Nerea Martí closes F1 Academy season with second-place finish

The Spaniard put herself in podium contention all the weekend in Austin and finished second in Race 3. Lovinfosse scored more points at the season finale. Cáceres fought hard in her Mercantile Campos Racing-run Tatuus

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Mercantile Campos Racing achieved another podium at the Circuit of the Americas, which hosted the final round of the 2023 F1 Academy championship season. Nerea Martí, Lola Lovinfosse and Maite Cáceres put together another strong event in terms of competitiveness and results in Austin. Spaniard Martí clinched her sixth podium in the series with her Mercantile Campos Racing Tatuus-Autotecnica machinery. France’s Lovinfosse made it into the points-paying positions twice with Uruguayan Cáceres also running in strong pace throughout the weekend.

On Friday, the drivers defending the Mercantile Campos Racing colors completed a promising free practice session ahead of Q1 and Q2, which took place in the afternoon. Martí clocked a lap time of 2m08.696s in Q1, which left her third on the starting grid for the American race opener on Saturday. Lovinfosse rounded out the top-ten with a lap of 2m09.440s. Cáceres qualified in 15th place with a lap of 2m10.336s. Q2 took place just a few minutes later. With lap times improving due to cooler temperatures, Martí lowered her personal best to 2m08.053s and took 3rd spot on the grid, less than a tenth away from the pole position. Lovinfosse put together a lap of 2m08.832s and qualified in 11th and Cáceres set to start from 13th with a lap time of 2m09.282s.

Race 1, which consisted of 12 laps, saw Martí getting in contention for the podium. At the end, Martí took the checkered flag in fourth place. Lovinfosse secured the final point by finishing in tenth place. Cáceres couldn’t reach the finish line as she was caught in a three-car incident, which brought an early end to her race. Later in Race 2, with 8 laps scheduled, saw another remarkable performance coming from Mercantile Campos Racing and their drivers. Spaniard Martí joined the battle for another top-5 result and she got involved a head-to-head fight with Abbi Pulling. Finally, Martí took the checkered flag in fifth place. Lovinfosse secured more points by finishing in 8th place and Cáceres finished in 12th.

The curtain dropped on the season on Sunday with Race 3. From third on the grid, Martí moved past Marta García for second at the start. Martí remained in the slipstream of race leader Jessica Edgar and fended off a late García’s charge to take a second place when the checkered flag waved. Cáceres finished in 12th with Lovinfosse ending up in 15th after making contact with a rival and lost valuable time.

After seven rounds, Martí has ranked 4th in the drivers’ standings on 181 points thanks to six podiums, which includes a maiden win at Paul Ricard. Lovinfosse was finally 10th in the standings with Cáceres finishing in 15th. Mercantile Campos Racing took 5th in the teams’ standings.