Going through the very first Saudi State and home to the Al Saud Dynasty, state of Diriyah, all the way to the vibrant King Abdallah Financial District, the engines of the BWT Alpine F1 cars blasted through streets of the Kingdom. Behind the wheels were Aseel Al Hamad, Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation Board Member, and Abbi pulling, Alpine Academy Affiliate Driver, who marked themselves in history as the first-ever women to drive F1 cars in Saudi Arabia.
The two motorsport record-breakers not only take the lead for the first women to drive the Alpine V8-powered E20 cars, but with the support of Saudi Tourism Authority, have also made waves with the first time an F1 has ever been driven through the streets of the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh. As a female leader and member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and a board member of the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation, Al Hamad has also consistently worked to advance strategies and policies to promote women in motorsport, specifically in Saudi Arabia. The F1 driver has previously made history with Alpine in 2018 when she took the same E20 on track at Paul Ricard Circuit, France.
“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,” says Al Hamad. “I hope this inspires more generations to fall in love with Formula 1 and for more women to consider motorsport as a future career.” Of taking the journey with 19-year-old Pulling she said, “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. It is important that we showcase examples to demonstrate to the younger generation that it can be them in the future; it doesn’t matter your gender; you need to show your talent. I will be cheering for them and opening the doors and hopefully we will see them on podiums in the near future.”
Having joined Al Hamad in the drive through the Kingdom, Pulling will soon compete in the W Series this year. Part of the Alpine Affiliate Programme, Pulling promotes young racers and provides them the training and guidance needed to make it all the way through to F1. “I got my first experience of an F1 car last weekend and it was everything I was expecting, and more,” said Pulling. “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. It was a pleasure to meet Aseel and to hear about all her initiatives to support young racers. It’s super encouraging for myself and the next generation.”