Bianca Bustamante leaving Miami with “no regrets” amid her first F1 Academy podium of the season

Photo Credit: F1 Academy
Spread the love

After stalling the start of Race 1 and dropping to the back of the grid, Bianca Bustamante’s weekend in Miami didn’t look too good, despite being able to fight her way back into points to claim P9, even with a penalty. However, the Filipina driver managed to turn the tables on Sunday in Race 2, finishing second and celebrating her 2024 F1 Academy maiden podium.

Qualifying in the front for Race 2, Bustamante kept Abbi Pulling within range initially, but fell behind the winner gradually throughout the race. Her biggest competition proved to be Mercedes Junior Doriane Pin, from whom the 19-year-old defended brilliantly and ultimately secured P2 for herself.

“I’m elated, obviously. We’ve been working really, really hard towards the season to get this podium,” Bustamante said post-race.

“We did everything we could to prepare for Miami, on the sim, on track, testing, working with the team. I was at MTC quite a lot prior to the race week, trying to make sure that I left Miami with no regrets. I’ve prepared, and I’ve done my work, so no regrets here.

“I feel like I’ve gotten my groove back, I had a really good start, I had a good launch. I nearly went for the lead, but I was too late and too deep, and I didn’t want to risk everything into T1.”

The Filipina is one of the most known drivers on the F1 Academy grid, whether thanks to her social media presence or thanks to being McLaren’s Developement Driver and representing the popular Formula 1 team in the all-female racing series.

Prior to this, she drove in W Series, Formula 4 UAE Championship, Italian F4 Championship and more categories. She also took part in the inaugural season of F1 Academy in 2023, partnering with PREMA Racing and finishing 7th in the championship. This year, she switched to the ART Grand Prix team and is determined to bring them more podiums.

With the next round of F1 Academy taking place in Barcelona, Bustamante aims to challenge the top drivers and the Drivers’ Championship leader Abbi Pulling herself.

“It’s a track that I know very well,” she said, referring to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. “Last year I was very quick, but I made a mistake and stalled, unfortunately. But that’s something I want to rewrite. We want to keep working with this momentum and hopefully be higher up in the standings in Barcelona.”

Bustamante is currently fifth in the overall standings with 39 points, only lacking 1 point on Chloe Chambers, sponsored by Haas, ahead of her in fourth and needing 60 points to catch Pulling on the top.