Garcia stars as F1 Academy makes its debut

Former W Series racer Marta Garcia took the lead in the new Formula 4-based F1 Academy series for women thanks to two victories in the Red Bull Ring opener.

Marta Garcia, Prema Racing

The Prema-run Spaniard inherited a pair of pole positions when Abbi Pulling, who had been quickest in both wet qualifying sessions, was excluded and banished to the back of the grid along with her Rodin Carlin team-mates due to non-homologated parts on the leading edge of the floor under the sidepods, which the British team claimed was not performance enhancing.

Garcia enjoyed an all-Spanish battle for the lead with Nerea Marti (Campos Racing) in the opening race following an early safety car for a three-car shunt. Eventually Garcia got back in front and drove away to victory.

The excitement was in the fight for third, where a four-way scrap between recovering Rodin Carlin teamsters Pulling and Jessica Edgar, plus Bianca Bustamante and Hamda Al Qubaisi, was resolved in Prema driver Bustamante’s favour at the flag, less than 0.1 seconds in front of Edgar. They were then promoted when Marti was excluded for a front-camber-shims infringement.

Garcia’s win in the weekend finale was a tough one. Al Qubaisi was on a mission in her MP Motorsport car and rose from seventh on the grid to second within six laps. The Emirati then clawed back Garcia’s lead and put her under huge pressure, falling short by just 0.346s. Al Qubaisi’s big sister Amna was third, just ahead of Pulling.

Al Qubaisi Sr prevailed in the reversed-grid race in the middle, followed by Lena Buhler and Lola Lovinfosse. Garcia, Pulling and Bustamante had a scrap for most of the way, with the double race winner prevailing to grab seventh spot.

Garcia tops the table with 57 points, with Amna Al Qubaisi second on 30 points and Hamda Al Qubaisi third.


Garcia holds F1 Academy series lead despite difficult weekend