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Bianca Bustamante finishes 7th in first F1 Academy season

October 23 ------ Filipina driver Bianca Bustamante capped off her race in F1 Academy’s inaugural season in seventh place. Bustamante had her own share of highs and lows, but the young driver already cemented herself in the motorsport’s history after achieving milestones throughout the seven rounds of the all-female single-seater formula racing championship.

The 18-year-old race star from Laguna started off strong during the first race of round 1 held in Spielberg, Austria where she clinched the second-best podium position. However, she only managed to capture P9 in race 2 while she had difficulty starting in race 3. Round 2 in Valencia, Spain saw Bustamante making headlines as she made history as the first Filipina to win an F1 Academy race during the reverse-order grid in second race. She was able to stay within points during both the first and last race after finishing P5 and P7, respectively.

Barcelona, Spain was a near-miss for another podium placement for Bustamante who settled for P4 in race 1. She finished P14 in the second race and slightly improved to get minimum points in race 3 after placing 10th among the grid. Bustamante was within the points in all races of round 4 in Zandvoort, Netherlands, where she clinched P10, P8, and P5, respectively. She made history anew in the iconic Monza circuit in Italy. The Philippine anthem once again was played in the international racing competition following Bustamante’s brilliant driving that got her the highest podium during the last race in this round.

Preluding her second victory was her P2 finish in race 2 which sealed her first and only back-to-back podium finish this season. This had been a 180-degree comeback after she figured in a dangerous crash during the first race where she credited the car’s “halo” for saving her life. The second to the last round in Le Castellet, France probably was the least celebratory round for Bustamante as she failed to score any points across all three races given her P13, P10, and P14 results, respectively. The concluding round of the tournament’s 2023 season took place in Austin, United States. Bustamante got promoted to P4 from P5 in the first race while she took home P7 in the second race. Race 3 saw Bustamante settle for P13 after a collision in the last minutes of the 12-lap Circuit of the Americas.

Bustamante has secured another racing year with F1 Academy in 2024 where she will represent ART Grand Prix while hitting the tracks with the McLaren’s iconic papaya livery. Bustamante also made history as the first female driver to be inducted to the McLaren Driver Development program.



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