McLaren has made a groundbreaking announcement that has sent ripples through the motorsports world. The Formula 1 team has chosen to throw its weight behind 18-year-old sensation Bianca Bustamante in the upcoming second season of the all-female F1 Academy. This strategic move marks McLaren as the first Formula 1 team to unveil its chosen driver for the highly anticipated 2024 season.

Bianca Bustamante has been turning heads with her impressive performance in the ongoing F1 Academy season, where she currently sits in seventh place among a talented pool of 15 drivers. Her journey began in 2022 when she made her debut in single-seater racing, and she also gained valuable experience by competing in the final year of the prestigious W Series, where she secured a 15th-place finish with a solitary points-scoring race.

Bianca Bustamante

Notably, Bustamante’s inclusion in McLaren’s driver development program, led by the esteemed five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro, is a historic moment. It underscores McLaren’s commitment to fostering diversity and talent within the motorsports world.


Andrea Stella, McLaren’s F1 team boss, expressed the team’s elation at having Bustamante join their ranks, while the young driver herself described the opportunity as “unreal.” She conveyed her profound gratitude for the chance to be associated with a team of McLaren’s calibre, recognizing the rich history and heritage linked to the McLaren brand. For her, this moment is nothing short of a dream come true.

F1 Academy

Looking ahead to the 2024 F1 Academy season, Bustamante has set her sights on establishing consistency and fortifying her mental resilience. Her objective is clear: to mount a serious challenge for the championship title. With McLaren’s support and the top-notch development structure surrounding her, she believes she is in the best possible position to realize her ambitions.

For the upcoming season, Bustamante will make a switch from Prema to the renowned ART Grand Prix team, a decision that promises to add another layer of excitement to her journey.

It’s worth noting that each F1 Academy team currently fields three cars, and the level of involvement each Formula 1 team has in their respective driver’s journey extends beyond the distinctive livery and branding, making this endeavour all the more intriguing.


While McLaren has led the charge in announcing its 2024 driver, fans and enthusiasts eagerly await similar announcements from other Formula 1 teams. Ferrari, for instance, has already thrown its support behind 16-year-old Brazilian talent Aurelia Nobles and intends to further bolster its ranks with another promising female junior driver before the year’s end. Similarly, Alpine boasts the promising Abbi Pulling within its F1 Academy, along with an impressive roster of six female karting talents as part of its Rac(H)er program.

The inaugural F1 Academy season has seen Marta Garcia emerge as the standout contender for the title. With a commanding 48-point lead over her closest rival, Lena Buhler, and 64 points still up for grabs, Garcia’s journey from losing her Renault F1 junior status to her stellar performance with Prema underscores the spirit of resilience and determination that characterizes this groundbreaking series.

Female Drivers

In a move aimed at further nurturing young motorsport talents, the F1 Academy has recently unveiled a collaboration with the Champions of the Future karting series. This collaboration gives birth to the Champions of the Future Academy Programme, featuring three mixed-gender series. F1 Academy’s support for three drivers in each category ensures financial backing for participants. Moreover, the top three female drivers in the highest-tier karting category will earn the coveted opportunity to participate in an F1 Academy test, taking another step toward realizing their Formula 1 dream.

Driver Development and Talent Pipeline

As the motorsport world eagerly awaits the 2024 F1 Academy season, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on McLaren’s trailblazing decision to back Bianca Bustamante. This move not only reinforces McLaren’s commitment to diversity and talent development but also promises to inspire a new generation of aspiring female racers to dream big and aim high in the world of Formula 1. The stage is set for an exhilarating season, and the world will be watching as the talented drivers vie for supremacy on the track.


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