Until she stands on the top step of the podium, Lia Block will always be wanting more. Yet the Williams driver realises getting there is a marathon and not a sprint, as she aims to add to her points tally in Round 3.

With two rounds in the books, Block overcame her initial hurdles in her switch from rallying to single seaters. Qualifying inside the top 10 on her first attempt in Jeddah, the American was unlucky not to bring home points after hitting the wall on the penultimate lap in Race 1 and having unavoidable contact in Race 2.

Miami proved to be trickier as she struggled to unlock the pace needed, but she finished the weekend on a positive note after being promoted to her maiden point. Whilst she’s content to achieve her personal victories, she believes one point and P13 in the Standings is not reflective of the performances she’s shown so far.

“It was my first time ever racing in F1 ACADEMY and the car and just the whole layout was a bit different from everything I’ve done,” Block reflected on the opening round. “Even doing the Spanish Winter Series, it was still different. There was a lot more pressure, you’re in and around the F1 teams in the paddock.

“Overall, that weekend was a very good stepping stone for me. We weren't really able to show our speed in our results, behind the scenes, I was very happy with my performance. It was the first weekend and it was a learning experience, so I would say definitely a successful one for myself.”

Block made her F1 ACADEMY debut three months after first testing a single seater car
Block made her F1 ACADEMY debut three months after first testing a single seater car

She continued: “In Miami, I was going into it with a bit more confidence because of Jeddah, but we started off on the wrong foot going into the Practice sessions. I just didn't feel comfortable with the setup of the car and it being a new track for me. Some of the other girls had been there already, so it’s kind of hard to only have two 30-minute sessions and go straight into Qualifying.

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“A very, very fast-paced weekend, but I think it's another learning (point) and unfortunately, you have to take a step back to take two steps forward. So, just using that data to hopefully gain a better result in Barcelona.

“I got points, but we should have gotten points in Jeddah. It’s a bit frustrating because I think I should be way further up than I am. That’s something definitely to motivate me and keep pushing me to do much better.”

‘I’m never going to be happy until I’m winning’

In the midst of the first year of her single seater journey, Block’s progress has been nothing short of impressive, but she admits there are still many areas she needs to brush up on.

“It was a very, very short time frame from first getting in an F4 car to my first F1 ACADEMY race, so I was satisfied,” she explained. “I’m never going to be happy until I’m winning, but I have to understand in my brain that it can’t happen right now. I’m very new to this stuff, so it’s all about those little steps that get you towards your end goal.

“Miami was definitely a step back for me, and I think it's just going take more time to be more comfortable in the car and in racing. It’s funny how much I’m still learning at this stage, but every time it’s going to get better and the more seat time I have, it’s going to help. At the same time, it’s hard to come away for almost a month, then get back in the car and go straight into a race. That’s why I’m thankful to have had the Spanish F4 round and use that as a bit of a momentum starter going into Barcelona.”

The Williams driver raced in the Spanish F4 round in Portimão over the post-Miami break
The Williams driver raced in the Spanish F4 round in Portimão over the post-Miami break

When asked how critical track time has been to her development, Block replied: “It’s so valuable (…) I do karting, but it’s not enough. Having Spanish F4 gets you more familiar. It’s still an F4 car, so F1 ACADEMY isn’t too different, it’s very, very similar. For me, it’s learning more about racecraft and getting the confidence in knowing I can do this pass.”

She added: “Qualifying in general. I’ve had Qualifying before in karting and rallycross, but not being comfortable enough in this car right now to be able to go out there when you only have three laps — get one out, one more and then push. That’s all you get for your first Qualifying.

READ MORE: 2023 Rewind: De Heus seizes maiden single seater victory as Bühler bounces back in Barcelona

“It's really hard for me when I usually have a big warm-up or in rally, I have a full day of recce. It’s about turning on that intensity and getting to the point within three laps. So, we just keep working on that and I would say racecraft as well. I have the basics down from karting and rallycross (…) It’s just about getting more comfortable in the car. Obviously, there are some other things that I'm still going to learn along the way, who knows what those will be.”


Fortunately, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has an aura of familiarity and gives Block a critical benchmark to go off as the site of her first F1 ACADEMY test back in February.

Although the traditional circuit appears more straightforward than Jeddah or Miami’s street tracks, Block believes looks can be deceiving. Despite her disadvantage in experience being widened further, with the rest of the field being well-versed around the Spanish track, the American driver sees no reason why she can’t shake up the order.

“The track is really hard,” she admitted. “It seems a little bit boring sometimes, but the tyre degradation makes it very, very difficult. You get about two to three laps on good tyres before they fall off, so you’ve got to get everything done really quick, especially in Qualifying.

“Then the race is about staying on the track at the end of the 30 minutes. It’s definitely going to be difficult and I think we’re going to see a bit of a change of who’s at the front of the field. It’s different coming from a street circuit to a more traditional one and we’ll see other drivers shine.”

Block is hoping to push herself closer to victory with every round starting in Barcelona
Block is hoping to push herself closer to victory with every round, starting in Barcelona

“I’m kind of always at a disadvantage anyways, so why not make it a little bit more,” she joked. “In Miami, we saw drivers who had been there before looked more comfortable and showed that in their Qualifying times as well as their race results.

“I never really think about that I haven’t been on a track because the tracks are new to me every single time this year. The good thing is that we’ve done two days of testing there, so I think I will be more comfortable than I was in Miami. Building my confidence from the start of the weekend is definitely going to be important, but however it ends up, I'm still learning, so it's going to be the same either way.”

Having already raced in a variety of categories at only 17 years old, Block knew progress wasn’t going to be linear and that putting a winning mindset into results would come with time. Assured of what she’s accomplished so far, the Williams driver believes she has no reason not to set her targets high as she aims to become a regular points contender.

READ MORE: Léna Bühler on forging ahead in FRECA and what it takes to win in Barcelona

“There are other things that I haven’t won at consistently, so I know how to lose,” she noted. “The mindset is I want to win and I know that's hard to say right now, but at the end of this year if I keep going and improving every race, I think we can eventually be at the top.

“That just gives me extra motivation. It may leave me a bit more disappointed sometimes, but I think if you don't have that mentality, then you're never going to actually be winning. It's hard, but I think it's going to make me a better driver in the end.”

Block added: “It’s going to be higher and higher each time. I had pretty big expectations for Miami and I did not meet them, so it’s going to be push as hard as I can every single time. Keep learning, keep evolving and getting more confident in the car. For Barcelona and Zandvoort next, if I can just keep that momentum rolling and consistently be in the points, I think I will be pretty satisfied — I won’t be happy, but as long as I just keep getting better.”