Every single team on the Formula 1 grid has already joined as a partner for the second season of the women-only F1 Academy development series. That means each team will nominate one junior driver to race in their livery, and Mercedes may have already scored the biggest signing in the short history of the series.
Doriane Pin, a 20-year-old French sports car driver, was named as the team's representative for the 2024 F1 Academy season on Tuesday. She will race for Prema, an elite junior open-wheel program that won both the Formula 3 and F1 Academy driver's and team's championships last season.
Pin is exceptional in sports cars, and started driving open-wheelers just last month. If all goes to plan, she will be the woman closest to F1 by the end of the 2024 racing season.
This is the first step on the ladder toward Formula 1 for Pin, who has starred in sports cars since entering sports car racing in 2021. Pin is already a champion in Ferrari Challenge, but her most impressive work came in LMP2 machinery last season. Pin served as her Prema team's designated "silver" rated driver, but kept up on lap times with two experienced "platinum" rated drivers throughout the season and earned the category's award for Revelation of the Year. She also qualified third among all GT entries at IMSA's season-ending Petit Le Mans, one of just four races Pin ran in a GT3 car all year.
F1 Academy will mark the first full-season championship in open wheelers for Pin, but she has already run in two short-season Formula 4 programs this Winter. She won once in six starts in the F4 Southeast Asia championship, taking second in the title race despite missing half the season. That experience will give her an upper hand in F1 Academy, which uses a Formula 4-style car.
Fifteen drivers will run in the 2024 F1 Academy season, which begins in March. Among the other entries is Ken Block's daughter Lia, who is set to race with ART Grand Prix as a designated entrant for Williams. McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, and Sauber have all joined Williams and Mercedes in announcing their nominated drivers.
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