IN HER WORDS: Lia looks back at her early season

Published on
17 Jun 2024
Est. reading time
5 Min

Our F1 Academy representative shares her thoughts on 2024 so far

Lia Block, our Williams Racing Driver Academy hopeful, returns to the F1 Academy cockpit in Barcelona for Round 3 of the 2024 season.
It's been another long wait for the 17-year-old rookie who last raced in the series on her US homeland at the Miami GP over six weeks ago.
How has Lia kept sharp, and how does she reflect on the opening two rounds in Saudi Arabia and Florida? We sat down with our American starlet to find out.

Jetting to Jeddah

"I was definitely prepared coming off of Formula Winter Series going into Jeddah," begins Lia, referring to her three races in Spain over February and March.
"We had already had a test there, and in the first free practice, I went P3. It was a big confidence boost for sure.
"I didn't get the qualifying I wanted, but P7 there, so overall it was a really strong start to the weekend.
The races were just really unfortunate. I have a bit of hyperfocus when someone's in front of me.
"I was catching up to Bianca [Bustamante] in front of me, and I wanted to go for that fourth place, so I just pushed a little too hard in a corner and put it in the wall. But I learned a big lesson there."
Lia had spent most of the race in P8, but hit a kerb and spun following a lock-up of the car in front.
Another driver's rejoin left her with nowhere to go in the second race, but that Saudi Arabian weekend showed that Lia could fight with others, despite some experience gaps through the field.
"In both races, I think we had the third and the fifth fastest time, so position-wise, that's not where we should have been, but time-wise it was very good.
"I really enjoyed that track, and to this day, even though I haven't done a lot of tracks, that's still at the top of my list. Jeddah was really amazing."
Taking on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit
Taking on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Full on Florida

A one-month gap after Jeddah had Lia's pre-Miami GP preparation looking rather different, swapping racing around Spain in another championship for plenty of media duty and a multi-day test in Zandvoort.
"Miami was a lot different," recalls Lia. "I'd done a little bit of karting in between, but besides that, driving my road car is not the same.
"The girls that had already been there before in the W Series really stood out at the top.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself because it was my home race and I wanted to do well in front of my home crowd.
"Unfortunately, we took a step back at the start of practice; I just didn't feel comfortable coming off the sim.
"Everything was great. I knew the track; it was just building up my confidence with the car in the high-speed sections.
"I wasn't getting there as fast as I wanted, so we kind of just started off on the wrong foot in the first weekend, and it snowballed all the way through."
Nonetheless, Lia secured her first 2024 point in Miami's Race 2, taking a P10 classification to the delight of the American crowd.
"Miami was a big spotlight but in a different way - this is a very different audience than what I'm used to.
"There was a big press junket in New York with Logan before with Williams, so that was a bit of a shock, seeing how many people were there.
"I went on Good Morning America, and I didn't know what that was!
"My generation, I guess, we don't watch a lot of TV and news... we do TikTok instead.
"It was really cool, the stuff that I got to do.
"It was nice to have Logan there and share the spotlight with each other because he was like, "Do you want to answer this question?"
"It was nice to have him there, not just doing it all on my own."
Lia escapes the Florida sunshine under an umbrella in the cockpit
Lia escapes the Florida sunshine under an umbrella in the cockpit

Part of the team

Lia was speaking shortly after jumping out of the cockpit for her first Spanish F4 race at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao where she was getting more wheel-to-wheel experience.
Clean laps and a combined 19 positions gained through the three races came after days in Grove preparing for her trip to Portugal.
"I've done some amazing sim work with Williams. I just keep meeting more people and I am getting to know other people.
"It's quite awesome, especially with having Jamie [Chadwick] in Miami and all her knowledge.
Lia and Jamie take a selfie at the Miami Fan Zone
Lia and Jamie take a selfie at the Miami Fan Zone
"She's raced there before with the W Series. It was absolutely awesome to see her get pole position and win in Indy NXT.
"It's a big statement in the world of motorsports for women. She's absolutely proving that we can compete with the boys at the highest level.
"I think that's a big step for women in motorsport in general. It just gave me a lot of confidence going into today. I think it's great."
That Williams Racing camaraderie reached over the Atlantic in the wake of the news Jamie had stormed to pole position at Road America with Lia sharing the text message she sent in support:
"I was like, all caps, "POLE POSITION!!! LET'S GO!!!"
"It's awesome to see that stuff."
Lia will race on Saturday and Sunday in Barcelona for Round 3 of F1 Academy's 2024 season.
She'll also appear at the Williams Racing Fan Zone, presented by Kraken, in Barcelona on Wednesday - click here for more information.
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