F4: Bianca Bustamante debuts in Formula 4 Italian Championship

Nina Angela Mikaela Cruz. ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2023 12:58 AM | Updated as of May 28 2023 02:40 AM

Bianca Bustamante debuted in the Formula 4 Italian Championship's Round 3 on Saturday (Philippine time). 

Bustamante was on a one-off participation in the series as substitute for fellow Prema driver Aurelia Corine Nobels, who suffered a broken wrist in the previous round. 

Bustamante recently made history as the first Filipina to win a Formula 1 Academy race. She is signed for a full year in this series under Prema Racing. 

“We are also delighted to welcome Bustamante for this event. She has been impressive in the F1 Academy Championship and we think that this experience will definitely benefit her,” Prema team principal Angelo Rosin said in a statement. 

The 18-year-old rising star finished P26 at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps in Belgium during the first race of Round 3 of the Italian racing series, according to the provisional results available on the ACI Sport website. 

Bustamante qualified P28 out of 31 competing drivers in the Race 1 of this round, which later turned out to be both disastrous and bizarre.

A monstrous crash involving Viktoria Blokhina and Guido Luchetti in the early lap of the first race of the weekend caused a red flag, which called for a race restart. 

Both drivers were reported fine but were unable to participate in the race do-over. 

The new race time was 23 minutes and 20 seconds plus 1 lap. 

It was initially announced that the original grid lineup would be followed for the restart, but eventually they implemented the car positions as they were on lap 2 after the crash, causing confusion. 

Bustamante started P28 out of 29 drivers left and was able to gain two positions for the remainder of the race that was largely spent under a safety car. 

The race was red flagged again with just a little over a minute left on the clock due to a collision between Davide Larini and Ruiqi Liu.

Due to time restraints, the race was not restarted. 

Meanwhile, a fellow Filipino on the grid Zachary David under the US Racing team flourished with a P2 finish in this round. This was his third podium finish so far in this season. 

Live streams of Races 2 and 3 will be available on the Italian F4 Championship YouTube channel at 4:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m., respectively.