Lia’s Debut Weekend Diary

Published on
14 Feb 2024
Est. reading time
5 Min

In her own words, Lia Block guides us through her maiden competitive outing in single-seater race cars

Lia Block is no stranger to racing with off-road experience and success that defies her 17-year-old age, but our Williams Racing Academy driver took on a new challenge last weekend.
Ahead of the upcoming F1 Academy season, which kicks off in Saudi Arabia next month, Lia joined the opening round of the 38-car-strong Formula Winter Series in Jerez, Spain.
Almost everything that could happen in single-seater racing did happen over the weekend's three races, with Lia taking on Safety Cars, yellow flags, aborted starts, rolling restarts, rain, a drying track, front wing damage, a pit stop, overtakes, and, somehow, even more.
How was it from Lia's perspective, though? Our American racer told us everything:

Day 1 - Qualifying

It started pouring by the time I got out of the hire car. We pulled up, and it was barely sprinkling... We got out, and it started pouring on us!
I was like, "Oh, what a great start!" Just throwing me into the deep end — with the weather and the racing.
The start of the day was pretty hard. It was wet-to-dry for the qualifying, so it was a bit hard for me when I didn't really know where the grip was.
At first, I didn’t really know where to change my lines for this type of racing and just circuit racing, in general. Honestly, it was a struggle.
Going out behind so many drivers, you want to try and create a space. It was a bit hard doing that in the first couple of laps.
With these Hankook tyres, they get better and better over every lap. As the track evolves, it gets cleaner from all the cars racing on it.
It was good up until the last lap. I was putting down some really good times. Unfortunately, on the last lap, we had some traffic, and that was when the track was the best, so everybody put in a better time, besides me.
That dropped me down quite a bit. But honestly, I'm pretty happy with that for my first qualifying.
Qualifying 1 - P36 - 1:48.291

Day 1 - Race 1

It was quite chaotic in the first five laps: passing, getting passed, people spinning in front of me, people going into the marbles...
It was a very chaotic first race, but I would say it went really well.
I made up eight or nine spots which I would say is a win for me for my first race, and it's only up from here.
There are a lot of great drivers in this field, and I don't only look at the women in this field; I look at everybody.
So, my benchmark really is pole position. It's just about making those small steps to eventually get there.
I've experienced the deepest field I will have all season and the most chaos I'll have in a first race, but I know what to expect now.
I didn't know how people were going to drive. I encountered a lot of really aggressive drivers and some not-so-aggressive drivers.
Just having the first one under my belt is definitely going to prepare me a lot better for the two races tomorrow.
Race 1 - P29 (16th-best rookie)

Day 2 - Race 2

It's raining cats and dogs! Actually, it wasn't too bad in the first couple of laps. I think I made it up to 26th or 25th, so from around 30th, I would say that's pretty good in the first couple of laps.
Unfortunately, I touched the paint on the outside of the last corner, locked the wheels up, and went into the gravel.
I wasn't going to let my race end there, though! So, I full-throttled it and got out of the little gravel on the outside of the corner.
It may have damaged the car just a little bit, with some rocks flying everywhere. But I got out of it, and we finished the race, so that's really all that matters.
I learned a lot. I learned that I'm a little too quick on the throttle in the wet! I'm taking it all into the next race.
I'm pretty proud of myself. These are very new conditions for me. In my second race, the weather was a bit worse, with it pouring down with rain. So, I would say that was a pretty solid effort.
If I bring it across the finish line in the last race, I will be happy.
Race 2 - P30 (17th-best rookie)

Day 2 - Race 3

Even with picking up front wing damage before the rolling restart, there are a lot of lessons learned from Race 3.
I've had everything thrown at me this weekend. From safety cars, yellow flags, some crashes, some going off, I had it all.
Even a pit stop — although that usually shouldn't happen in F4! I know how to deal with one now and what happens during them.
I learned a lot this weekend, even though it wasn't the greatest result. I still didn't finish last, so I'm proud of that.
Being alone out on the track after the pit stop was a hard one for me. I like to chase people and to get chased.
I was trying a bunch of different things, and learning from my mistakes to help myself for the future.
Valencia is next weekend, and, hopefully, there'll be some better weather there.
I'll apply my learnings starting from qualifying and hopefully get a better spot than here. Lesson one: don't get stuck behind the slowest person!
Race 3 - P35 (21st-best rookie)
Make it yours
Get ready for the 2024 season by creating or refreshing your own Driver Card! Pick a new helmet and number to display your Williams Racing fandom to the world!
Contact & Media
Store Location
Stay in the Loop
Powered By
© the Williams Group, under licence to Williams IP Holdings LLC
Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 1297497. Its registered office is at Grove, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 0DQ
Powered By