Lia Block is stepping onto the Formula 1 ladder by signing with the Williams Driver Academy

Lia Block is stepping onto the Formula 1 ladder by signing with the Williams Driver Academy

Multi-disciplinary American driver Leah Block, 17, will climb the Formula 1 ladder in 2024 with the Williams Driver Academy. This will be her first foray into competitive open wheel racing, but the young driver is already making waves in motorsport.

Three days before the announcement, she was standing on the podium in front of a packed house at Wild Horse Pass Motorsport in Phoenix, Arizona with the Nitrocross series rally racing. On Tuesday, she was taking her car through technology and emergency for her first Baja 1000 race. In 2024, she will compete against some of the best young female racers in the world with the hope of bringing an American woman to the Formula 1 grid in the near future.

“Being an American and a female involved in open-wheel racing and the Formula 1 Academy, it’s really cool,” Block told NBC Sports during the build-up to the Baja 1000. in the United States of America. I hope I can enhance all of that and get more women involved.

For the UK-based team, this isn’t the first time they’ve backed an American. Williams Racing is the only current Formula 1 team to have a seat filled with an American driver. Logan Sargent earned his first points in a Formula 1 race at this year’s USGP Championship at Circuit of the Americas.

Block’s career began when she was 11 years old in karting and she quickly made a name for herself in rally racing. Earlier this fall, she became the youngest American Rally Association champion when she and co-driver Rhiannon Gelsomino captured gold in the 2023 ARA 2WD class.

This year Block focused on Nitrocross, several other rally disciplines, and Formula E got an important rep of what exactly it takes to achieve success in an international series while developing as a driver.

Since the seasons are different in each series, this winter is full of tangled schedules for Block. Its early open-wheel testing comes between the Nitrocross and Formula E dates.

Next year, the academy will compete in seven races. Everything will be the same as in F1 Grands Prix support. Block will begin her season with the second race of the year in Saudi Arabia, followed by rounds in Miami, Barcelona, ​​Zandvoort, Singapore, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

This will be the second season for the Formula 1 Academy, with the first season being a knockout success with Marta Garcia becoming the first ever champion. Garcia will now enter the 2024 Formula Renault Eurocup by Alpine series as part of the leading Prema team. This series acts as the required starting point between F4 and F3. Funding for Block’s run in the prestigious series will come in part from the F1 Academy.

This commitment to building female racers and creating a sustainable starting point in the sport brings more hope to inspire competitors and in turn will help bring the best racers into the open wheel system.

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