How F1 academy is revolutionising Formula 1 racing


“Sometimes in life, you just need to see it to believe it,” says Susie Wolff, Managing Director of F1 Academy, on the transformative power of visible role models in the traditionally male-dominated world of motorsports. Her words, shared at the recent Women Who Rokt Summit at the Miami Grand Prix, are emblematic of a broader shift within the sport— the growing recognition of the need for greater gender equality and representation. This changing tide is at the heart of F1 Academy’s mission to revolutionise motorsport and inspire a new generation of female talent.

Launched in 2023, F1 Academy is a women-only racing series created by Formula 1 to expand access and opportunity in the sport. By providing top-tier training, exposure, and a dedicated pathway, the Academy challenges norms, proving that gender has no bearing on skill behind the wheel. As a former professional racing driver and trailblazer, Wolff is uniquely positioned to lead this change.

In 2014, she made history at the British Grand Prix by becoming the first woman to take part in a Formula 1 race weekend in 22 years. With her firsthand experience of the challenges women face in motorsport and insights gained from working alongside prominent figures like her now-husband, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff, she is a powerful force to lead the Academy’s mission.

F1 Academy Miami Grand Prix

Susie Wolff, Managing Director of F1 Academy, in the MP Motorsport garage during the F1 Academy 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Formula 1 via Getty Images

The impact of F1 Academy is already evident, with drivers like sisters Hamda and Amna Al Qubaisi breaking barriers. Speaking at the Women Who Rokt Summit, Hamda shared, “It was really tough to get into the sport to begin with as Arab females. It’s just a taboo. But we were able to break that boundary and create so many opportunities for others who want to get into the sport.” Their story reflects a trend that F1 Academy aims to accelerate.

The shifting demographics of Formula 1’s fan base point to a growing demand for diverse representation and narratives within the sport, paralleling the broader rise in viewership, investment and engagement in women’s sports.

Wolff noted that 40% of Formula 1 fans are now female, with women aged 18-24 emerging as the fastest-growing segment. “Those are incredible stats and those are part of the reason that F1 Academy exists. That’s why we have this moment and as a collective, we need to grab it with both hands,” she emphasized.

F1 Academy, Hamdda Al Qubaisi

Hamda Al Qubaisi of the UAE on track during the F1 Academy 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Getty Images

Harnessing this momentum, F1 Academy has partnered with Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, to create a Netflix docuseries that will offer an intimate look at the drivers’ intimate journeys, rigorous training, and personal stories. The series aims to build on the growing fan engagement following the success of Netflix’s “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” which helped expand the sport’s appeal to a wider audience. Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden, a leader dedicated to putting women-driven narratives at the forefront, announced the partnership during the Miami Grand Prix, sharing, “If you want to change the stories, you have to change the storytellers.”

Who Who Rokt Summit at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Susie Wolff speaks at the “Women Who Rokt Summit,” hosted by Rokt, the e-commerce technology company and partner of Oracle Red Bull Racing, alongside Srishti Gupta of Rokt, Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden, Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson, and Moira Forbes.


At a time when interest in women’s sports shows no signs of slowing, F1 Academy is doing more than training the next generation of female drivers—it’s fundamentally transforming the landscape of motorsport through visibility and inclusion. As Wolff puts it, “We’re not here just to find the next female Formula 1 driver. We want to open up the whole sport, we want to break down the barriers that stop the sport’s progression, and we want to make sure that we’re inspiring the next generation.”

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