 drivers will compete is also receiving its finishing touches. In 2023, teams and drivers will be getting to grips with a bespoke machine that aims to help the next generation of young women drivers on their way up to the pyramid of junior motorsport.

Deputy Technical Director of F1 Academy, Pierre-Alain Michot explains the thinking behind the selection process of which car the drivers will be racing.

“We’ve chosen the T421 Chassis from Tatuus. It was a car that had all of the needs for our Series in terms of safety and technical specifications. It will allow our drivers to train and reach a level that we’d expect to be sufficient for the categories after F1 Academy.

“It has 174 horsepower. The weight is still yet to be defined but the car should be around 585 kilos with the driver included. They will use Pirelli tyres that have been designed and are bespoke for F1 Academy. There will be a single compound available to the teams.”

Michot explains that the thinking behind the selection of the Tatuus T421 specifically is based on two main requirements that are central to the ethos of F1 Academy.

“We want to make sure that drivers can maximise their time on the track and make it easy to maintain for the teams. The car is affordable for the teams and therefore for the drivers too. This makes sure that they can compete in this category. We expect to have female drivers from go karts arriving in F1 Academy, and making sure they learn properly the race car before the progress is crucial. This car is ideal in that aspect.

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“It’s already a high-performance formula car. It’s not easy but it has a performance level that is a good step above for a driver coming out of karts, but it’s not too big of a step which you would get with a bigger car with more power.

“This is a car that can be driven to a high level, but the last few tenths that count the most, that’s where the drivers will have to work really hard. They will have to be working with the teams to find that and make sure they can compete and win races.”

Developed in coordination with Tatuus, manufacturer of plenty of single seater chassis throughout junior formula racing, the F1 Academy version will be distinct from others, with brand new wing designs creating a unique silhouette that will be instantly recognisable.

“This is a specific car that we’ve developed with Tatuus. We changed some components from their normal T421 car to meet our specifications. It still has the safety features of the original but the car has a few new components to ensure we have our own identity that makes the F1 Academy car instantly recognisable.

“It’s been a joint operation, working with Tatuus since November to make sure we can fulfil our expectations in terms of the look of the car. We will be part of the F1 family and the cars will have a new front wing design and rear wing design to show that.

“Tatuus did a fantastic job to make sure that we have a car that meets our performance requirements but that still meets the safety regulations and keeping that inside an affordable budget cap. We comply with all of the FIA safety standards for this Tatuus chassis.”

With its modifications, the T421 is the machine that’s ideal for the series’ requirements, both for teams and their drivers. They will hit the track for the first time on April 11-12 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the inaugural official test session.