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  • F Academy In Miami: Doriane Pin To Win, Abbi Pulling And Maya Weug To Challenge

F1 Academy in Miami: Doriane Pin to win, Abbi Pulling and Maya Weug to challenge

F1 Academy returns to the grid for its second round in the hot and humid Miami from 3-5 May at Miami International Autodrome, in the Hard Rock Stadium complex in Miami Gardens.

Brit Abbi Pulling for Alpine leads the drivers’ championship at the moment after her two podiums, with one of those being a win at the second race.

However, Doriane Pin will be the one to beat as she has a very strong showing in her first race weekend, driving a single seater car since she has come from the world of endurance racing.

Ferrari’s Maya Weug may be one to keep an eye on as she got two podiums in the first two races, and is one of the more experienced drivers in this category.

Miami will be a different track compared to Jeddah, with a street and purpose built track combination as well as hot temperatures that will affect tire degradation.

Here are Planet Sport's best tips for the Miami Grand Prix for F1 Academy…

Doriane Pin to win at least one of the races

Pin impressed many when she dominated both races in Saudi Arabia, but she lost her second win when she didn’t realise the chequered flag had flown (signalling she should stop racing) and drove more laps than she needed to at full speed.

As this is the Frenchwoman’s debut race in F1 academy, a mistake such as this is not to be too criticised as young drivers are bound to make errors. She still managed to finish in the points after she was penalised, but I’m sure she has learned from her mistake and hopes to have a clean weekend in Miami.

The Mercedes junior is likely to win another race as she is simply faster than everyone. In qualifying at Jeddah she was ahead of second place by seventh tenths in the first session and six tenths in the second session. This shows her talent and driving ability compared to the rest of the grid since she is so far ahead of them at the moment.

Pin being part of Mercedes is also a big advantage as they are very selective with their young drivers who often have great success in their future. Since F1 teams each have a representative on the grid this year, many of them will receive support from great drivers, but the Silver Arrows have been particularly supportive of F1 Academy since its debut season last year.

Abbi Pulling and Maya Weug to challenge for the podium places

Pulling and Weug are respectively first and second in the drivers’ championship, but Pin is not far behind in third. They will be keen to outqualify her, or at least close the gap since it was rather large in a racing category where they have the same chassis.

Pulling might edge over Weug as she has plenty of racing experience as she is a year older, but so does Weug in different categories. The Brit competed in W-Series from 2020-21, learning most of the tracks that F1 Academy races on this year. She also drove for Carlin in F1 Academy last year where she finished in fifth with seven podiums in 21 races.

Weug drove her first season in single seater cars in the 2021 Italian and ADAC Formula 4 championships, which she competed in again in 2022. She got three podiums in Italian F4 in her first year, saying “for sure, the lack of experience didn’t help, but we were so close so many times, it was just always lacking that little bit, which I think this year [2022] we have already found in the first couple of rounds,” according to Feeder Series

The Dutchwoman improved massively in just a year finishing in 35th in 2021 Italian F4 and 14th in 2022 Italian F4. This massive jump shows how quickly she learned about single seaters compared to karting, and that she is talented as the first female member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Weug would go on to compete in the 2023 Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA). She finished 17th in her first year (3rd in the rookie championship), already a step up from her rookie year in Italian F4. 

She scored her maiden rookie win in Belgium at the second race and was the only driver in her team (KIC Motorsports) to score points. Clearly, Pulling has some competition from Ferrari’s rising star.  

Miami to catch rookies off guard with its technical track and heat

As one of the newest tracks on the calendar, being introduced in 2022, F1 Academy drivers will likely struggle at this track as only F1 and W-Series have raced at this track, meaning there is limited data. This means that it will be the first time racing this circuit for most of the drivers.

However, in this modern era the teams will have simulators that these young women can drive to learn the track as best as possible. Reality is different, though, as simulators can’t account for other drivers and the conditions that impact the cars, such as weather (heat and wind have a massive impact).

Saudi Arabia and Miami both have hot temperatures, but Miami will have the added element of humidity as it will also be a day race. With its 19 corners and three DRS zones, drivers will have hope to easily overtake on these long straights. The track is also quite bumpy since it’s a temporary circuit so drivers will have to quickly learn the best line to place their cars to avoid going airborne.

The Miami International Autodrome has some particularly technical aspects, such as corners 13-15 under the bridge where they have to navigate a quick right left turn, using just the right amount of curb. Drivers will also have to remember to brake in time at turn 17 after the long straight and not lock up their tires or be overtaken by another driver. 

The heat will provide another challenge as these young women will have to manage their tires to ensure they hold position and move upwards to challenge for a win. If they push too much at the beginning of the race, they will fall right back down the grid at the end due to tire degradation. 

The more experienced drivers on the grid will be aware of this (Nerea Martí and Hamda al Qubaisi), but the younger ones may have to learn this lesson the hard way (Aurelia Nobels, Lia Block and Tina Hausmann).

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