It’s another historic milestone for Bianca Bustamante as she joins McLaren for the 2024 F1 Academy season.
Bianca Bustamante has made it no secret that she has a top goal of being the first female driver in F1. Since she was a kid, Bianca has been racing her way to that finish line. From carts to Formula cars, the 18-year-old has been consistently proving her worth, especially in an industry that isn’t used to a Filipina like her.
Recently, Bianca made one of the most significant decisions of her career when it was announced that she was joining the McLaren Driver Development Program. Not only does the move bring Bianca one step closer to her dream, but it also breaks barriers for Filipinos and women in general. Here’s why Bianca’s new partnership with McLaren is one to pay attention to.
NEW HOME WITH MCLAREN
Recently, McLaren made the historic announcement that Bianca Bustamante was joining the Driver Development Program for the 2024 season of F1 Academy. It can be remembered that Bianca made history earlier this year when she became the first Filipino to compete in the F1 Academy under PREMA Racing. She has gone on to rack up two historic wins during the inaugural season, the first at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain in May, and the second in Italy in July. As she heads to the season finale in Austin, Texas this weekend, Binaca currently stands in 7th place with 102 points.
All this and more convinced McLaren that Bianca was fit to join their program, and in the process, made history as the first Filipino and female driver to be part of the British team’s Driver Development Program. That’s yet another inclusion in the history books for Bianca. As such, when the 2024 F1 Academy season rolls around, she will be driving under McLaren’s signature papaya colors in the ART Grand Prix. It’s a feat that’s even more special for Bianca given how she’s been a long-time fan of the team. “I still have a hard time seeing my name next to McLaren without getting emotional as history and heritage linked to this team leaves me truly speechless,” shared Bianca.
The love was mutual from McLaren as Emanuelle Pirro, Director of the McLaren Racing Driver Development and a former F1 driver himself, expressed, “I’m pleased that Bianca is joining our Driver Development program. She’s a promising young talent who has a brilliant work ethic and is aligned closely with our team values.”
RACING TO THE TOP
As Bianca continues to drive towards her dream of being in Formula 1, this partnership with McLaren offers the Gen Z racer her biggest platform yet as well as help push Filipino and women representation in the sport even further. It’s a welcome sight, especially since some racing fans aren’t the most welcoming to women in the field. But despite what the haters may say, Bianca is still getting those deals and making her country proud. And that’s all while she’s just 18 years old.