What could Marta Garcia's championship win mean for her and the future?

Published on 25 October 2023 at 13:00

Marta Garcia won the F1 Academy world championship with two races to spare last weekend at the Circuit of The Americas. The Spaniard has dominated the series, showing great pace.


Garcia won the championship after holding off Abbie Pulling during Race One last weekend (Image Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


The F1 Academy was a series introduced in 2023 for women to compete against each other. The Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been vocal about giving more opportunities for women to race at a higher level.


The Italian had already announced improvements to the series with the calendar for 2024. Furthermore, all 10 Formula 1 teams will have their livery on the team's car for 2024.


New destinations will take place for the 2024 season. F1 Academy will now head to more tracks, including Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Miami and Qatar.


F1 Academy was a replacement for the previously known W Series - that was catered for women to race at a high level against each other. Jamie Chadwick won all three editions of the series.


However, due to a lack of funding, the series had to come to a halt in 2022. It was estimated that it was in debt by $8 million, as the expected new investor's deal fell through, putting an end to the series.


Garcia's impressive 2023 season


The F1 Academy 2023 season had 15 female racers, including seven rounds that had three races per round, totalling up to 21 races for the year. The championship started in Spielberg, Austria and ended last weekend in the United States.


Garcia would assert her dominance early on in the season at the Red Bull Ring. She would win Race One and Three, making a strong start to the season.


Then it would be her home race at Valencia in Spain. The 23-year-old would only win one of the three races, winning Race Three. The third round was also in Spain - in Barcelona - where she, in fact, failed to win any of the races there.


Round Four in Zandvoort would also leave Garcia winless - only securing a podium finish in Race Two. However, the Prema driver would go back to winning ways, winning Race One at Monza.


Garcia would find who dominant form in Austria once again, winning Race Two and Three, extending her championship lead significantly before the final round in Austin.


The final round in Austin saw the first championship winner of the F1 Academy, which went in the way of Garcia. The championship was confirmed after she had won Race One, meaning she had won the championship with two races to spare.


The Spaniard finished the 2023 season as champion of the inaugural F1 Academy series, winning the championship by 66 points ahead of Lena Buhler in second.


What next for Garcia?


The tricky question that many will be asking is 'what next'? Up until this current year it has been difficult for women to take part in series' such as Formula 3 and Formula 2.


Three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick never competed in any of the higher Formula's, such as 2 and 3, despite dominating W Series for the three years.


Instead of keeping her frustrations of not going into the higher Formulas, Chadwick decided to instead race in Indy NXT for Andretti Autosport, going a completely different direction.


Therefore, it raises the question if Garcia could enter the higher Formulas. There has been some women, who have competed in Formula 2 and 3. In Formula 2, Tatiana Calderon raced during the second half of the 2022 season for Charouz Racing, replacing Cem Bolukbasi.


Formula 3 saw Sophia Floersch become the first female driver to compete in the series, signing with Campos Racing for the 2020 season. This came at the time where she had suffered severe spinal injuries a year-and-a-half ago.


Floersch is still competing in Formula 3 this season, becoming the first women to score points in the series. The 22-year-old has earned six points this season.


Therefore, what will Garcia do? Will she be able to sign with a Formula 3 team for the 2024 season or will she have another year in F1 Academy to further show her skills?


Nathan Hartley

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