Rookie season off to a stellar start with 9th place finish in Race 1
Bustamante shows consistent progress and growth throughout weekend
Strong support from Filipino fans at Miami F1 weekend
The 2022 W Series season officially got underway last weekend with the first 2 out of 10 races being held at the brand new Miami International Autodrome. It was a spectacular weekend, with thousands of fans pouring in for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix as motorsport interest continues to rapidly grow in the USA. The 17-year-old Filipino driver, Bianca Bustamante officially made her debut in the W Series Academy car, and went on to score points in her very first race in the championship. With this race being only her 3rd ever race weekend, the goal was to complete all sessions and gain experience in the W Series F3 car, in which she exceeded all expectation with continual growth and development in each session. The weekend started with the one and only practice session on Friday. Bustamante went out on track for the first time and clocked in 12 laps in her new purple W Series Academy Team Tatuus F3 T-318. She made consistent progress on every lap, learning the best racing line around the Miami street circuit and gaining confidence as the track rubbered in. Being part of the W Series Academy, she had dedicated engineers and mechanics that studied her data around the track to give her feedback on how to improve. Things started heating up on Saturday as the drivers got ready for the all-important qualifying session, as that would dictate the starting position in both races. With all 18 cars on track, Bustamante struggled to get a clean lap in, having to deal with traffic and navigate her way through her first ever W Series qualifying session. The young racer was left disappointed as she was unable to show her ultimate pace, with a lap time of 2:00.385 only good enough for P17. Starting from the last row, it was all to play for in Race 1. She had a lightning start and put herself immediately up to P13. The 30 minute race was action packed, and the main focus for Bustamante was to fight hard but keep it clean and bring the car home. She managed her tires extremely well and made steady progress to eventually finish in P11. Post race penalties moved her up to P9, which meant that she scored 2 important world championship points in her very first race weekend. In Race 2 on Sunday, Bustamante started from P17 once again and showed her ability to get off the line, passing 4 cars immediately. She had some hard fought battles on the track including setting her fastest lap of the race weekend. Unfortunately, she was hit by another competitor in the closing stages of the race, locking up and flat-spotting her tires causing her to lose out on another spot and eventually come home in P14. Overall, it was a milestone of a weekend for Bustamante, making her professional Formula 3 debut and scoring points as well. Her team engineers and coach helped her make inroads and get familiar to the W Series car. She was greeted by an overwhelming contingent of Filipino fans based in the USA, coming out in numbers to show their support. She is heading to Barcelona next week for the round 2 of W Series, scheduled to be held on the 20th to 21st of May.
Bianca Bustamante | Driver, #9 of W Series Academy Team
“What a weekend it has been! It’s honestly been surreal to have completed my debut in W Series. To be racing alongside Formula 1 is like a dream come true and I am so happy to have completed a clean race weekend. We made considerable progress and accomplished our goals in every session. I felt more and more confident as the weekend went on and to have scored points in Race 1 was just amazing. There’s still a lot to work on and I am going to keep striving to fight at the top. I realized there is much more needed than just driving fast to win, and I’m looking forward to keep up the strong learning curve. The season is long and I am excited for Barcelona already. Miami was incredible, I can’t wait to be back here next year and thanks to all the fans that came out to support, it was so touching to see so many Filipino flags all around the circuit!”