One of our five teams for the inaugural season of F1 Academy, ART Grand Prix has a plethora of junior motorsport experience, helping future Champions up the ranks for decades.
The French outfit boasts an incredible alumnus. It includes the likes of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, 2016 F1 Champion Nico Rosberg, Formula 2 Champions George Russell and Nyck de Vries as well as Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon, both GP3 Series Champions with the team.
ART’s success in developing young drivers is well known, and now they will be aiming to help the next generation of women in motorsport through F1 Academy. It’s a step that Team Principal Sébastien Philippe says is totally logical, with the series giving young female drivers the best chance of developing critical skills as racing drivers.
“We made the decision to come into F1 Academy because we truly believe that it’s a good way to go,” Philippe explained. “It’s a new challenge, a very nice one. We’ve been talking for years and years about how to give a proper chance for girls to succeed in our sport. Until now, the routes were not always perfect to give them the best chance. The way this category has been created gives them a good opportunity. At ART, we were very happy to join this and to do something else. It’s a very nice challenge.”
F1 Academy will focus on giving each of its drivers as much track time as possible, a move Philippe points to as key to the decision by ART to become involved. With a lot of hours in the cars and subsidised seats, it will help these young drivers acclimatise to Formula racing much quicker according to the French team boss.
“I think it makes sense to do it this way, with the younger drivers targeted for drives in the series. I think if it wasn’t done this way then we wouldn’t have been involved. I really like the concept that F1 wanted to put in place. I think until now, we didn’t give girls the correct opportunity to show what they were capable of.
“To run in some Formula cars, get good mileage, do many races and to be a little bit protected at the beginning, in terms of their experience in racing. It’s difficult getting started at the very beginning and we can teach them how to operate and race so then it will become easy for them afterwards to go and fight in other series. I think this was the best way to do this.
“There will be a lot of tests, two Free Practice sessions and three races per weekend. The target is to get them a lot of mileage to help them develop and make it easier going forward.”
Having achieved so much success at every single level of racing it has been involved in, ART is leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of performance of its F1 Academy team.
A dedicated, full-time staff will be selected for its F1 Academy operation which will be run identically to the way its Formula 2 and 3 operations are. This, says Philippe, will give their drivers a sample of what they should be striving to achieve both in terms of personal development and in working with race teams for their futures.
“We were a part of the all-women’s test at Magny-Cours the same way PREMA Racing was the year before, doing that with FOM. The next step for the girls is to get them to improve enough to try and get them to step up into the Formula 3 Championship in the future.
“We will be involved with full-time Academy staff and we will run the Academy team with the same expertise and the same tools we put into the other categories in order to maximise the performance.”
ART’s line-up has been confirmed, with Léna Bühler, Carrie Schreiner and Chloe Grant comprising the team’s line-up for 2023. Philippe says that the team “will do everything sportingly, humanly and technically possible” in order to help all three of its drivers maximise their time with the team.