Talking to Amna Al Qubaisi: Mugello, family and Formula 4
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
(19/11/20) A while back, I sat down with Amna Al Qubaisi to talk about everything she’s achieved so far, as well as what we can look forward to in the future. Here’s what she had to say...
So, to start, can you just tell everyone who you are and what you do?
I’m Amna Al Qubaisi, I’m 20 years old, and I’m the first female Arab to compete in Formula 4.
I think that sums it up pretty well. So I want to start by talking about the fact that you are the first female Arab to compete, because obviously, that is something that is important. How do you find the confidence, the self-assurance to go out and do what you know you can do in such an industry?
I know I have potential, it’s just compared to my competitors, I just didn’t have enough track time, or track mile to be within the pace. However, I still managed to be within the top 15 despite my track mileage.
So, you mentioned how you’re not getting the track time, have you got any this year and are you looking at getting any next year?
Yes, hopefully this year we’ll arrange some testing with the team, we’ll just see with COVID-19 how it’s going to work out, and for a championship next year that we’re planning to attend.
You’ve mentioned this on social media. Can you give us anything?
Or are we going to have to wait?
For sure it’s car that contains a halo.
Ooh! So, I wanted to talk about you and your career so far. Start with UAE Rotax Max.
Yeah, my career in Rotax Max, I’ve done five seasons so far; I won the season in my last championship, and then I got the ticket to the World Championships in Portugal. I had good pace, I was P13 out of fifty drivers, but then during qualifying, with the engines (as they switch up engines during every session), I was unlucky with my engine, so that put me down for last place. Then, the year after, I had the sponsorship from Kaspersky LAB to compete in Formula 4, the Italian F4. Yet again, I didn’t have enough mileage, I just had two test days before the championship, so that was a big step for me. In my first race I took P12, so it was really good for me. And then now, the last race in Formula 4, which was held here in the UAE as a support race for Formula 1, was the last F4 race which I won.
And that was your best race recently, would you say?
Yeah. That was the biggest achievement I’ve done.
How do you think you’ve managed to progress from where you were to winning that race?
Where I was, I’d say if I had enough track mileage, I think I would have finished in way better positions, but it is what it is. But with the win I had last time, it made me more confident to get at least a podium for Formula…something that’s going to happen soon!
Formula something? I was almost going to say it! So yeah, it’s giving me the boost and confidence that I’m able to at least get a podium.
You and your sister, you’re both racing. How has that helped the both of you, are you giving each advice, are you helping one another, and what’s that doing to progress the both of you?
When we were competing in karting, it wasn’t really helping, because we would always fight on track, push each other off track, but as we went into cars, we matured, and we basically helped each other, we gave each other advice, and during the race and qualifying we’d help each other get slipstreams.
Your father, because he is a racer as well, has he helped you as well?
Yeah, my father, he’s always been supportive, he’s been at the track, he’s always at the race weekends, he gives us advice, when it comes to data, he’s always watching the data with us. There is also my mom, she’s always around, she drops me, takes me to the track, she travels with me when my dad’s not able to be around.
You mentioned your lack of track time, would you say that’s your biggest challenge so far?
Yes, that’s the biggest challenge, every time I enter a track, it’s always the first time for me. When it’s with my competitors, the track’s familiar to them, so it took me quite a while to get my sectors together, to get the breaking points and everything. But I still try to manage to get at least top 15 in the races.
Okay, quickfire round! What’s your favourite circuit you’ve ever raced on?
My favourite circuit would be Mugello. That’s my favourite circuit.
Are you expecting to see it back in Formula 1 in 2021?
Just less crashes?
Less crashes, yeah!
What’s your favourite race you’ve ever done?
My favourite race was the last race in Yas [Marina], that’s the biggest highlight for me, because it was during the F1 weekend, and standing on the podium, that was meant for F1 drivers, was absolutely amazing.
What do you think you’d be doing right now if racing wasn’t part of your life?
If racing wasn’t part of my life, I’d be working right now! Or probably doing my Masters degree in America, but I was waiting and focused on racing, so I was behind in my studies.
Who’s your favourite all-time F1 driver?
My favourite all-time? Actually, I love every F1 driver because they’re all so unique and different from each other, and everyone’s talented, but my favourite of all time would be Ayrton Senna.
And who’s your favourite at the moment?
At the moment, I have two, that would be Ricciardo and Charles.
So, obviously, you’re a woman that’s racing, I saw your tweet earlier about women that are racing. Did you mention Sophia Floersch and some other female drivers?
Yeah, because Sophia Floersch was known for her crash, I think that’s why she was very well known. However, people forget the fact that there are other female drivers who have accomplished also so much, and I know how awful it would seem, if they don’t get the praise for their hard work, so I’ve mentioned every female driver that I’ve known so far.
Besides yourself, are there any female drivers you’re looking at now that you think could be in F1 soon?
I think Jamie Chadwick, she’s very talented, I’ve met her, she’s very focussed. I can tell just by talking to her that she’s really determined to make it, and just looking at her eyes you can see the spark, that she’s really, really working for it.
I know you can’t tell us what you’re doing next year, but talk to me about how you’re
excited for it and what you think it’ll bring you after that.
I’m excited for it, because it’s going to be the next step, besides Formula 4, it’s going to also be a known championship, it’s going to help me gain sponsors, also points, to move up, hopefully, to the next step.