Formula 1

Bianca Bustamante Breaks Barriers: Joins McLaren’s Elite Driver Development Programme

F1 Academy racer Bianca Bustamante recently made history by becoming the first female driver to join the McLaren Driver Development programme. This significant milestone in her career marks a new era for women in motorsport, closely aligning with McLaren’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Historic Milestone: Bianca Bustamante, the young talent from the Philippines, becomes the first female driver to join the prestigious McLaren Driver Development programme, representing a significant step forward for diversity in motorsport.
  • Impressive Track Record: With two victories and two podium finishes in the F1 Academy season racing for PREMA Racing, Bustamante has demonstrated exceptional skill and potential, leading to her recruitment by McLaren.
  • Future Prospects: Under the guidance of Emanuele Pirro and with aspirations for Formula 1, IndyCar, and Formula E, Bustamante’s inclusion in McLaren’s programme signifies her rising trajectory in the world of racing.

Bianca Bustamante, an 18-year-old sensation from the Philippines, has recently achieved a groundbreaking feat in her career by joining McLaren’s Driver Development programme. She has demonstrated formidable prowess on the track, making her single-seater debut in the 2022 W Series and securing top rookie honours. Her first season with PREMA Racing in the F1 Academy saw her clinch two victories and two additional podiums, highlighting her as a formidable competitor.

“This is such an unreal moment in my career,” Bustamante shared, echoing her profound respect for McLaren’s heritage. She emphasized her aspirations for the 2024 season, focusing on consistent performance and mental strength to contend for the F1 Academy title.

“A big thanks goes to Susie Wolff and the team at F1 Academy for fighting so hard for us girls and to give us this opportunity to be the best we can be,” Bustamante gratefully acknowledged.

McLaren’s Team Principal, Andrea Stella, expressed the team’s excitement in welcoming Bustamante. Their involvement in the F1 Academy reflects McLaren’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity in motorsport, a principle that is at the core of their ethos.

Emanuele Pirro, who oversees McLaren’s Racing Driver Development programme and is a former F1 racer, also expressed his enthusiasm about Bustamante’s addition to the team. He praised her promising talent, dedication, and alignment with the team’s values.

Bustamante’s induction into McLaren’s programme is not just a personal triumph but also a significant stride towards greater diversity and representation in the world of Formula 1. Her journey serves as an inspiration and a beacon of progress in a sport that continues to evolve and embrace inclusivity.

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