Lia Block has been confirmed as a Williams Racing driver for next year’s F1 Academy.
The 17-year-old will drive an ART Grand Prix car in the all-female, seven-round Formula 1 support series.
Daughter to US rally and Gymkhana sensation Ken Block, Lia became the youngest driver ever to win a major American rally title, taking the 2023 Open 2WD crown in her first full year in the series.
Next year will take Block to races across Europe, Asia and North America, with the championship starting in Saudi Arabia before events in Miami, Barcelona, Zandvoort, Singapore, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
Block said: “I am so excited to be joining the Williams Driver Academy and competing in F1 Academy in 2024! This is something I never could have dreamed of. I can’t wait to embrace this new experience and learn as much as possible.”
Williams Racing team principal James Vowles added: “We are excited to welcome Lia to Williams Racing as our F1 Academy driver for 2024.
“Lia has already achieved a tremendous amount in motorsport, has incredible natural talent, and the champion mindset and dedication to make a success of her journey into open-wheel racing.
“We cannot wait to get started on this journey together. As a team, we are committed to Formula 1 and F1 Academy’s joint efforts to improve female representation in motorsport, and we look forward to working with Lia as a key part of the Williams Racing Driver Academy.”
Derek Dauncey has mentored Lia since she started racing. The Block House Racing team manager admitted the 17-year-old hoped to keep her rallying options open.
“Talking to Lia and her mum Lucy over the weekend, it’s very clear the love Ken had for rallying runs right through the family,” Dauncey told DirtFish.
“There is still an interest in running some ARA events in 2024. Like I said, rallying is very close to Lia’s heart and that of the whole Block family. Lucy wants to find a way to support ARA and her fellow competitors into the future
“This opportunity for Lia to start the open wheel racing program with Williams Racing Driver Academy is a dream come true. It’s a testament to Lia’s achievements that teams from outside of rallying have seen her ability.”