Rising UAE motorsport talent Amna Al Qubaisi is set to make history by becoming the first female Emirati and Arab driver to race in Formula 4 in Europe.
The 17-year-old, who became the first Emirati girl to win the karting UAE senior Rotax Max Challenge series last month, has been awarded a deal with Prema team, sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, which will see her test herself against some of the world’s best up-and-coming drivers in 2018.
The announcement is a major boost for the Daman Speed Academy junior in her aspirations of achieving her F1 dream and the Abu Dhabi schoolgirl is looking forward to being behind the wheel in such a “big” competition.
“It feels really amazing to be the first female driver of the UAE to be racing in Formula Four,” Amna said during a ceremony at Yas Viceroy hotel on Friday night.
“I feel very confident that I can do well there and this is the first step to Formula One. I hope that I can make good progress and hopefully soon I can make it in Formula One.
“I hope I can live up to the expectations of Daman Speed Academy, where I have trained. And of course Abu Dhabi Racing who have placed so much trust in me.”
She has the rest of the year to get familiar with the new car but she was pleased with her first outing on a circuit she knows well.
“I’ve tested the car at Yas Marina Circuit and in Dubai and hope to get good results. My karting experience will help me as Formula Four is a different strategy but I was within the pace when I tested,” she added.
“Prema are a great team who have delivered champions. Moreover, Kaspersky Lab has come on board to sponsor the first ever female Emirati driver at this level of racing, which is fantastic.”
By joining Formula 4, Amna will be following other young drivers to take the step from karting to single-seater racing in a competition designed to be a learning and affordable step in their bid of reaching the pinnacle of the sport – the F1. Drivers can receive FIA Super Licence points, which are required to drive in F1.
Since its inception by the FIA in 2014, it has already been hugely popular with impressive grids as new regions create their own competitions.
To date, there are 12 competitions on the FIA F4 calendar including the Australian, British, Chinese, Spanish and the UAE Championship. Father Khaled Al Qubaisi, founder of Daman Speed Academy and Abu Dhabi Racing managing director was thrilled with the major news and hopes she can now realise her ultimate dream.
“It has been four years finding a driver to go up a level and Amna has done it,” he said. “Racing with Prema and the sponsorship from Kaspersky Lab is immeasurable and we hope this association will go a long way in getting Amna to compete at the highest level.”
Kaspersky Lab’s managing director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Maxim Frolov, added: “It’s great to see this success and professional growth in a sport that we support. In her achievements, Amna Al Qubaisi is a great example of human power combined with the best technologies. We believe it’s changing the paradigm of Emirati sports and taking it to newer, higher levels.”
Before her new ventures, Amna will be aiming to add to her trophy cabinet when she competes in the Grand World Finals of the Rotex Max Challenge in Portugal later this year. This season, she also came up trumps in the GCC Young Drivers Academy, while her efforts on the track saw her win the Outstanding Emirati Athlete accolade at the UAE Teen Sports and Fitness Awards.