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Filipino F1 racer Bianca Bustamante makes history as first female to join McLaren

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 19, 2023 10:54 am

Filipino Formula One racer Bianca Bustamante made history as the first female to join the McLaren Driver Development Program, the British team's program that helps young racers advance to prestigious motorsport tournaments worldwide.

Bustamante, who hails from Laguna, will wear the team's iconic orange while representing the ART Grand Prix in the 2024 F1 Academy, the all-female single-seater formula racing championship.

“This is such an unreal moment in my career," the 18-year-old said in a statement, "to sign with McLaren and ART Grand Prix is way beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined growing up racing karts in the Philippines."

“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," she added.

Emanuele Piro, the program's director who's a former F1 driver, said they're pleased with Bustamante's addition as she's "a promising young talent who has a brilliant work ethic and is aligned closely to our team’s values."

"I look forward to working with Bianca on her development as a racing driver," Piro said. "We’re also excited for Bianca to be representing the team in the F1 Academy series and we look forward to seeing her race in papaya in 2024."

Bustamante made international headlines when she joined F1 Academy's PREMA Racing in February and won her first title in Valencia, Spain last May.

The McLaren Driver Development Program has produced the likes of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.