Filipino teen scores first championship points competing in 40-car grid
Bustamante skills put to test against top international talents
18-year-old sets focus on upcoming F1 Academy with PREMA Racing
Young Filipino racing driver Bianca Bustamante has concluded her first full winter series of 2023 with PREMA Racing at the Formula 4 UAE Championship, where she secured her best-ever race finish and first championship points. The 18-year-old overcame numerous challenges over the course of 5 racing rounds in the Middle East to come away with 2 top-10 finishes amongst a 40-car grid - an incredible feat for someone who has only just started competing on the international stage. Bustamante continues to build upon her impressive growth following her rookie season in open-wheel cars in 2022 and now sets her eyes on preparation for the upcoming F1 Academy. Solid progress and first points The Formula 4 UAE Championship attracts rising talent from across the globe, including drivers from the Ferrari, Sauber and McLaren Driver Academies among others, and is widely recognised as an integral step on the path to Formula 1. This year’s series was held over 5 rounds, with each consisting of 3 races along with testing, practice and qualifying sessions in Dubai, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. Going head-to-head against nearly 40 of the best young male and female drivers in the world, Bustamante has already shown significant improvement in her first winter series. The teenager made consistent gains since her debut in 2022 and, with increased track time, continued to gain confidence in her Tatuus F4 T421 car. Her ability to overcome challenges was evident, as she demonstrated a flair for racing, making a flurry of bold overtakes throughout the Championship series and matching the pace of more experienced competitors despite starting further back in the grid. The multiple Asian Karting champion is taking a big step forward, as she pushes her limits to find more pace in the PREMA F4 car. Her progress eventually secured her first Championship point with a P10 finish in Round 3 - only to go one further to score a P9 in the subsequent Round 4. Gearing up for F1 Academy For Bustamante, this winter series serves as an essential precursor to her upcoming F1 Academy season, a brand-new all-female junior championship launched by Formula 1 set to debut in 2023. She is focused on improving her racecraft with PREMA, a historic team that has years of rich experience in junior category racing and young driver development. This year will see Bustamante spend more time behind the wheel, with increased opportunities for testing and more races, which will be monumental for her growth. Bustamante’s journey towards her Formula 1 goal would not be possible without the support of her partners, Lance East Exotics, Z Challenger and Next Level Racing alongside the unwavering backing of the BiaCrew and The Dark Horse Community.
Bianca Bustamante | Race Driver, PREMA
“What an incredible few weeks it has been in the Middle East. Despite all the challenges and tough competition, we were able to dig deep and come home with our first points in F4 UAE! I have had an absolutely amazing time with PREMA so far and in a short time, I learned so much. Huge thanks to them for the amazing car and incredible team environment that allowed me to have some of the best races of my career - I love the challenge and battling in such a tough grid of drivers. The team structure has been pivotal in my growth so far and there is still so much to learn. Thank you to everyone who has been a pillar of support for me every step of the way. The F4 UAE has prepared me well for my main program coming up in the F1 Academy, I cannot wait to get started!”