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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

F1 Academy 24 - Round 1 Race report

Updated: Mar 11

Dorianne Pin wins opening race

Race 1

Doriane Pin had clearly taken notes from the Max Verstappen handbook, leading from pole and claiming the victory in her first F1 Academy race. Alpine’s Abbi Pulling fended off Maya Weug’s early advances to kick off her season with a podium in second just 0.8s behind Pin, and retained the bonus point for the fastest lap despite Mercedes driver Pin’s last-lap efforts.

Following an extra formation lap, Pin nailed a textbook getaway at lights out to lead comfortably into the first turn from Pulling and Weug. Charlotte Tilbury’s Lola Lovinfosse managed to get the better of Bianca Bustamante off the line, demoting the McLaren driver to sixth. After starting eighth, Chloe Chambers quickly made up ground, finding her way past Lia Block on Lap 2. Immediately piling the pressure on the second ART Grand Prix car of Bustamante, the Haas driver forced her into an error, allowing her to slip up the inside of Turn 1 at the start of the next lap.

Tina Hausmann, Aurelia Nobels and Jessica Edgar went three-wide down into Turn 1, but it was the Aston Martin car of Hausmann that emerged in front in ninth. Out front, Pin’s 1.2 second lead evaporated at the appearance of the Safety Car on Lap 3. A nudge from Amna Al Qubaisi at Turn 4 sent Reema Juffali into a spin, but both were able to pit and rejoin the race.

Tasked with getting racing back underway into Lap 5, Pin slowed the pack right down, catching Pulling unawares, as she bolted down the main straight to start building a seven-tenths gap. That allowed Weug to nose in for a move on Pulling, but the Ferrari driver couldn’t find the room. Block was forced to go on the defensive, being hunted down by Hausmann. The pair both locked up, going deep out of the final corner and gifting Jessica Edgar the chance to sneak her way through to eighth. Unfortunately, contact with Hausmann’s front which left the No17 Rodin Motorsport car with a right rear puncture.

In the battle for the final points-paying position, Hamda Al Qubaisi got a good run on Nobels down into the final corner, but the PUMA driver defended hard. A mistake on the next lap gave Al Qubaisi the benefit of the slipstream to send a move down the inside of Turn 27, but the MP Motorsport ran wide at the opening chicane and had to let the Brazilian back through. Block’s race unravelled on the penultimate lap. Comfortably in eighth, the Williams driver bounced over the kerb and spun into the barrier as she tried to close in on teammate Bustamante. In the fight for fourth, Lovinfosse tried a look around the outside of Nerea Martí down to Turn 1, but clipped the rear of the Tommy Hilfiger car and sent her into a spin.

Despite leading the race, Pin was not fully satisfied as she tried to wrestle the fastest lap point away from Pulling on the final lap. However, she couldn’t quite get the clean sweep, taking the victory by 0.848s to Pulling. Weug ensured a 1-3 finish for PREMA Racing ahead of Chambers and Lovinfosse. Bustamante recovered from an opening lap puncture scare for sixth ahead of Hausmann, Nobels and Al Qubaisi, with Carrie Schreiner promoted to the final points-paying position in P10.

Qualifying Replay (Opens in YouTube)

F1 Academy: Qualifying Replay

Race 1 Replay (Opens in YouTube)

F1 Academy: Round 1 Replay

Race 2

Doriane Pin closed her first F1 Academy weekend in perfect fashion, bringing home her second consecutive victory on the streets of Jeddah. Abbi Pulling kept the Mercedes driver in check, but ultimately had to settle for back-to-back P2 finishes for Alpine, with Ferrari’s Maya Weug completing the podium. Pin immediately pulled to the left at lights out to cover off Pulling, who kept close within her tow. Just behind, Nerea Martí was on the attack, slipping past Lola Lovinfosse into Turn 2.

The Charlotte Tilbury driver instantly had to go in the defensive as her and Chloe Chambers went side-by-side through Turns 6, 7 and 8. The Haas driver emerged out in front after going over the run-off and earned a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Lovinfosse repaid the favour two laps later, gliding past with the slipstream. However, Chambers locked up into the first corner, knocking the French driver into a spin. Unable to avoid, Lia Block made contact with the No3 car, necessitating a Safety Car. The Williams driver was able to continue after a nosecone change, with Lovinfosse retiring.

With the field bunched together on the restart, Pulling attempted to find her way through on Pin on the short-lived return to Green Flag racing. Fighting over the final point, Carrie Schreiner was sent into a spin whilst battling with Emely de Heus. Forced to take avoiding action, Reema Juffali found the barriers, requiring another Safety Car intervention. Pulling was waiting to pounce on the Lap 10 restart. Despite Pin going early into the final corner, the Alpine driver caught on and stayed with her down the main straight. Weug found herself vulnerable to Martí, as the Tommy Hilfiger driver risked a move, but couldn’t make the corner.

Amna Al Qubaisi had already climbed up the order from 14th on the grid to eighth but had Bianca Bustamante close on her tail. In her defence at Turn 1, the Visa Cash App RB driver bounced over the kerb and clipped the rear wing of Aurelia Nobels ahead, forcing the PUMA driver to retire with damage. Recovering from her earlier contact, Block found herself back within the points in seventh. Sandwiched between the Al Qubaisi sisters, the #57 ART Grand Prix car lost out to Amna but kept Hamda at bay.

Out front, Pin set out to earn the grand slam she was denied in Race 1, taking the fastest lap away from Pulling on her final attempt. The PREMA Racing driver took the chequered flag by 1.9s ahead of the Briton and Weug.

Martí got her first points of the season on the board in fourth, whilst Jessica Edgar kept out of trouble for fifth. Amna Al Qubaisi will be satisfied with P6 ahead of Hamda Al Qubaisi. Bustamante dropped one place to eighth after receiving a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Schreiner recovered to ninth for Kick Sauber, as Chambers took the final point in P10, demoted from P6 due to a second penalty of 10 seconds for causing a collision with Lovinfosse. Block fell out of the points from P9 to P11 after two five-second penalties for a false start and speeding in the pitlane.

F1 Academy: Round 1; Race 2

Post Race 2 Update

Three drivers have been issued penalties following the conclusion of Round 1’s Race in Jeddah.

Firstly, Doriane Pin has received a drive-through penalty for crossing the chequered flag twice and completing two laps at full speed until the Red Flag was shown. As the penalty could not be served in-race, it has been converted into a 20-second penalty added to her elapsed race time.

Amna Al Qubaisi has been issued a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. The Stewards found that the Visa Cash App RB driver exceeded track limits at Turn 22 whilst trying to overtake Aurelia Nobels and cut the inside of Turn 23 to complete to move.

Lola Lovinfosse has been handed a five-place grid penalty for the next race she participates in after the Charlotte Tilbury driver was found wholly responsible for causing a collision with Lia Block at Turn 1.

As a result, Alpine's Abbi Pulling is promoted to the race victory with Ferrari's Maya Weug in second and Tommy Hilfiger driver Nerea Martí is elevated to the podium. Jessica Edgar is classified in fifth ahead of Hamda Al Qubaisi, Bianca Bustamante and Carrie Schreiner. Amna Al Qubaisi drops to P8 ahead of Pin and Chloe Chambers completes the point scorers.

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