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Susie Wolff challenges teams over F1 Academy: 'It's sad it's always Hamilton'

Will F1's 10 teams buy into the roadmap set out by the F1 Academy and its hierarchy?

Susie Wolff Coulthard Marko
To news overview © XPBimages

F1 Academy Managing Director Susie Wolff has challenged all 10 F1 teams to follow in Lewis Hamilton's footsteps and throw support behind the series.

The all-female series, which sees 15 drivers compete in F4 cars run by teams from F2 and F3 and part-funded by F1, launched this season as the sport aims to tackle diversity and inclusivity issues.

Wolff took on her role ahead of the inaugural round and has played an instrumental part in laying the foundations for future success, including creating closer ties with F1 with the hope of securing a bonafide pathway to the top.

Mercedes driver Hamilton, who has been a leading light in bringing attention to societal issues both inside and outside of sporting context, visited the paddock at the United States Grand Prix weekend - the first event which sees F1 Academy run alongside F1's schedule - as he had done at the now-defunct W Series round in Hungary last term.

"It's a little bit sad that it is always Lewis," Wolff told Sky Sports F1 when asked about support from F1.

"He is always the one coming over, offering support and in the end, he also knows what it's like to be 'the only one' so he has an affinity.

"But there's going to be the 10 F1 teams with their own liveries, so I expect a lot more interaction from the F1 teams generally next season because they have the platforms, they have the voices.

"That will be something which will be hugely helpful in our quest because this is not a short-term project.

"If we want to see success, it's got to be long-term."

F1 teams have knock-on effect

The strengthening of ties between F1 and the F1 Academy has seen Wolff strike a deal with all 10 teams to nominate one driver for each season who will then run the team's livery on their car during competition.

The first deal has been announced with McLaren taking on Bianca Bustamante for next term.

F1 Academy will also race the entirety of its calendar alongside F1 next season, giving added exposure to each of the competitors.

"The great thing for me when I signed all 10 teams, which was no mean feat, it was a huge workload off my desk because they all have junior academies, they all know about nurturing talent and what you need to be successful in this sport," explained Wolff.

"Thay all had to go out and find their drivers.

"You can only stay two years in F1 Academy so they know: 'Ok, we need to find the next driver.'

"That has already started a wave of these teams looking for young talent, nurturing young talent so they have a better chance of success and to actually be successful in F1 Academy.

"We all know these F1 teams are hugely competitive, they want to find the best female driver and that's already created such a positive knock-on effect, even down to the world of karting."

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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