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The Wins In F1 Academy This Weekend

From Netflix and Vogue to first podiums and absolute domination, here are all the success stories from Round 2 of F1 Academy.

This weekend F1 Academy joined Formula 1 at the Miami Grand Prix. It was a spectacular weekend at the second round of the 2024 F1 Academy season, with Netflix deals, Vogue deals and driver domination all making the headlines.

Netflix, Hello Sunshine and F1 Academy

Netflix has been showing the behind-the-scenes action of Formula 1 since 2019 with the docuseries Formula 1: Drive To Survive. F1 Academy will get its own spotlight, with the F1 Academy docuseries set to launch on the world’s leading entertainment service Netflix UK in collaboration with Hello Sunshine in 2025.

“We started Hello Sunshine to change the narrative for women, and [managing director] Susie Wolff and F1 Academy are doing just that by creating new opportunities in the thrilling world of motorsport. As these dynamic and fearless drivers break barriers behind the wheel, we are excited to partner with Netflix to tell the stories of these powerhouse leaders. What we know is that when we put women at the centre, people show up to watch.” – Hello Sunshine’s Reese Witherspoon.

Hello Sunshine is an American media company founded by actress Reese Witherspoon, ‘a team with many perspectives and a shared vision to change the narrative for women through story’. Projects of the media company include the Netflix series From Scratch and the movie adaptation of the book Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

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“We want to be the rocket fuel that drives female participation in our sport, both on and off the track. To have the F1 Academy docuseries launch globally with Netflix is not just a huge step forward in visibility for our mission, but also a resounding statement about the momentum and demand for women’s sport. We want to inspire and empower the next generation of young women, and Netflix will open up F1 Academy to a global audience of existing and future fans.” – F1 Academy managing director Susie Wolff.

This is a great achievement for F1 Academy, as this will widen the sport’s audience. Exposure for drivers will be great not only for their careers but also inspire other young girls and women to believe that there is space for them even in the male-dominated world of motorsports.

Bianca Bustamante, Vogue, a brilliant comeback and a podium

McLaren junior driver and ART Grand Prix driver Bianca Bustamante spoke with Vogue on her road to F1 Academy, her life outside of racing and her ambitions in life.

“I was always the only girl—in Asia particularly, because of the culture. There’s a big lack of representation for women in sport in Asia—especially in motorsport—so everything was a battle. To get on the track was a battle, to afford to race was a battle—and that’s all before you get to the actual racing, which is another battle. But I saw a certain beauty early on in the fact that I got to be as feminine as I could be and still be as fast as I could be on track—and that my being a girl racing against boys would never affect my performance or who I am. When you’re on track and you have that helmet on, nothing really divides you—man or woman, male or female didn’t matter: I saw them as competitors, and I hope that they saw the same in me.” – F1 Academy driver Bianca Bustamante.

This is yet another great achievement for women in motorsports. Often in media, it is the boys and men of the racing world that get all the attention. The narrative is finally beginning to change, as now we’re seeing these women drivers being rightfully celebrated.

Vogue was not Bustamante’s only achievement this weekend. At the Miami Grand Prix this past weekend, Bustamante made quite the impression on track. For Race 1, the Filipina driver started the race in P4. Unfortunately, she stalled at the start, leaving her at the back of the pack. Bustamante however had an amazing recovery drive, crossing the finish line in P7. She however lost that position as she received a  5-second penalty for going off track and gaining an advantage a few laps earlier. This demoted her to P9.

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As for Race 2, Bustamante started in P2. She didn’t stall this time around, and comfortably held on to P2 ahead of Doriane Pin until the chequered flag. This marks Bustamante’s first podium of the season. Her pace was strong the entire weekend. She will definitely be one to watch in Round 2 in Spain come June.

Haas’ first-ever podium and an Abbi Pulling masterclass

American driver Chloe Chambers had a weekend to never forget. After starting Race 1 in P7, the Campos Racing driver climbed her way up the grid to cross the finish line in P3. The F1 Academy driver gave the Haas F1 team their first-ever podium.

As for Alpine junior driver Abbi Pulling, the Miami GP was hers for the taking. It was P2 and P1 for Pulling in Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 respectively. Her pace was stellar for the remaining sessions. Pulling gracefully earned P1 in Qualifying 1, Qualifying 2, Race 1 and Race 2.

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