April 25, 2024

Future is female: History-maker Bianca Bustamante tears up after getting McLaren uniform

Future is female: History-maker Bianca Bustamante tears up after getting McLaren uniform
Instagram/Bianca Bustamante

The future is indeed female.

On Thursday, it was announced by Formula One (F1) team McLaren the landmark signing of Filipina racer Bianca Bustamante. She made history by becoming the first female added to the team's development program.

The 18-year-old Bustamante, who's currently driving for Prema Racing in the inaugural season of the F1 Academy, said joining McLaren was a childhood dream since she's always been a fan of the team.

Understandably, the significance of the milestone won't be fully appreciated by Filipinos. At least for now. F1 isn't huge in the country, unlike in other nations. But we're here to stress the fact that Bustamante's latest achievement is huge. Like THIS HUGE. 

F1 is one of the most prestigious sports events in the world (even kings and queens watch it!) and has a rich history dating back to the 1950s. McLaren is one of its most storied franchises. 

Bustamante is a big deal. She is important. She deserves every bit of our attention. No other Filipino, regardless of gender, has made it this big in the motorsports scene. Although she's still years away from possibly racing in an F1 grand prix and make more history, the fact that she was picked up by McLaren for its development program is already worth celebrating. 

RELATED STORY: Bianca Bustamante raises Philippine flag at F1 Academy

On Friday, the speedster from Laguna posted on Instagram a video of her receiving her McLaren uniform. Of course, she got deeply emotional.

"Putting on my McLaren team shirt for the very first time was a very special moment. So many thoughts and emotions came to me. All the struggles and trials my family and I had to battle through, the support from so many people to help me get here, the community of race fans cheering me on, and the history and prominence that McLaren represents," wrote Bustamante.

She is the latest among the growing list of Filipina athletes making history on the global stage in recent years, following the likes of Hidilyn Diaz, Yuka Saso, the Philippine women's football team, Alex Eala, and Meggie Ochoa, among others. 

ALSO READ: Filipina athletes you really need to pay more attention to

"It’s really hard to describe this moment but I couldn’t fight back my tears. It’s one step closer to my dreams, but still such a long way to go. Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart. I promise to give it my all. I will not waste this opportunity," added Bustamante.

She has two wins and two podium finishes in the F1 Academy heading into the final race in Austin this Sunday.