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MP Motorsport de Heus Al Qubaisi F1 Academy Barcelona

F1 Academy: de Heus and Al Qubaisi on a double victory for MP Motorsport in Barcelona

Round three of F1 Academy is complete with two new race winners in Emely de Heus and Lena Buhler

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F1 Academy raced in Barcelona this weekend for round three of the season and it was a double victory for MP Motorsport as Emely de Heus scored her first podium and win and Amna Al Qubaisi added a second win to her name. 

MP Motorsport Al Qubaisi de Heus F1 Academy Barcelona Zandvoort
First placed Emely de Heus celebrates on the podium during race 1 of the F1 Academy Series Round 3. (Photo by Eric Alonso – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

F1 Academy’s seven round season is well underway with round three now complete. All 15 drivers took to the grid in Barcelona for three races under the Spanish sun.

The weekend saw two new pole-sitters in Emely de Heus and Lena Buhler. De Heus was on pole for Race 1 whilst Buhler started in P1 for Race 3. In those two races, both drivers were able to convert pole position to a race victory.

Race 2, however, had de Heus’ teammate Amna Al Qubaisi begin in P2 but take the lead from Nerea Martí, ultimately bringing home another race win. Al Qubaisi previously won in Spielberg during the first round of the season.

Coming into this weekend, PREMA Racing were leading the championship. However, after Barcelona, MP Motorsport now lead as F1 Academy takes a break before round four in Zandvoort, MP Motorsport’s home race.

FormulaNerds spoke to both MP drivers in the press conference after all three races. Both de Heus and Al Qubaisi touched on their weekends as well as working with the team and what they’ll be doing in the weeks before Zandvoort.

De Heus: “It’s a confidence boost”

Emely de Heus came into the Barcelona weekend without a podium to her name. Having raced in W Series last year, de Heus had experience of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But, the Dutch driver had limited knowledge of the Pirelli tyres.

Speaking to FormulaNerds ahead of the weekend, de Heus admitted that from pre-season testing and the first two rounds, she uses her tyres too much. She said:

“What I learnt first and foremost is that I use too much of my tyres. Now I can go longer with them because I struggled with them a lot at the beginning of the season because I drove for the first time on Pirellis and I’m used to Hancock.”

However, after the races, de Heus said she feels more confident with the tyres as well as feeling “more confident in the car.” She also touched on how the set up of her car boosted her confidence too. De Heus said:

“It’s a confidence boost because I got bad luck in the first two weekends. I also struggled a bit with the speed so I’m happy that I know I have the speed in me and I can do better.

“I did a totally different set up that worked for me because I was struggling with the car the other weekends and was trying to find something new, so that really helped.”

In the standings, de Heus now sits in eighth on 41 points. The next round of F1 Academy is not only MP Motorsport’s home race but also de Heus’. FormulaNerds asked her what the break between races will look like for her.

De Heus said that she is planning to “go back home” and train. She said: “I will be training again, I usually go to Madrid to train, not driving but physical. A lot of sim racing I do there, so I think that will be my preparation.”

Whilst de Heus will be looking to score more points in Zandvoort, relishing her win from this weekend, so will Amna Al Qubaisi.

A second win for Amna Al Qubaisi

Amna Al Qubaisi scored her first race victory in F1 Academy in the opening weekend in Austria. Since then, the Emirati driver has had some ups and downs in Valencia; but during round three, Al Qubaisi added to her race win total taking victory in Race 2 of the weekend.

Al Qubaisi spoke to FormulaNerds and selected media about her weekend in Barcelona. The MP Motorsport driver, who not only races alongside de Heus but also her sister Hamda, said it “felt good” to be back on the podium. Al Qubaisi explained:

“I was unlucky in Valencia; I had a podium but a penalty got in the way. So it’s good to be back winning the third round’s second race. It feels good to be back on top.”

When asked what it’s like to be working with MP Motorsport, who won the Drivers’ Title in F2 in 2022 with Felipe Drugovich, Al Qubaisi praised the team. She said:

“It’s been good. We’ve been working on the car from the very first test. We mashed, I would say, we make a great pair. As a team, they’re very calm and if something happens, they don’t panic.

“They’re very calm, which makes me very calm in the end. They’re very hopeful as well. They believed in my talent from the very beginning and that’s a great combination to start with in the team.”

Al Qubaisi also admitted that there is a bit of pressure on the MP Motorsport drivers heading into the next round. She said:

“It’s their home track, so we feel a little pressure that we should do well as it’s a Dutch circuit. It’ll be my first time there, as for my sister, she’s been there in a couple of racing series, so we’ll see what we can do from there.”

With a few weeks until the next round, Al Qubaisi plans to return home to reconnect and relax. The Emirati driver told FormulaNerds: “For me, I would like to go back home and just reconnect and relax. I’ve been in Europe already for two months and that’s the longest I’ve been out of my home town.

“So just to reconnect, go back to my studies, focus on training physically, do some simulator work to prepare for Zandvoort and mini preparations here and there to reconnect back home.”

F1 Academy now has a new team leading the championship in MP Motorsport. Marta García of PREMA Racing is still the driver with the most points. This weekend’s winners have all added to their point totals; Buhler now sits in third, Al Qubaisi sits in fifth whilst de Heus is in eighth.

The next round is at the end of June in Zandvoort. Will MP Motorsport be able to achieve more race victories? And will de Heus score a podium at her home race?

Headline Image: GettyImages

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