Williams has bolstered its Driver Academy ranks with the addition of Lia Block, who will represent the British outfit in the F1 Academy championship in 2024.

The all-female series, which conducted its inaugural season this year, will be supported by all 10 F1 teams, each fielding one driver sporting their team’s respective colours.

It has been announced that Block will drive for ART Grand Prix, partnering Bianca Bustamante, who was signed to McLaren’s driver development programme last month.

The 17-year-old began karting at the age of 11 and has since competed in both Extreme E, rallying and rallycross, before winning the Open Two-Wheel Drive class this year.

Block’s confirmed drive in next season’s F1 Academy will mark the American’s first full campaign of open-wheel racing, having recently participated in various tests.

“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,” Block said. “I can’t wait to embrace this new experience and learn as much as possible.”

Williams’ 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.”

Meanwhile, ART Grand Prix’s Sebastien Philippe praised Block’s “adaptability to a wide range of demanding environments” as she prepares to make her F1 Academy bow.

“Extreme sports are part of Lia’s DNA and her debut in high-profile international competitions attest to her talent and her adaptability to a wide range of demanding environments,” the French side’s team boss commended.

“At 17 years old, Lia is driven with a great determination and an appetite for major challenges, that should allow her to quickly find her place on our team and in the F1 Academy.”

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