American racer Chloe Chambers believes her move into F1 Academy with support from Haas “opens a lot more doors” to future career progression.
Chambers has been signed by Haas as the driver who will run in the team’s colors in F1 Academy this year, with all ten constructors doing the same. The all-female category was established last year and had its finale at Circuit of the Americas, but will be part of the F1 support schedule for all seven of its 2024 rounds and Chambers says the potential exposure is why the series was so attractive.
“I had tried to pursue F1 Academy this time last year actually, and unfortunately I was a little bit too late on getting things going for that so I ended up missing out on the 2023 season of F1 Academy,” Chambers told Speed City Broadcasting. “So I ended up going off and doing some sportscar racing in the States, did very well in that, and then sort of in the middle of the year we started going back and thinking ‘maybe we should try and go back into F1 Academy again because the opportunities it can bring are massive’.
“Especially in 2024 with them changing it to be on Formula 1 race weekends as well as live streamed on all the Formula 1 channels, it just opens a lot more doors that weren’t really there in 2023. So I pushed really hard to get into it for this year, went out to Spain to do some testing with the teams and show myself to them so they were at least aware of me and the fact I was trying to pursue it.
“Ultimately we got into talks with A14 Management – who is now managing me – and they were a big help because they have so many connections over in Europe that my dad and I don’t have. So they helped a lot with getting everything sorted for me and I ended up getting paired with Haas F1 Team, which obviously makes a lot of sense.
“It’s the only American Formula 1 team on the grid and I’m an American driver, so that pairing really just made sense with me. Obviously who would say no with being partnered with a Formula 1 team? So I graciously accepted their offer, and I’ll be racing with Campos Racing at seven of the Formula 1 races this year.”
Chambers says the Haas deal extends beyond the F1 Academy backing too, and that she’ll spend time with the team at select other events.
“Part of my deal with Haas is that I will get to experience the inside of the team on a race weekend. I will obviously be at the tracks during the F1 race weekends where I am racing, but I also will get the opportunity to go to a few of the other races where I won’t racing. So I’ll be able to be with the team throughout the entire weekend, sit in on driver debriefs, watch the on-track action with the engineers, and kind of immerse myself so I understand how it works.”
Chambers doesn’t see the departure of Guenther Steiner as team principal as a negative development, after being welcomed by new team principal Ayao Komatsu.
“It’s cool. Guenther was such a face and a personality, especially from Drive to Survive, and I’ve seen some of the comments saying ‘Oh we want Guenther back’, but also you have to think about it from the perspective of the team.
“They did a really good interview with Gene Haas … and basically the way he said it was it was time for a change in the higher tiers of the team because the team had finished last place in the constructors’ championship two of the last three years. So it really does make sense to change something around with the team to try and figure out what the problem is.
“So as much as Guenther is a really cool personality, very funny, I think it will be good for Haas in the long run.”