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Woman Spotlight Wednesday: Abbi Pulling

Written by Sophie Harvey, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credit: Eric Alonso - Formula 1

Women have played an influential role throughout the history of motor racing. Many have taken to the wheels of motorsport machines, while numerous figures have worked tirelessly on the sidelines in various roles, shaping the motor racing world to the present day. Woman Spotlight Wednesday aims to take a look at the tales of these superwomen, who have surpassed various hurdles to reach where they are today.

Following the recent announcement of her return to both the F1 Academy and ROKiT British F4 grid next season, it’s only fair this week’s article delves into the story of Abbi Pulling — a 20-year-old taking the motorsport world by storm.

Pulling’s first set of accolades came in the form of her success in the Super 1 National Junior TKM Championship, a UK-based series having produced numerous Formula 1 drivers, including but not limited to: Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Alexander Albon. Winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, it’s undeniable she was fast.

Her next challenge came in the form of Ginetta Juniors and the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, the best result being a double sixth-place finish at Donington Park.

2020 saw Pulling’s single seater debut with JHR Developments, racing in the British F4 Championship, and returning an incredible sixth position in only her debut season. 

Pulling’s four podiums gave her the momentum to push for the title in her second year. She had a further three podiums to her name, when a lack of finances spurred a switch to the newly-formed W Series, midway through the season.

Image Credit: Dan Istitene/Formula 1

Racing for a Puma-sponsored outfit, Pulling achieved seventh in the championship, after participating in only four rounds. Having automatically qualified for a place on the 2022 W Series grid, Pulling’s performances only soared when partnered with Racing X, finishing fourth in the championship, before the series concluded prematurely in Singapore.

2022 also saw Pulling join the Alpine Affiliate Programme, and prior to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, she joined Aseel Al-Hamad in becoming the first women to drive an F1 car in the country — a monumental achievement.

Up until Christmas, she was set to compete in GB3; Pulling didn’t expect to spend her 2023 in F1 Academy, but at a third of the cost, changing her plans seemed like the obvious option.

Image Credit: Alex Caparros/Formula 1

Pulling really shone during the year, in partnership with Rodin Carlin. She finished the season with an incredible seven podiums, two pole positions, and four fastest laps. As the fastest among the Carlin trio, with teammates Megan Gilkes and Jessica Edgar, her tally of 175 points not only secured fifth position in the driver’s championship, but also massively contributed to Rodin Carlin’s third place in the constructors championship.

Without a doubt, this influenced the team’s recent decision to sign Pulling for another year, in hopes of clinching the title this time around. As part of a dual campaign, Pulling will join Rodin Carlin for an additional year in the British F4 Championship, alongside her F1 Academy duties, giving her the ideal opportunity to apply the experience gained since her last appearance in the series.

Image Credit: Eric Alonso/Formula 1

Pulling said, “I’m ecstatic to be coming back with Rodin Carlin in 2024. We had some highs and lows in our 2023 campaign, but it was the best group of people to work with and learn with; it really feels like a second family. We’re pushing hard for 2024, and I think we have an exciting year lined up.

As we head into 2024, Pulling will be preparing to set her sights on winning titles — firming her partnerships with Rodin Carlin and Alpine Academy. Alongside manager and experienced racing driver Alice Powell, the young Brit is in the perfect position to do so.

As a role model to many, she’s an incredible inspiration. We wish Abbi Pulling the best of luck in 2024 and beyond, in her journey to reach the pinnacle of motorsport.

Image Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Formula 1


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