With a history-making test run around Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, the BWT Alpine F1 Team has created history. The tremendous roar of the V8-powered E20 vehicle, piloted by Saudi F1 driver Aseel Al Hamad and Alpine Academy Affiliate driver Abbi Pulling, reverberated across the city. They created history by becoming the first women to drive an F1 car in Saudi Arabia.
Abbi Pulling, who will race in the W Series this year, joined Aseel for the test. Abbi is a member of the Alpine Affiliate programme, which is the Alpine Academy’s junior program. It provides counselling on career paths, media training, nutrition, and psychology to junior motorsport talent with capability all the way through to F1. Abbi, who is nineteen years old, received her first feel of Formula One gear in this test run, which took place just one day before her birthday.
Aseel and Abbi travelled the E20 via some of the Kingdom’s greatest attractions, including Wadi Hanifah in the mediaeval city of Diriyah, courtesy to the Saudi Tourism Authority. Combined, the two drivers highlighted that possibilities for and by women are being established in racing and the Kingdom, and the future looks good for the next generation of budding drivers.
What do these history-creating women from Saudi Arabia have to say about their experience?
Aseel Al Hamad on being asked about her historic experience replied, “It was beautiful to drive with BWT Alpine F1 Team once again, and even more special to do this in my country of Saudi Arabia and my home city of Riyadh. I hope this inspires more generations to fall in love with Formula 1 and for more women to consider motorsport as a future career. I was super happy to meet Abbi, a lovely girl with lots of ambition, and an amazing passion for racing. She shows that with enough drive, girls can become professional racing drivers.”
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Aseel also highlighted the importance of them displaying examples to demonstrate to the future generations that this is very much so possible to achieve irrespective of one’s gender as long as they’re able to showcase their talent. The Saudi driver hopes to see more such drivers on the podiums in the future.
On being asked the same question, 19-year-old Abbi Pulling replied ,”I got my first experience of an F1 car last weekend and it was everything I was expecting, and more. I started racing when I was just eight years old, always with the goal of reaching Formula 1, and I am so pleased to have got that little bit closer. It is very important for the industry to encourage and support young, female talents to achieve their ambitions.” She also gave her vote of thanks to the Alpine Academy for presenting her with a chance to be a part of something so ground-breaking.