Ford Supports Women in Motorsport on Eve of Miami Grand Prix

May 07, 2024

Ford continued to demonstrate its commitment to attracting more diversity across its motorsport portfolio on the eve of the Miami Grand Prix at an event titled “The Future is Female.” 

The Miami Grand Prix marked Round 2 of the 2024 Formula 1 Academy season for the Red Bull Ford Academy Programme, and Ford is the title partner. The F1 Academy is Formula 1’s all-female driver development series founded in 2023 to help young female drivers develop and prepare for higher levels of motorsport by providing them with track time, mental, physical, and technical support.

“The Future is Female” event included three panel discussions designed to raise awareness of women in STEM and Motorsport, women in leadership, and brands shaping the future.

Two sisters leading the charge in the female-only F1 Academy series – Hamda Al Qubaisi, Red Bull Racing Pepe Jeans Academy Programme Driver, and Amna Al Qubaisi of Visa Cash App RB Academy Programme – recalled what it was like to start their careers as professional drivers.

“Culturally, at the start, we didn't have a lot of support,” said Amna of the Emirati sisters’ journey towards the top levels of motorsport. “People were trying to convince my father to take us out of motorsports and focus on something ‘more feminine’ but my father said, ‘No, this is not a male-dominated sport. You guys made it look male-dominated.’ That’s when he started to support us.”

Hamda said the sisters’ trailblazing journey is proof positive that young women can be agents of change in motorsport.

“It definitely gives me motivation,” she said. “I feel like the reason we got into the sport is because we wanted to prove these people wrong. And we have been able to achieve so many things. What was a hobby has become a profession and suddenly we're here, part of the Red Bull family. It's crazy how many things happened. But you know, you just need to dream big, and things can fall into place!”

Lisa Drake, Vice President, Electric Vehicles Programs and Energy Supply Chain, Ford, who participated in one of the panel discussions, had an opportunity to spend time with the Al Qubaisi sisters to discuss their race strategy, the adjustments they were making to their cars, how they’ve been able to break so many barriers at a young age, and the bright future ahead of them. She said initiatives such as F1 Academy are important ways to advance inclusion.

“We all have the same potential, but … it's usually that lack of access that prevents many women from reaching their full potential, depending on what they want to do. Here in Formula 1 the teams are providing opportunity through F1 Academy,” she said. “The more Ford can be involved with F1 Academy and provide awareness and access for these drivers the better. That’s what I’m most excited about.”