Bianca Bustamante, a promising talent from the F1 Academy, has made history. The 18-year-old Filipino is making history in the world of F1. She is the first female driver to be signed to McLaren’s prestigious driver development program.

With this significant achievement, she will proudly race under McLaren’s colors in the upcoming 2024 season. At we showcased Bianca’s entry into the F1 Academy in April 2023 – and predicted great things from her recommends the following articles.

Bianca Bustamante Mclaren

The Woking-based team has a history of developing young talents for Formula 1. Bustamante is walking in the footsteps of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton by joining the Papaya Family as a teenager.

Performance in the 2023 F1 Academy – Driver Development Program

In the 2023 season, Bustamante showcased her exceptional skills and determination. Competing fiercely, she secured two wins and currently sits sixth in the championship rankings.

The season finale is approaching at the United States Grand Prix. All eyes are on her to see how she will conclude her impressive run. Her performance has caught the attention of McLaren. It has also garnered praise from team principal Andrea Stella and Emanuele Pirro.

They will be guiding her in the McLaren Racing driver development program. Before joining the F1 Academy, Bustamante had already made her mark in the W Series, Italian and UAE Formula 4 championships, and USF Juniors.

Bianca’s journey with the F1 Academy in 2023 was all about enhancing her speed. She believes she has successfully achieved this in several races.

However, for 2024, she aims to focus on consistency and mental strength. She has aspirations of challenging for the title in the 2024 F1 Academy season.

2023 F1 Academy Driver Standings

With one race to go (Circuit of the America’s), Bianca is sitting in 6th position behind

  • Léna Buhler
  • Hamda AL Quabasi
  • Nerea Marti
  • Abbi Pulling
  • Amna AL Quabasi
Léna BÜHLER1911
Nerea MARTÍ1593
Abbi PULLING1454
Emely DE HEUS837
Jessica EDGAR738
Carrie SCHREINER5610
Megan GILKES3311
Chloe GRANT3212
Chloe CHONG1213
Maite CACERES514

Bianca has had a generally successful 2023 where she has participated in 18 races, won twice, achieved pole position once and has been on the podium four times.

The Challenge for Women in Formula 1

The world of Formula 1, like many other professional sports, has historically been male-dominated. For women, breaking into this elite racing circuit requires exceptional talent. It also requires immense perseverance to overcome deeply entrenched gender biases.

The challenges are multifaceted. These include

  • Securing sponsorships
  • Gaining recognition in the early stages of their careers.
  • Facing skepticism about their abilities on the track.
  • Getting enough experience in the junior series to make them a serious contender for F1.
  • Developing the physical strength to cope with the demands of F1.

Despite these hurdles, drivers like Bianca Bustamante are paving the way for future female racers. They are proving that talent knows no gender. Her appointment to McLaren’s driver development program is a testament to her skills. It is also a significant step towards improving gender diversity in motorsport.

In her own words, Bustamante expressed immense gratitude for this monumental opportunity. She acknowledged the support from Susie Wolff and the F1 Academy team for their relentless efforts in championing female racers.

“I’ve never been more motivated in my life! 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

As she gears up for the 2024 season, her journey serves as an inspiration for countless aspiring female racers worldwide, signaling a brighter and more inclusive future for the sport.

By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!