McLaren Welcomes Bianca Bustamante as First Female Driver in Their Development Program
McLaren, a renowned name in F1, has recently made a significant announcement, marking another stride towards gender diversity in the motorsport industry. They proudly revealed that 18-year-old driver Bianca Bustamante would be joining their esteemed driver development program. This groundbreaking move not only makes Bustamante the first female driver to enroll in McLaren’s talent pipeline but also positions her to race in next year’s F1 Academy with McLaren’s iconic livery.
A Rising Star:
Having previously competed in the W Series and the highly competitive 2023 Formula 4 UAE Championship, Bustamante has already demonstrated her racing prowess. During the inaugural F1 Academy season, she drove for Prema Racing, securing a pair of impressive race wins. As the F1 Academy approaches its final race of the season at the United States Grand Prix this weekend, Bustamante is determined to leave her mark on the track.
Emanuele Pirro, the Director of McLaren’s driver development program, warmly welcomed Bustamante into their fold, praising her exceptional talent and dedicated work ethic. He expressed his excitement about working with her on further developing her skills and turning her into a formidable racing driver. Furthermore, McLaren’s F1 Team Principal, Andrea Stella, emphasized the team’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity in motorsport. Stella also expressed McLaren’s eagerness to witness Bustamante’s growth within their program under Pirro’s guidance.
An Unforgettable Moment:
Bustamante, clearly overwhelmed by this extraordinary opportunity, shared her heartfelt sentiments about joining McLaren and ART Grand Prix. Hailing from the Philippines, the young driver could hardly contain her emotions at the thought of being associated with McLaren’s illustrious legacy. Recognizing the unparalleled development structure now surrounding her career, Bustamante feels immensely grateful and ready to take the next step in her journey. While her focus was on improving her speed this year, she aims to consolidate her strength and mental acuity in the upcoming F1 Academy season, aspiring to compete for the championship title.
Promoting Gender Diversity:
McLaren’s collaboration with F1 Academy not only offers Bustamante a platform to showcase her talent but also contributes to the broader mission of fostering gender diversity in motorsport. Formula 1’s decision to include a driver from each of the ten current F1 teams in the all-female series next season highlights their active commitment to making the sport more inclusive.
A Promising Future:
The recent revelation of the F1 Academy season schedule for next year indicates exciting times ahead for both Bustamante and the entire racing community. With seven races on the horizon, including a stop in Miami during the Miami Grand Prix, fans eagerly anticipate the incredible displays of skill and passion that lie ahead.
McLaren’s decision to welcome Bianca Bustamante into their driver development program marks a significant breakthrough in the journey towards gender equality in motorsport. By providing a nurturing environment for talented female drivers, McLaren showcases its commitment to diversity and inclusion. As Bustamante embarks on this thrilling new chapter of her career, her partnership with McLaren promises an exciting future for both the team and the aspiring racer. The motorsport community eagerly awaits the upcoming F1 Academy season and the admirable strides being made toward a more vibrant racing landscape.
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