Called the F1 Academy its purpose will be to develop and prepare young female drivers to progress to higher levels of competition, including Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3 and W Series.
Women in Motorsports NA [WIMNA] co-founder Lyn St James, a former IndyCar racer and IMSA winner, said: “Anything that provides an opportunity for women to get more racing experience is a good thing. Formula 1 is one of the most difficult levels of motorsports to reach, and the learning process and experience required is critical.
“It’s great to see the leadership of Formula 1 acknowledge the importance of women in their diversity initiatives by being proactive.”
Paretta is also a WIMNA co-founder, and runs Paretta Autosport. In 2021, she partnered with Team Penske-Chevrolet to bring Simona De Silvestro back to IndyCar for the Indianapolis 500. This past season, De Silvestro’s #16 Paretta Autosport-Chevy was run with the assistance of Ed Carpenter Racing and made four starts.
Paretta said: “So pleased to see this initiative from F1 to provide opportunity for women to develop skills on the ladder to reach the top levels of motorsport. Creating a race season with adequate testing days is key, so I am especially glad to see that in the schedule from the start.
“Growing our sport is key to growing our audience, and this is an exciting step forward.”
WIMNA states its goal “is to encourage, support and mentor more women to pursue careers in motorsport, educate about the sport and the types of careers that can be found, communicate how the motorsports industry can better reach, encourage and attract women to roles, as well as advocate and inspire more programs to be created.”
WIMNA is a 501(c)3 public charity and supports scholarships, mentorship programs and internships for women.