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F1 Academy champion Garcia awarded fully-funded Prema FRECA seat for 2024

Inaugural F1 Academy champion Marta Garcia has been awarded a fully funded seat in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine series for 2024 with Prema Racing.

Marta Garcia, Prema Racing

Garcia bagged seven race wins on her way to winning the 2023 F1 Academy title in Austin, as the all-female series supported a Formula 1 round for the first time at last weekend's United States Grand Prix.

Top junior single-seater team Prema Racing, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, ran Garcia F1 Academy. Its driver, hotly tipped Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, won the FRECA crown this term.

Prema will combine with F1 Academy, FRECA chassis manufacturer Tatuus and tyre supplier Pirelli to "provide a financial contribution towards the cost of the seat", according to a statement from F1.

FRECA is primarily used for junior drivers as a bridge between F4 and F3. The series will now permit teams to run a fourth car if they sign a racer who has finished in the top three of the F1 Academy standings.

F1 Academy also states that it "will work in close collaboration with teams to support its winner in progressing up the motorsport ladder".

To further improve accessibility, F1 Academy has cut the entry fee that a driver must contribute towards her seat from €150,000 to €100,000 for next season.

F1 Academy managing director Susie Wolff said: "F1 Academy is all about progression and creating more opportunities for young women across motorsport, so to offer a fully funded seat in FRECA for our inaugural champion is a significant moment.

"The fact that [Garcia] will also continue to race with PREMA, whom she has built a relationship with and are current team champions in this category, will also aid in her future development."

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari and Marta Garcia winner of F1 Academy

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari and Marta Garcia winner of F1 Academy

Garcia added: "I'm so thrilled and excited to be racing in FRECA next year. Coming from F1 Academy, it's going to be a big step. We know we will have to work a lot with the team to succeed but I'm really determined to do well.

"I can't thank F1 Academy enough. It is such a fantastic initiative, and it is the right way to do it, trying to take drivers with the best results to the top level."

Following widespread criticism for a lack of exposure at launch, when F1 Academy was restricted to being shown via highlight compilations rather than gaining live broadcasts, the series will support F1 events for each of its seven rounds in 2024.

Next year, all 10 F1 teams must field a driver in the series and brand a car in their livery.

Meanwhile, three-time W Series champion and Aston Martin BRDC Young Driver Award finalist Jamie Chadwick has been confirmed as continuing in the Indy NXT support series for another season with Andretti Autosport.

Rodin Cars (Carlin), having tested Chadwick against AlphaTauri F1 substitute Liam Lawson, said that if its proposal to form an 11th F1 team had not been denied by the FIA, it would have given Chadwick a full-time topflight drive.

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