Teenage Emirati motorsport sensation Amna Al Qubaisi was left “feeling like a Formula One driver” after her first unofficial testing ahead of her Formula 4 debut in 2018.
The 17-year-old, who will become the first Arab female to race in the competition after signing a deal with Prema team, sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, got her first feel of being behind the wheel of the car that will see her go head-to-head against some of the world’s most promising racers.
Amna completed various 10-lap sessions at Yas Marina Circuit late last night and was left in awe.
“I had this mini moment of, ‘oh my gosh this is how a Formula One driver feels on this track’, and it was simply great,” she said. “I really enjoy driving the car as it’s with a good setup and I love the speed.”
It’s a much different challenge to what she was used to last season, having enjoyed numerous success in karting including becoming the first Emirati to win the UAE senior Rotax Max Challenge.
Formula One remains her main target and by joining the fourth-tier of the competition, she has every chance of achieving that goal. F4 is the first step for many rising stars of motorsport and racers can receive FIA Super Licence points, which are required to drive in F1.
— Denzil M Pinto (@denz_360) June 14, 2017
And after just a few hours on the track, the Daman Speed Academy junior is already feeling the difference between the two disciplines.
“It’s totally different to karting,” she said. “In this type of racing, it happens so quickly and the shifting and braking is a bit of a challenge as I have to brake much harder than you would do in karting, but there’s other issues like making sure you are racing in the correct line and judging the corners correctly. It’s a whole new experience.
“It requires a lot of fitness especially in the arms. Shifting is not really new to me and have driven vehicles that involves shifting but it’s a really good experience.”
More testing sessions are planned later this year, which could include her travelling to Europe to drive the car – something that she’s looking forward to.
She added: “I will have more five or six sessions at Yas Marina Circuit but in a few months time I will be testing in Europe. Testing that on a different track to what I’m not used to will be will be a challenge. At this stage, it’s all about getting used to the feel of the car and once that passes by, I’ll worry about the timings.”
Since her deal, she has been busy spending more time in the gym as well as giving interviews to UAE and international media. “It’s been really good as I’ve spoken to some media organisations, including BBC, and it really has helped me a lot to build my confidence and hopefully it will inspire other Arab women to take up sport.”