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World Champions weigh in on new F1 Academy

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have backed plans for the F1 Academy following the curtailing of W Series' 2022 season.

World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have backed plans for the Formula 1 Academy, an initiative designed to increase female participation in single-seater racing. Announced just before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the F1 Academy will be a partially-subsided series with cars run by Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams, with Bruno Michel acting as the general manager. There are set to be seven rounds, with three races each for a total of 21 events with a further block of testing. The Academy will not feature on the F1 support package, except for what is believed to be a single Grand Prix in 2023. Additionally, it is not a direct replacement for W Series, which was forced to end its 2022 season early amid budget concerns. Hamilton – who has been vocal in his push for increased diversity and mobility within motorsport – is receptive of the concept, but still feels more needs to be done.

Hamilton backs F1 Academy plans

"I've not done a deep dive into the Academy, but there is the acknowledgment that something needs to be done," Hamilton explained to media, including RacingNews365.com. "If there was really research into why there's such a lack of women coming through and having the opportunity, you'd probably have to go back down to karting and find that there are not equal karts. "Just from my own experience, in the years that I raced there was maybe only two or three girls in my whole karting career from eight to 16. "We've got to create more inclusive environments and [solve] inclusivity issues all the way down into karting. "We can then have a bigger pipeline of young women [coming through]."

Alonso praises F1 Academy

Fernando Alonso has praised the concept of the initiative, echoing Hamilton's comments that improving facilities and equipment for young female racers is an essential step. "I think it is the way to go forward, it is a good initiative," explained the double F1 World Champion. "There are many different scenarios on how women can be introduced to the sport, but we need to treat them very natural from a young age. "The girls that have a passion for motorsport, [we must] try to provide them with the best facilities and materials possible for karting whenever it is needed."

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