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F1 News: Bianca Bustamante is the first female driver to be signed with McLaren

The 18-year-old Filipina racer Bianca Bustamante makes history as she is the first female to join McLaren’s F1 Driver Development programme.

Understanding F1 Academy
F1 Academy is a new racing championship introduced in 2023 with a focus on promoting and preparing young women to eventually compete in higher levels of competition – including Formula 1. The Academy is an innovative launch for a female series of motor sport drivers who compete under Formula 4 and through this opportunity, it will nurture female talent to greater levels of motorsport. Seeking to maximize the potential of young women drivers, the academy will provide a fundamental level of experience needed to step up to F3-F2-F1

The championship will offer these young drivers more track time and racing. They will work with renowned professional teams in motorsport and the F1 Academy drivers will be able to grow in an environment to help them develop crucial technical skills needed to advance in their careers.

Everyone should have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their potential and Formula 1 wants to ensure we are doing everything we can to create greater diversity and routes into this incredible sport

Stefano Domenicali, Present and CEO of Formula 1
young filipina 18y/o wearing orange McLaren merch after recent signing with said team posing for the camera
Bianca Bustamante representing the papaya family. Photo taken from McLaren.

Bianca Bustamante, 18-years-old from the Philippines, is an up and coming motorsport star who has competed in both local and international karting competitions singe the age of five.

Bustamante made her single-seater debut in 2022, competing in the W Series, where she had claimed the top rookie honours. Since joining F1 Academy, she had her first career win in Round 2 at Valencia, Spain and her second at Round 5 in Monza, Italy.

Bianca’s recent signing in the McLaren Driver Development programme will be led by Emanuele Pirro, who will help her to progress further towards the end goal of Formula 1.

Bianca will represent McLaren in the 2024 F1 Academy season and will be racing with ART Grand Prix.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity as I believe I now have the best possible development structure around me to take the next step up in my career, and for this I am so thankful. 2023 was all about improving my speed which I demonstrated across several races this year, but in 2024 my aim is to establish consistency and improve my mental strength in order to make a title challenge in the coming F1 Academy season

Bianca Bustamante

Bustamante is making huge moves as she represents her country and inspires all the young female drivers to never give up and continue pursuing their dreams.

CNN Philippines. (2023, October 25). Filipina racer Bianca Bustamante is first female to join McLaren | New Day. CNN.—New-Day.html

McLaren. (2023, October 18). Bianca Bustamante Joins the McLaren Driver Development Programme. McLaren.

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