Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Marta Garcia realistic with FREC targets, excited for future opportunties

Marta Garcia realistic with FREC targets, excited for future opportunties

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

F1 Academy champion Marta Garcia has spoken about the “really difficult” step up to the Formula Regional European Championship after winning a fully-funded drive in the series.

Despite some high expectations from outside, Garcia is targeting a more realistic top 15 position in the championship, with a best finish so far of 15th after rounds at Hockenheim and Spa-Francorchamps.

“Obviously, I would love to be in the points at least in some races. I know it’s difficult [but] if I have a good race, hopefully I could,” she told Formula Scout.

“I think everyone in motor sport knows the step from F1 Academy to Formula Regional is really difficult. It’s probably one of the toughest championships in motorsport, so obviously I want to do well.”

Her previous experience of racing at FRegional level, gained during three seasons in the female-only W Series, “helped, but it was really different.”

“We were working with different engineers every time [in W Series] and didn’t have much track time,” she said.

“Now jumping again to this car, the setup is so completely different to the W Series car, so you’ve got to get used to it. Obviously, the level in FRECA is really high as well so we need to work a lot.”

Garcia is not only flying a flag for women drivers in general, but also the F1 Academy itself, launched to great fanfare in 2023 with the goal of helping top female drivers progress towards Formula 1.

She says she doesn’t feel under any additional pressure. On the contrary, she says that the media and fan interest gives her “more motivation and confidence,” with so many fans coming “to see us fighting to be at the top.”

Originally announced as a fourth driver with Prema, under dispensation for teams to run an extra car for drivers from F1 Academy, she found out “three weeks” before the final pre-season test that she would instead form an all-female line up at the sister Iron Dames squad, as it made its debut in the series and single-seaters more generally.

“It’s a great opportunity for me for this year, and for the future as well, because obviously they don’t do just Formula Regional. They have endurance, rallies, and even karting. They’re doing a lot for women in sport and I’m happy to be part of something like that.”

Her future plans are open, admitting that “obviously I’m funded by F1 Academy so if it’s [down to] me, I don’t have the budget to pay for another year.”

Being part of the Iron Dames opens alternative career paths, so she is open to “opportunities elsewhere in the programme. Let’s see what happens.”

Garcia joined the Formula E rookie test held straight after Hockenheim in Berlin, having been invited by ERT “like three weeks [before].”

“I think it’s also a good opportunity for the future, to keep in contact with the team because you never know and maybe it’s a good championship to do in the next few years. Who knows?”