The newly formed Red Bull Academy Programme is supporting F1 Academy by sponsoring three drivers and their cars who will compete in the 2024 season for MP Motorsport.
The Red Bull Academy Programme is welcoming three drivers: Hamda Al Qubaisi driving for Red Bull Racing, Amna Al Qubaisi driving for Visa Cash App RB and Emely De Heus driving for Red Bull.
The Programme’s investment marks a commitment to the future of women’s motorsport. Further sponsors of the three cars and drivers in association with Red Bull Racing, Visa Cash App RB and Red Bull are set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
The Red Bull Academy Programme, which is led by Sarah Harrington, the Red Bull Academy Programme Manager, is delighted to welcome the new drivers to its roster.
Hamda Al Qubaisi, aged 21, is driving for Red Bull Racing for the 2024 season. She started her racing career in karts in 2015, progressing through the IAME X30 Championships before moving to Italian F4 in 2019. In 2020, the Emirati driver won three races in UAE F4 before making a return to Italian F4 and subsequently the FIA F3 test at Magny-Cours. In 2023 she raced in F1 Academy with MP Motorsport, finishing third overall in the Driver’s Standings with four first place finishes and a total of 207 points.
Emely De Heus, aged 20, is driving for Red Bull for the 2024 season. She started racing in karts in 2019 and has claimed the Dutch Wintercup Senior series title, finishing fourth in the National Championship in 2020 before moving up to single seaters. A campaign in Spanish F4 in 2021 was followed with a switch to W Series where De Heus debuted with points in Miami. In 2023 the Dutch driver raced in the UAE Formula 4 Championship with MP Motorsport and competed in F1 Academy with the Dutch Team. She finished ninth in the Driver’s Standings with 87 points and a best finish of first place in Barcelona.
Amna Al Qubaisi, aged 23, is driving for Visa Cash App RB for the 2024 season. She began her karting career when she was 14 years old and has raced in multiple Championships since. Appearances at the Rotax Max Challenge World Finals, X30 Euro Series and Italian X30 Championships brought strong results and she moved up to Italian F4 for 2018. The Emirati driver has since made appearances in Formula 4 UAE, F3 Asian and, most recently, Formula Regional European Championships. In 2023 she raced in F1 Academy with MP Motorsport finishing sixth overall in the Driver’s Standings, with two first place finishes in Spielberg and Barcelona and a total of 117 points.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Hamda, Emely and Amna, three incredibly talented drivers, into the Red Bull Academy Programme,” said Sarah Harrington, Red Bull Academy Programme Manager, “and are looking forward to working with them closely this season. This is a landmark moment for us and is testament to our complete commitment to the future of women’s motorsport. F1 Academy provides an opportunity to promote genuine change in our industry and this is a great stepping-stone to help ensure that the drivers progress to the next level. This is a pivotal moment for women in motorsport and we are excited to see what this season brings”.
“I’m happy to confirm Hamda, Amna and Emely as our F1 Academy line-up for 2024 and as members of the Red Bull Academy programme,” added Sander Dorsman, MP Motorsport’s Team Principal. “This means we will stick with the drivers whose talent we are familiar with – all three have already become true members of the MP Motorsport family in recent years. Together, we look forward to a challenging new F1 Academy season in which we hope to repeat and further improve on our strong 2023 results. Hamda proved to be one of the title favourites while Amna and Emely each took their wins. And since we narrowly missed out on the teams’ title last year, we hope to go one better this year! Also, I’m grateful for Red Bull’s unwavering support of our efforts and we aim for a successful partnership together.”
Meanwhile, McLaren Racing has revealed the new livery that Bianca Bustamante will run on her F1 Academy race car this season.
Bianca, 19-years-old from the Philippines, became the first female driver to join the McLaren Driver Development programme in October 2023. She will also become the first driver to represent McLaren in the F1 Academy series, racing with ART Grand Prix in the upcoming season.
Flooded with papaya and elements of black, the striking new livery focuses on McLaren’s heritage by incorporating stand-out colours from Bruce McLaren’s iconic 1967 championship-winning M6A Can-Am.
Cisco, Official Primary Partner of the McLaren F1 Academy programme, will also be carried on the team’s F1A challenger as it races for the first time in Jeddah on 7-9 March. Bianca’s Alpinestars race suit and Castore team kit will also have Cisco branding throughout the 2024 F1 Academy season.
Bianca will continue to race with number 16 following an impressive 2023 F1 Academy campaign. After securing two wins and two further podiums, she finished seventh in the Drivers’ Championship with 116 points.
“It’s great to see the F1 Academy livery revealed ahead of the upcoming season,” said Zak Brown, “the papaya design looks awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing it on track for the first time.
“The F1 Academy series is a fantastic initiative and creates a pathway for young female drivers to reach the highest levels in motorsport. We’re pleased to have Bianca involved in the McLaren Driver Development programme and we’re looking forward to seeing her compete in F1 Academy this season.”
“The 2024 F1 Academy season is fast approaching,” added Bianca, “and it’s surreal that I’ll be driving in the McLaren livery, I absolutely love it! The design is incredibly iconic, and I’m so looking forward to racing in papaya.
“I managed to take a couple of weeks off over the winter, but lately it has been full push both on and off the track to prepare for the first test in Barcelona. Many thanks to McLaren and ART Grand Prix for their continuous support and commitment to helping me become a stronger driver.”