Running on the Formula 1 support bill for the first time, the all-female F1 Academy series rounded out its inaugural season at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas at the end of October. Alpine Academy driver Abbi Pulling (Rodin Carlin) reflects on a competitive and – at times – trying 2023 F1 Academy season.
What has been the highlight of your 2023 season?
My top highlight of the 2023 F1 Academy season was taking pole position at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. It was in changing conditions which made it more challenging and made the result even more triumphant. It was also a great feeling to bounce back after a disappointing weekend in Zandvoort.
Do you have a favourite circuit that you have visited this season?
This year my favourite tracks to visit have been Circuit of The Americas and Circuit Zandvoort, as the events had a lot going on off track and the atmosphere was raw and ecstatic. I also really enjoyed Autodromo Nazionale Monza. It is such an iconic track to visit, and I get why it has the nickname Temple of Speed! Any mistake could ruin all momentum and I always enjoy the challenge of an unforgiving track.
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome this season?
I have had some bad luck over the course of the 2023 season, so I have found one of the biggest challenges to be letting go of the negatives and putting all my focus into what I can control. I noticed that once I shifted my mindset to this in the second half of the season, I started to get more poles and podiums, and I became more generally consistent with a good haul of points each weekend.
What was a major learning curve for yourself and your team this season?
My team and I started the season struggling with the heat and longer runs, so a major learning curve for us was learning how to manage this. It has been fun to work with Rodin Carlin to understand more of what I am looking for out of the car then communicating it to the team so we can develop together throughout the season.
Can you give us an overall wrap up of your season?
Overall, the results from this season have not always been where we had hoped to be, but I’ve had some good showings and I have learned a lot, which I will be able to utilise throughout my future career. Seasons like this where you face certain challenges and have to develop as you go in order to overcome them are just as valuable as straightforward seasons because you can learn from your mistakes and know how to deal with difficult situations going forward.