18-Year-Old Bianca Bustamante to Compete in First Race for F1 Academy Series This Weekend

18-year-old racing driver Bianca Bustamante will be among the 15 females to compete in the inaugural F1 Academy series, Formula 1’s all-female series. The opening round of the much-awaited series is scheduled to be held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria from April 28th to 29th. Driving for the highly acclaimed Italian team PREMA Racing in this seven-round racing series, Bustamante and the other drivers will be competing in the Tatuus F4-T421 chassis, which has been designed to be unique for the F1 Academy.

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After a month and a half of rigorous training leading up to the first race, Bustamante is ready to showcase what she has worked on at the first race weekend of F1 Academy. To prepare her for the various circuits throughout Europe, Bustamante has been training at the PREMA facility in Vicenza, Italy with an ample amount of time on their simulator. The team has put her through extensive physical training and tested her mettle via the team’s intricately designed driver training program. Furthermore, Bustamante has spent several weekends working on her strength, mental focus, dexterity, and reactions, visiting 321 Perform training center in Haute-Savoie, France – an institute dedicated to improving driver and human performance.

“The day I stepped into the PREMA facility my immediate thought was, ‘I’m home.’ I have learned so much throughout the two months of intensive training with such an amazing team – but of course, there is plenty more to learn as it’s only the start of the season,” said Bustamante. “Training is tough – regardless of whether it’s physical or mental – but I am grateful that I discovered things about myself that I didn’t even know. From seemingly impossible upper body exercises to psychological evaluations to assess my strengths and weaknesses, PREMA certainly equipped me well to face my next racing challenge.”

Bustamante attended F1 Academy’s first pre-season test alongside her competitors from April 11th to 12th at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is also where the series’ third round will be held. The drivers then took to Circuit Paul Ricard a week later for a second round of testing over two days. Throughout these sessions, Bustamante made gains, showed pace, and was consistently on the sharp end of driver timings. Being exposed to these tracks early on in the series allows her to familiarise herself with the circuits and gives the essential seat time to get to grips with the new PREMA machinery. The team ran various testing programs to simulate long and short runs, helping them find the ideal set-up for Bustamante to extract the maximum from the Tatuus F4 car.

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Bustamante’s opportunity to drive in the F1 Academy for PREMA Racing has been made possible through the continued support of Lance East Office, the family office of gaming and tech entrepreneur Laurence Escalante.

Follow this weekend’s race and stay updated through the official F1 Academy website.

(ALSO READ: Filipina Racer Bianca Bustamante Enters Formula 1 Academy, the New All-Female Racing Championship)

F1 Academy Round 1 Schedule
All race times are in Philippine time

28th April 2023 (Friday)
Free Practice 1: 2:15 – 2:55 PM
Free Practice 2: 4:40 – 5:20 PM
Qualifying 1: 9:10 – 9:25 PM
Qualifying 2: 9:30 – 9:45 PM

29th April 2023 (Saturday)
Race 1: 4:45 – 5:15 PM
Race 2: 8:05 – 8:25 PM
Race 3: 11:20 – 11:50 PM

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