Piece written by F1 ACADEMY Career Discovery Programme student Marina D'Orazio Casado in Barcelona.

Despite a difficult start to the season, Aurelia Nobels hasn't lost her motivation and the PUMA driver says she already feels comfortable around the Barcelona circuit — where she did pre-season testing in February.

With a few setup changes on the #22 car after Free Practice, she's feeling optimistic about achieving big points this weekend.

Round 3 started early Friday morning with low temperatures on the track, which helped her to finish ninth in Free Practice, but Nobels said she had to manage her tyre life throughout.

"It was a little bit tough because on this track we have a lot of tyre degradation," she explained after the session. "We cannot do a lot of push laps and we have to be very careful driving, not be too aggressive with the steering so we save the tyres. It was really hot as well, so the tyres get very hot easily.

"We changed some of the setup because I wasn’t very happy with the feeling of the car. There will be very high evolution because we are after F1, F2 and F3, so it's going to be completely different track conditions, so we have to adapt really quickly.

"There's a lot of rubber outside of the (racing) line, so I had to be very careful and don't go out of the line because otherwise you completely lose the grip and the tyres are very dirty. So, really stay in the line the whole time and not over-push when the tyres are not ready."

The ART Grand Prix driver's outlook for Qualifying was optimistic, but unfortunately she couldn’t get up into the top 10 positions. Instead, she qualified 15th and 14th for the two races. Now, she believes she needs "to be fast, especially during the race and catch the girls on the front” to have a chance to get something from the weekend.

Nobels sits three points adrift of 10th-placed Carrie Schreiner in the Drivers Standings
Nobels sits three points adrift of 10th-placed Carrie Schreiner in the Drivers' Standings

However, both F1 ACADEMY races are taking place in such different conditions, with many other series racing at the Spanish Grand Prix. Because of that, Nobels knows that the temperatures will significantly affect performance of the car, adding that “cold it’s better, normally the car is faster when it’s cold”.

At the moment, she's 12th in the Standings – just three points away from being in the top 10. Now, she knows that she has two opportunities to bring home some points, even though she starts from the back of the grid.

"I had a very, very tough start to the season," Nobels admitted. "I was very unlucky, but I'm super confident this weekend. I know the track very well and I need the points. I really want to score points, so I’m going to focus on the races and try to maintain the position or going higher”.

READ MORE: Chambers hails front row starts in ‘close’ Qualifying as she targets maiden series win

As the first Brazilian to race in F1 ACADEMY, the PUMA driver says she regularly receives messages from fans asking for advice whilst they are starting a career in motorsport and hope to follow her footsteps.

Although she has had to deal with some challenges during the season, she's ready and able to turn the situation around at anytime. Even if that doesn’t happen straight away, she's proud to have already become an inspiration for younger girls around the globe, especially for those who share her flag.

"I always enjoying helping them," Nobels said. "Seeing the girls growing up and following the same steps, the same career that I’m doing. I'm just very happy to see that there are a lot more women in motorsports and I'm proud to be one as well."