Dubai: Still basking in the recent success at the Formula 3 Asian Championships, Abu Dhabi Racing Team Principal Khaled Al Qubaisi is already making plans for the future, and he is definitely keeping it in the family.
Al Qubaisi, his daughter Amna and Chinese young gun Guanyu Zhou ensured it was a double for Abu Dhabi Racing as they picked up the team title and Zhou grabbed the drivers’ crown in the Asian F3 that concluded in the UAE last month.
“Since our inception in 2012, this is our first single-seater title. And to do it in the top Asian competition is amazing,” said Al Qubaisi in an exclusive chat with Gulf News.
“While we won the title by some margin, thanks mainly to Amna and Guanyu, it was great to double up as Zhou snuck in too win with a great final race right here in the UAE.”
Al Qubaisi was beaming with father’s pride as he discussed his 20-year-old daughter Amna’s progress since her karting days and her plans for the future.
“What she has done has been beyond my wildest expectations,” he said. “She came through karting here, and showed her potential by winning the GCC Championship — the only girl against 11 boys.
And she just hasn’t stopped. The only setback was the coronavirus pandemic, which meant she hadn’t had enough time to get ready for Formula 3 in Europe, but her being here was perfect as we managed to get her in for F3 Asia and she blew me away.
“We would have bets about who would finish ahead in each race, but she is just so good,” he laughed.
“Now she has a few routes to take. We need to look at how to get her better prepared for future challenges and give her the opportunities to race. She won the F4 support race at the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December. One thing we are looking at is the WC, an all-women international competition which runs alongside the F1 for eight races this season.”
As if having one champion driver for a daughter wasn’t enough, Al Qubaisi also has plans for Amna’s younger sister Hamda, who has also tasted karting success and is making moves up at the age of 18.
“She is now in F4 and, like her sister, has astounded me,” he said. “She took seven out of eight pole positions last season. She was a little unlucky in the races as she got shunted out of some races, but that does not take away from how well she has done in her first season. She has been so busy. She went over to Italy F4, where she got three top 10s, before returning to the UAE F4 and picked up three wins. Her schedule is relentless as she is now back in Italy for the F4 campaign — the top F4 competition in the world.”
Despite the family successes — Al Qubaisi himself is a world rally winner and 24 Hours of Dubai champion — he still has another dream.
“I would love to see all three of us — myself, Amna and Hamda — competing as a team here in F3 next year,” he revealed.
Given all their successes, that line-up would worry any and all opponents.