The BWT Alpine F1 Team made history with a historic test drive around Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The massive roar of the V8-powered E20 vehicle driven by a Saudi F1 driver Aseel Al Hamad and Alpine Academy affiliate riders Abby Pulling, echoed through the city. They made history by being the first women to drive an F1 car in Saudi Arabia.
Abbi Pulling, who will be racing in the W Series this year, joined Aseel for the test. Abbi is a member of the Alpine Affiliate Program, the Alpine Academy’s junior program. It offers up-and-coming motorsport talent with skills ranging through to F1 advice on career paths, media training, nutrition and psychology. Abbi, who is 19, got her first taste of Formula 1 gear at this test run, which took place just a day before her birthday.
Aseel and Abbi traveled the E20 via some of the kingdom’s biggest attractions including Wadi Hanifah in the medieval city of Diriyah, courtesy of the Saudi Tourism Authority. Together the two drivers underscored that opportunities are being created for and by women in racing and in the UK and the future looks bright for the next generation of aspiring drivers.
What do these storied women from Saudi Arabia have to say about their experiences?
When asked about her historical experience, Aseel Al Hamad replied: “It was nice to be racing with the BWT Alpine F1 Team again and even more special to do so in my country of Saudi Arabia and my hometown of Riyadh. I hope this inspires more generations to fall in love with Formula 1 and more women to consider motorsport as a future career. I was super lucky to meet Abbi, a lovely girl with a lot of ambition and an incredible passion for racing. It shows that girls with enough drive can become professional racers.”
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Aseel also stressed the importance of them showing examples to show future generations that it is entirely possible, regardless of one’s gender, as long as they are able to show their talent. The Saudi driver hopes to see more such drivers on the podiums in the future.
When asked the same question, Abbi Pulling, 19, replied: “I had my first experience with an F1 car last weekend and it was everything I expected and more. I started racing when I was eight years old with the aim of getting into Formula 1 and I’m so glad I’ve come a step closer. It is very important for the industry to encourage and support young, female talent to achieve their ambitions.” She also thanked Alpine Academy for giving her the chance to be part of something so groundbreaking.
Also read: McLaren announces a brand new partnership extension ahead of the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP
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