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MANILA, Philippines – Teen driver Bianca Bustamante continues to pave the way for Filipino Formula One racing hopefuls.
Bustamante made history as the 18-year-old F1 Academy racer became the first female to join the McLaren Driver Development program, the British team announced on Wednesday, October 18.
“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,” said Bustamante in a released statement from McLaren.
“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.”
Bustamante first made waves in the world stage of motorsports when she joined F1 Academy’s Prema Racing last February and won her first title in Valencia, Spain last May.
Before that, the Laguna native competed in the W Series and claimed the top rookie honors in her single-seater debut in 2022.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity as I believe I now have the best possible development structure around me to take the next step up in my career, and for this I am so thankful,” she said.
Bustamante said she aims to “establish consistency” and improve her mental strength in her bid for another title run in the 2024 F1 Academy season.
“I’ve never been more motivated in my life,” she said.
Emanuele Pirro, director of the McLaren Racing Driver Development and former Formula 1 driver, welcomed Bustamante’s addition.
“She’s a promising young talent who has a brilliant work ethic and is aligned closely to our team’s values,” said Pirro. – Rappler.com