Bianca Bustamante is the first Filipina to race in W Series

If you have never heard of the W Series, you will now.

For the first time in its short three-year history, a Filipina will be racing in this Formula 1 support race. 17-year-old Bianca Bustamante was one of the nine rookie drivers selected after pre-season tests in Inde Motorsports Ranch (Arizona, USA) and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain). She beat 11 other drivers after three days, 2,342 laps, and 10,949 kilometers of racing.

Bianca called her first time on Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya “magical” and added that it wasn’t easy to adapt to a new car, new track, and new team.

“It was very technical and I had to learn it in a very short time, I found the final sector particularly challenging with the slow chicanes, but I'm really happy with my high-speed sectors even putting in a purple S1 in one of the sessions,” said Bustamante on her Instagram account.

Filipina earns seat in F1 support race image

She may not yet be legally allowed to buy alcoholic beverages in the Philippines, but she can definitely handle herself behind the wheel of a race car. Bustamante has been winning on the track since 2015 as the Bira Asian Karting Junior Champion. She is a three-time Philippine Driver of the Year Karting, two-time Philippine International Junior Karter of the Year, and won the Macao International Kart GP Championship and China Grand Prix Kart Scholarship in 2019.

“We are proud to announce that W Series will continue to join us at eight Formula 1 races in 2022. It has been incredible to witness the championship progress as we continue to champion diversity across motorsport, and it is exciting to see the series will visit five new venues next year, including its debut in Asia. We believe that it is extremely important to give everyone the opportunity to reach the highest levels of our sport, and our partnership with W Series continues to demonstrate our resolve in building greater diversity across Formula 1,” said Ross Brawn, Formula 1 Managing Director.

The W Series is a female-only single-seater racing championship launched in 2018. While it aims to promote women in motorsports and has been backed by David Coulthard and Adrian Newey, it has also received criticism from prominent drivers and motorsports personalities for segregating women instead of promoting inclusion to recognized races.

If you want to catch Bianca Bustamante in action, the 2022 W Series race schedule is as follows:

6-8 May               Miami, USA

20-22 May           Barcelona, Spain

1-3 July              Silverstone, UK

22-24 July           Le Castellet, France

29-31 July           Budapest, Hungary

7-9 October         Suzuka, Japan

21-23 October     Austin, USA (contract contingent)

28-30 October     Mexico City, Mexico