Abbi Pulling is in the early stages of her motorsport career, but as she prepares for the launch of the all-female Formula 1 spin-off this weekend, the Lincolnshire racer has her sights set on legacy.
Across the world of sport, we have seen countless inspirational women breaking barriers and daring to etch their name in the history books – but the motorsport chapter is often seen as a bit of a closed book.
There hasn’t been a female racer on a Formula 1 grid since the 1970s, and an exciting new all-female racing series is offering talented women the chance to put their name on the map.
Formula 1 Academy will see a new that will see 15 women compete across five teams in seven rounds of racing all over the world.
Lincolnshire has a prospect who shows the signs of being ready to become a legend in the industry.
Abbi Pulling, from Spalding, is just 20 years old, but she already has a list of career accomplishments which would impress many.
Since starting in karting as a nine-year-old, Abbi has risen through the ranks of motorsport to become one of the standout female stars.
A sixth-placed finish in the 2020 British Formula 4 standings, followed by seventh and fourth-placed finishes in the 2021 and 2022 W-Series have brought her to the Formula 1 Academy to race for Rodin Carlin, and she has not looked back.
A year ago she was brought into the Alpine Academy driver programme, which scouts potential future talent for the Alpine Formula 1 team – currently driven by globally-known stars Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.
In two of the pre-season testing days for the Academy, she claimed the top spot on the timesheets – cementing her spot as one of the outright favourites for the championship this year.
Speaking to the Formula 1 Academy website after testing, Abbi said: “I am working hard myself and the team is pushing me and seeing where we can find a little bit extra in the car so I think we are in a really good place now.”
Lights out for the first race of the season will take place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Saturday, April 29 – with three races taking place on the day between 10.45am and 5.50pm.
Drivers will race around circuits in Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands across the season, before the grand finale in Austin, Texas this September.
Formula 1 will subsidise the cost of each car and allocate budgets of £130,000 each, while drivers are expected to match that total with their own sponsorship and funding backing.
Sir Lewis Hamilton broke countless boundaries as he emerged on the Formula 1 scene, becoming the first person of colour to compete in an F1 race. He has gone on to win more races than anyone in history, and is tied with the great Michael Schumacher for the most world championship titles (seven).
With Hamilton serving as an example of the importance of sporting inclusion for all, can Lincolnshire’s Abbi Pulling fly the flag for women in a sport that has been male-dominated for far too long?
Only time will tell, but the signs certainly look promising for the Spalding-born hopeful.
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