McLaren sign Bianca Bustamante as part of their F1 Driver Development Program

McLaren sign Bianca Bustamante as a part of the Driver Development Program
McLaren sign Bianca Bustamante as a part of the Driver Development Program

The McLaren F1 team has signed F1 Academy driver Bianca Bustamante as a part of their Driver Development Program. This makes her the first-ever female driver to become a part of the historic team.

Bustamante made her single-seater debut back in 2022 with the W Series and performed impressively. Later in 2023, when the all-female F1 Academy was founded, she became one of its drivers and has scored two wins so far with Prema Racing.

There is one more event remaining on the Academy's calendar and she currently sits in seventh place.

Her signing with McLaren is historical and iconic for both her and the team. This will ensure that she continues to develop her skills, while representing the team on the F1 Academy grid in 2024.

As a part of this, Bianca Bustamante will switch to the ART Grand Prix, for which she expressed plenty of excitement. The F1 website quoted her as saying:

"This is such an unreal moment in my career, to sign with McLaren and ART Grand Prix is way beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined growing up racing karts in the Philippines.
"I still have a hard time seeing my name next to McLaren without getting emotional, as the history and heritage linked to this team leaves me truly speechless."

Bianca Bustamante sounds ready to start working with Team Papaya

McLaren has given opportunities to young drivers in the past and continues to do so.

Its current Formula 1 lineup, consisting of Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri, has taken its car to the front of the grid in the final stages of the 2023 season. While their start was questionable, they have developed well and managed to score enough points to battle with Aston Martin for fourth place in the standings.

Anyone would be excited to work with a dedicated team like this, and so is Bianca Bustamante. She spoke about her goals for the future with the team, saying:

"For now, my focus is to finish off the F1 Academy season strongly here in Austin, but we’ll get to work immediately on the 2024 season. I've never been more motivated in my life!"

She further thanked Susie Wolff, who is the managing director of F1 Academy.

"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."

Bianca Bustamante could have a bright future in racing along with many other drivers from the Academy. This is one of the most empowering initiatives that has been made by the F1 management to ensure participation and recognition of talent from all over the world.

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