Nerea Mart: “It is only a matter of time before a woman reaches F1”

On March 9, Mine Mart (Albalat dels Sorells, 2002) achieved the first podium of the year for Campos Racing in Jeddah. A promising start for the Valencian driver, the only Spanish representative in the F1 Academy, the championship where 15 women fight for the minimum requirements to drive, one day, a Formula 1. The road to the top seems very steep, because the champion will add 10 points and the Super License requires 40. However, after many years fighting in a man’s world, Mart is not going to give up now either. “They have given us many opportunities and I think it is only a matter of time before a woman reaches F1.”

Nerea speaks to EL MUNDO a few days before her trip to Miami, the second date of a seven-round championship. Her voice mixes a strapper’s tenacity with some notes of stark realism. “Sometimes, talent is not enough, because you also need financial support. Without money you are not going anywhere. In my case, with my own means I would not be able to compete and every year I have to continue looking for a living to find sponsors,” he notes. This year, the support of Tommy Hilfigerthe brand that has dressed Lewis Hamilton o George Russellis a fantastic endorsement.

Mere subsistence implies quite a challenge in the F1 Academy, a category born in 2023 on the ashes of the W Series. Under the auspices of Susie Wolffwoman of team principal of Mercedes, the priority objective was to raise funds and avoid another financial collapse like the one that had wiped out the final stretch of the W Series in 2022. Its format would be similar to F4, with 15 participants behind the wheel of the same car (Tatuus F4-T421 ), powered by a 165 HP four-cylinder engine. For the joy of Spanish motorsports, Martha Garcia She was proclaimed champion with the colors of Prema Racing. Mart, as in 2021, her debut year in the W Series, finished fourth overall, with a victory (Le Castellet) and a pole (Cheste).

Gym and simulator

“We are going in the right direction, because everyone is supporting us and helping us. This year there has been another great leap in quality. They are giving us training, visibility and opportunities that are needed so that in the future we can arrive well prepared,” analyze. And that learning process is transferred to your daily life in a High Performance Center in Valencia. “We do a little bit of everything, both physically and mentally. We work with cardio on the upper and lower body, but we also specifically exercise the neck muscles,” she details. Of course, the effort is combined with preparation in the Campos Racing simulator.

Nerea’s motor fever was fixed in childhood thanks to some “documentaries about Ayrton Senna“, his own obstinacy and the enthusiasm of his family. “We didn’t know anything about the world, we had no contacts, we had nothing. But out of so much trouble they opened a small team just for me,” he recalls about the influence of Miguelhis father, and Carloshis uncle, in his first steps in the karting. Since her debut at age 14 she has competed surrounded by men. And she has carved out a niche for herself despite the difficulties.

“I raced against boys from the beginning and I never had any problem facing them. I have been one more on the track. I have even won races. I have not had any type of problem. On the contrary. I have also known how to earn respect from the first moment “I have always competed as if I were one of them with the same objective as everyone, which is to win,” he says. To that naturalness she does not add any vindictive nuance, like that of other companions, with Cristina Gutirreznew Dakar champion in the Challenger category, in front.

Mart, last March in Jeddah.CAMPOS RACING

“I don’t compete to change anyone’s thoughts. Everyone has their ideas. I run for myself, for my successes, for my future and for my dreams. If during that journey I can get some people to change their minds, that’s fine, but each one He is free to think what he wants,” he says. In fact, it does not add any symbolic value to his last podium in Saudi Arabia either. “When I enter a circuit I focus on what I do and I forget a little about the rest. But I know it’s true that this year there were more women. We spent some time with a women’s basketball team from there, so very good on that side.” “he emphasizes.

La inslita penalizacin a Doriane Pin, for continuing hard after the checkered flag, earned the third step on the podium in Jeddah. A good omen for the 12 races in 2024, spread over double sessions in Miami, Montmel, Zandvoort, Singapore, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Where will we see, then, the best Nerea? “I am very constant in preparation and that means I am also constant on the track. On very technical circuits I am fast. My weakest point may be the first lap, but I have been working hard and I am going further.” There is no better recipe than optimism to face the future. Even if it’s with your feet on the ground. “I have to keep working because every year is an adventure. We have to create new opportunities to continue in this sport that is so difficult and beautiful at the same time.”

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