Abbi Pulling becomes first female racer in Alpine Academy
W Series star Abbi Pulling becomes the first woman in the Alpine F1 Team's Academy, as she joins the brand-new Affiliate programme - in the French brand's quest to discover the racing stars of tomorrow.
Alpine F1 Team revealed its new plan to recruit up-and-coming stars of the future with the creation of the Alpine Affiliates programme, which will be part of the Alpine Academy.
Among its new recruits is W Series racer Abbi Pulling, 18.
Pulling is highly regarded as one of the most exciting talents in the all-female championship and joins the F1-affiliated programme after only two seasons in single-seater: a multiple-time karting champion in the UK, the young driver made her debut in British F4 in 2020, claiming podium finishes and marginally missing out on her first win after a really strong campaign.
Pulling started a fruitful collaboration with fellow W Series driver Alice Powell, who has been coaching young talents from karting up to feeder series alongside her racing career. Under Powell's mentorship, Pulling had a quick development and impressed in the 2021 pre-season tests in W Series - which would grant her a reserve driver role.
She had in fact committed to a second full season in British F4, aiming for the title; funding issues, though, left the young promising talent without a seat mid-way through the season and she was picked up by W Series for the home race at Silverstone. In W Series debut, Pulling showed signs of brilliance and scored points at the British GP. She did even better at Zandvoort - and ultimately wrote her name among the female stars of the sport at the season finale at COTA, when she clinched a pole position and a second place, gaining automatic entry to the following season with only half of the races under her belt.
At last week's W Series collective tests in Barcelona, Pulling was announced as part of the Racing X line up for the 2022 season.
Abbi Pulling and Alice Powell have been training at the Alpine facility and now the teenager officially joins the F1 team stable in the Affiliate role - becoming the first woman in the French brand's Academy.
The program will offer its young drivers professional support at a crucial stage of their careers, including but not limited to career advice, training, mentoring, PR training and more. The Alpine Affiliates will also have the chance to use the world-class facilities on offer at the Academy’s headquarters in Enstone.
Pulling is joined by FRECA driver Hadrien David, F4 Spain's Nikola Tsolov and karters Kean Nakamura and Matheus Ferreira.
“We are very excited to announce our Alpine Affiliates programme which will work alongside the Academy from this year" - commented Mia Sharizman, Director of the Alpine Academy "The programme will help provide young racing drivers across the world with crucial support, career advice and training."
"We have five young drivers entering the programme this year as we welcome Abbi, Hadrien, Nikola, Kean and Matheus into our team. Longer term we envisage the Alpine Affiliate programme acting as a feeder for our Academy, as we strive to continue recruiting the most talented young drivers across the globe to future proof Alpine’s success in motor racing.”
Abbi Pulling becomes the third female driver with ties to an F1 team, joining the likes of Jamie Chadwick (Williams) and Jessica Hawkins (Aston Martin).