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Bianca Bustamante becomes first female to join McLaren Driver Development Program

Bianca Bustamante: The First Female Driver In McLaren’s Development Program

Signing with McLaren is already a dream come true for Bianca Bustamante, and it is also a huge leap for her goals as a racer.

When The GAME visited Filipina racer Bianca Bustamante in her Dubai paddock when she was racing in the 2023 UAE F4 Championship in February, she proudly revealed her ultimate dream: “I want to be the first female driver in Formula 1 in my era.”

Since then, she has gone on to take bold steps in that direction — she entered the inaugural F1 Academy season with PREMA Racing and notched her first two race wins. Now, she has taken an even bigger step, making history as a Filipina on the international racing scene.

Bianca Bustamante is now part of the McLaren Racing Family!

At just 18 years old, the Filipina has made history, as she is the first female driver to join the McLaren Driver Development program. With the support of the British team, she will be continuing her career in the F1 Academy, this time, representing McLaren’s signature papaya colors — which just so happens to be Bianca’s favorite color.

Bianca Bustamante joins McLaren Driver Development Program for F1 Academy
Bianca Bustamante joins McLaren Driver Development Program for F1 Academy

“Every single event I went to — F1, Formula E, INDYCAR — I was always with McLaren,” she shared on a social media post by McLaren. “I wasn’t expecting this opportunity to come about, that I would actually be part of the team.”

“I am so happy to be joining the papaya family,” she expressed.

This historic news comes just before the final weekend of the first-ever F1 Academy season taking place in Austin, which will mark her final race with Italian team PREMA Racing. She is currently in seventh place in the driver’s championship standings, having recorded 102 points. Her performances in the seven-round season have certainly caught the eyes of other rival teams, and she is now set for a change of pace (literally).

Now that she has signed with McLaren, in next year’s F1 Academy, she will be racing under ART Grand Prix.

Bianca’s move to McLaren is not just a big moment for her as a driver. On top of this, becoming the first female driver in their Development Program is also a huge sign of the progress the racing scene has witnessed in recent years, providing more opportunities for female racers.

This takes Bianca Bustamante closer and closer to her dream of entering Formula 1.

Banner image from McLaren on Facebook.


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