In a groundbreaking move, 18-year-old Filipina driver Bianca Bustamante has become the first female racer to join the McLaren Driver Development Programme, marking a significant milestone for women in motorsport. Representing McLaren in the 2024 F1 Academy season, Bianca will proudly display the team’s livery on her race car, signaling a new era of inclusivity and talent in Formula 1.

Bianca, hailing from the Philippines, has been immersed in motorsport since the age of five, clinching multiple karting championships across Asia. Her impressive track record includes competitions in W Series, Formula 4 UAE Championship, Italian Formula 4, USF Juniors, and the 2023 F1 Academy Season, where she earned two wins and two podiums leading into the final round at the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Under the guidance of Emanuele Pirro, Director of McLaren Racing Driver Development, Bianca joins McLaren’s talent pipeline, aiming to nurture her skills towards Formula 1, IndyCar, and Formula E. The inclusion of Cisco as an Official Primary Partner enhances this collaboration, promoting diversity and women in STEM career pathways.

Bianca Bustamante expressed her gratitude and determination: “This is such an unreal moment in my career, signing with McLaren and ART Grand Prix. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I believe I have the best possible development structure around me to take the next step in my career. My aim is to establish consistency and improve my mental strength to make a title challenge in the coming F1 Academy season. A big thanks to Susie Wolff, Zak Brown, and everyone who believed in me. I am full of gratitude and promise to give it my all.”

Carrie Palin, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, shared her excitement: “We are proud to support Bianca as she paves new opportunities for women in motorsports. The McLaren F1 Academy program aligns perfectly with Cisco’s mission to power an inclusive future for all. We have no doubt that Bianca will be an inspiration to many around the world.”

Asian Motorsport is thrilled to witness Bianca Bustamante’s journey with McLaren and her participation in the F1 Academy series. We celebrate her achievements and the strides made towards a more inclusive motorsport landscape. Stay tuned to Asian Motorsport as we follow Bianca and other talented Asian racers in their pursuits on the global stage.


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