Bianca Bustamante became the first female driver to join the McLaren Driver Development scheme today. For the 2024 season, Bianca will also race for McLaren by putting the team’s logo on her F1 Academy car.
Bianca, an 18-year-old from the Philippines, is a promising female motorsport athlete who has been racing since she was five years old and has won several karting titles across Asia.
As of now, Bianca has raced in the W Series, the Formula 4 UAE Championship, the Italian Formula 4, the USF Juniors, and most recently, the 2023 F1 Academy Season. This season, she has won two races and finished in the top three twice. The United States Grand Prix in Austin is the last race in the 2023 series.
Emanuele Pirro is in charge of the McLaren Driver Development plan that Bianca will be a part of. This will add her to the team’s talent pipeline, whose main goal is to help drivers get to Formula 1, IndyCar, and Formula E.
Cisco is going to become a primary partner of the McLaren F1 Academy scheme. Cisco is a world leader in security, video communication, and business networking technology. Since 2021, it has been an Official Partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team. The F1 Academy relationship builds on Cisco’s work with McLaren on the 60 Scholars program, which helps women get into STEM careers. As part of the multi-year deal, Bianca Bustamante’s race car, dungarees, and team kit will all have Cisco logos on them.
Bianca will race with ART Grand Prix for McLaren in the 2024 F1 Academy season.
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The director of McLaren Racing Driver Development, Emanuele Pirro, said:
“I am happy that Bianca has decided to join our Driver Development program.” She’s a young, talented person who has a great work attitude and shares the values of our team. Bianca and I are excited to work together to help her improve as a race car driver. The fact that Bianca will be racing for the team in the F1 Academy series is also great news. We can’t wait to see her in Papaya in 2024.
Andrea Stella, Leader of the McLaren F1 Team, said:
“The team is thrilled that Bianca has joined us and that McLaren is taking part in F1 Academy.” We believe it’s important to have a diverse and welcoming team, so we’re glad to be a big part of Formula 1’s work to make motorsports more gender diverse. We’re also excited to see Bianca grow and move up in the McLaren Racing Driver Development scheme with Emanuele’s help.
Bianca Bustamante, a driver for the F1 Academy and McLaren, said:
“It’s hard to believe that I’ve signed with McLaren and ART Grand Prix. When I was growing up racing karts in the Philippines, this would never have occurred to me.” When I see my name next to McLaren, I still get emotional because of the team’s past and heritage.
“I’m so thankful for this chance because I think I now have the best development structure to take the next step in my career. Thank you so much for this.” I showed that I could improve my speed in several races this year, but my goal for 2024 is to be more consistent and mentally stronger so that I can fight for the title in the next F1 Academy season.
“Right now, my goal is to finish the F1 Academy season strong here in Austin. Then, we’ll get right to work on the 2024 season.” I’ve never been more driven in my past! Susie Wolff and the rest of the team at F1 Academy deserve a lot of praise for all they do to help kids like us and give us the chance to do our best. I also want to thank Zak Brown, Andrea Stella, Emanuele Pirro, Sebastian Philippe, my sponsors, and everyone who has helped me because they believed in me and made this possible. Thank you so much, and I promise to give it my all.
The senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Cisco, Carrie Palin, said:
“Our goal is to always align our brand with programs that promote diversity and are in line with Cisco’s mission to power a future where everyone feels welcome.” We were excited to grow our relationship with McLaren Racing through the McLaren F1 Academy program and help Bianca as she works to create more chances for women in motorsports. No question, she will be an inspiration to many people around the world. We will be cheering her on as she runs.