Amna Al Qubaisi believes the 2024 F1 ACADEMY calendar has opened up her opportunities this season, with the mix of new and more familiar locations levelling the playing field.

Backed by RB for her sophomore campaign, the Emirati racer has been keen to make the most out of all the support available to her but says there’s a fine balancing act to preparing in the correct way.

“I’m feeling great. I’m happy to have RB supporting me, so it’s nice to have an F1 team to represent in F1 ACADEMY,” said Al Qubaisi. “It’s amazing, I’m part of the Red Bull Academy Programme so we get simulator time, training, physio training and everything to keep us in top shape, ready and prepared for the race weekend.”

When asked how that fed into her approach for the season, she added: “A lot of resting time as well as training. We’ve been travelling a lot the past few weeks and it was very exhausting. So, it’s going to be important for us to have some downtime and some good rest before the actual race weekends.”

Last season saw Al Qubaisi seal sixth in the Standings, earning two wins and a further two podium finishes. However, she wasn’t able to open her 2024 account in the same fashion after a disappointing Qualifying session saw her start towards the back of the grid for both races in Jeddah. Fighting hard, she salvaged a P8 finish in Race 2, but had the pace for a top five performance.

Al Qubaisi made up ground going from P15 and P14 on the starting grids for Race 1 and Race 2 respectively
Al Qubaisi made up ground going from P15 and P14 on the starting grids for Race 1 and Race 2 respectively

Reflecting on her takeaways from last year’s campaign, she admitted that her unfamiliarity with many of the venues held her back but thinks that the 2024 calendar will put more focus on each driver’s skillset.

“My goals and expectations like always are to try to be the best, try to be as close as I can within the pace and hopefully get some wins this year,” she remarked. “For me, the lows of the season last year were that most of the tracks I’d been to were my first time.

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“Now it’s going to be more equal towards everyone. It’s going to be almost everyone’s first time at a certain track, so I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage as last year. So hopefully, this year now we can actually see the driving, not the experience.”

Venturing to seven different locations, including new circuits for Al Qubaisi in Miami, Singapore and Qatar, she’s excited by the prospect of getting to grips with a track under pressure — even changing weather conditions prove to be an unexpected additional challenge.

“For me, I adapt pretty quick,” she noted. “I’m very quick at adapting to new circuits and track conditions, but I’m hoping about the rain because I’ve never drove a street circuit with rain. So, I’m kind of nervous about that, but other than that, I’m really looking forward to it.”